The leading trade group representing owner-operator truck drivers has asked the Secretary of Transportation to request the resignation of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator (FMCSA) Anne S. Ferro.
In a June 5 letter to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, the board of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) said Ferro has failed to perform her duties in an impartial manner, has been unable to prioritize her tasks, and has fallen short in fulfilling Congressional mandates. The FMCSA is a sub-agency of Department of Transportation (DOT) that regulates truck and bus safety.
"The agency needs to be headed by someone who will approach professional truck drivers with the respect and fair treatment that their important work and commitment to safety demand," said OOIDA President and CEO Jim Johnston in the letter.
Johnston said Ferro considers truck drivers "accidents waiting to happen" rather than committed and responsible professionals performing a vital but demanding task. This attitude has manifested itself in "more rules, more enforcement, and the continued treatment of truckers as a whole as if they are criminally negligent," Johnston wrote. Ferro's actions and comments have made clear that she holds a bias against the industry and its drivers and can no longer objectively regulate the industry, he said.
The letter came the same day the Senate voted to include an amendment offered by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) to suspend a component of DOT's driver hours-of-service rules that dictate when drivers need to take their minimum 34 hours off per week and when they can return to the roads. The amendment, included in fiscal year 2015 funding for the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, is designed to allow for a full study of the economic and safety impacts of the so-called restart provision.
OOIDA represents the nation's independent owner-operators, most of whom operate as sole proprietors but some of whom have small fleets. The vast majority of U.S. fleets have six trucks or fewer.