The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) filed a petition on Tuesday asking for federal action to increase broker transparency to protect small business truckers.
On May 19, OOIDA sent a letter to U.S. DOT Secretary Elaine Chao and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Acting Administrator Jim Mullen requesting “immediate action” to prevent the evasion of federal regulations by “unscrupulous brokers.”
“With freight rates reaching historic lows, small-business truckers are struggling. Many have expressed frustration about the lack of transparency between brokers and motor carriers. The problem is that the regulations designed to provide transparency are routinely evaded by brokers or simply not enforced by DOT,” OOIDA writes.
While there are currently regulations in place that require brokers to maintain detailed transaction records and to make those records available to motor carriers on request, OOIDA says that brokers often “find ways of circumventing” these requirements.
OOIDA says that brokers require carriers to sign contracts waiving these requirements so frequently that “truckers often have no other choice if they want to haul a brokered load.”
In the May 19 petition, OOIDA asked for two specific regulatory actions to increase broker transparency:
- Require brokers to automatically provide an electronic copy of each transaction record within 48 hours after the contractual service has been completed.
- Explicitly prohibit brokers from including any provision in their contracts that requires a carrier to waive their rights to access the transaction records as required by 49 CFR §371.3.
OOIDA also asked the FMCSA to more aggressively enforce CFR §371.3. with the use of a structured fine system to punish noncompliance along with the revocation of authority for brokers who repeatedly fail to comply.
“Brokers have been deliberately skirting federal transparency regulations for decades,” said Todd Spencer, President and CEO of OOIDA. “We certainly don’t think exempting yourself from federal regulations is legal, but this is precisely what is happening. It has to stop.”
OOIDA also petitioned Congress for action on the issue of broker transparency in a May 6 letter.
For the entire month of May, a group of truckers have been protesting on Constitution Avenue in Washington D.C. asking for relief from plummeting freight rates and unfair broker practices. President Trump has responded to the group favorably on multiple occasions in recent weeks, even going so far as to say that truckers are “price gouged“, and has promised action on behalf of truckers.