Working on the Most Important Federal Issues – We asked, and you responded. Through formal and informal surveys you told us that we need to be spending as much time on federal issues as we do on state issues. You said that the new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations are the make-or-break challenges facing your trucking business. Topping the list are the hours-of-service rules and their impacts on drivers. Here is what we have been doing to address your most important federal issues.
Met with FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro – Eleven MTA members held a 90-minute meeting with Administrator Anne Ferro on December 16 in Faribault, Minnesota. She came to Minnesota at the request of Congressman Tim Walz (MN-1st), who sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in Washington, D.C.
I was very proud of how our carriers handled themselves regarding a very frustrating issue. They gave real life examples regarding how the new HOS rules have negatively impacted carriers, drivers and shippers. They backed up their points with real data. Policy changes only happen when the affected parties engage the process. They did that.
Ms. Ferro actively participated, doing lots of listening, taking notes and asking questions. She even brought technical staff from D.C. to hear these comments first hand. She asked the attendees to provide a month’s worth of logging data so her technical folks can review them. She did not have to come to Minnesota on a very snowy December day, but she did. And we truly appreciated it.
Worth the Effort – In a debrief with FMCSA Division Director Dan Drexler, Dan reported that the Administrator felt positive about the event and that it was worth her time. We will work with her office to determine the best way to provide the log data she requested. She has given us an opening, and we will pursue it aggressively.
Like the old saying goes, you can’t get a hit if you don’t get up to the plate and take a swing. Our members took that swing on behalf of their companies and the broader Minnesota trucking industry.
MTA Petitions FMCSA to Conduct Split Sleeper Berth Study – In an unprecedented move, the MTA joined the American Trucking Associations in petitioning the FMCSA to conduct a pilot program to study the safety benefits and impacts of providing drivers with increased flexibility in the use of sleeper berth time.
We believe the current one-size-fits-all approach to regulating driver rest does not work. We are hopeful this pilot will produce field data that will support more flexibility in the rules.
Specifically, ATA and MTA asked FMCSA to conduct the study in order to determine if the real-word benefits of additional sleeper-berth flexibility confirm the findings of scientific laboratory-based studies which concluded that increased flexibility would result in improved safety. The proposed pilot project would also evaluate the role of technological improvements in promoting driver alertness and safety.
Minnesota has a history of interest in this area. Dart Transit Company of Eagan, Minnesota proposed a similar study about seven years ago. We are committed to finding a carrier to participate and make this pilot a success.
The fact that the ATA and the MTA are jointly submitting this petition speaks to the strength of the ATA Federation. We appreciate ATA’s leadership on this issue, and allowing us to partner with them.
Your Trusted Advocate – We pride ourselves in listening and responding to your real-life needs. You can trust the MTA to continue to be your voice and advocate on the hours of service issue.
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