Friday, March 23, 2012

Listening session draws an earful

A listening session held by federal regulators probably wasn’t on a lot of people’s “must do” list at MATS. But for those who did attend a forum Friday on the issue of electronic on-board recorders and driver harassment, it was a golden opportunity to communicate directly with FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro.

FMCSA's Anne Ferro, OOIDA Member Greg Petit
Long-time truckers and OOIDA members were among the most vocal in the steady stream of truckers who made trips to the microphone to address Ferro and the rest of the panel from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

It took a while for the topic to get to driver harassment and EOBRs, as the first few speakers launched directly into the lack of accountability on the part of shippers for the time drivers are forced to wait at the docks and about what many view as a lack of flexibility by FMCSA in the hours-of-service rules.

For the bevy of truckers who spoke during the morning session of the two-part forum, solving the detention issue and holding shippers accountable would resolve many other problems in the industry related to duty and times.

The panel wanted to hear specifically how EOBRs could be used to harass drivers as the FMCSA continues to work on an industry-wide mandate in the regulatory pipeline.

OOIDA raised the harassment issue in court action against FMCSA last year. A Seventh Circuit ruling in favor of OOIDA forced FMCSA to vacate its initial EOBR rule and go back to the drawing board to prove that EOBRs cannot be used to harass drivers.

Experienced truckers Ray Hanna, Jim Freeland and Kim Llewellyn were among those addressing the panel during the morning part of the listening session.

Leased owner-operator and OOIDA Member Greg Petit lit into the officials about what he feels is an over-regulation of truck drivers. I caught up with Greg a bit later and asked him about it.

“The EOBR regulation, in my opinion, is for one thing and one thing only, and that’s to get more of our money," he said.

“They’re wanting to hold us to an exact science and that just isn’t going to work in trucking."

In addition to the other points he made, Greg offered good insight into the issue of driver harassment and EOBRs. He believes that no matter what technology is being used to log time, someone in the chain is going to use it to harass drivers.

“It’s all about getting that driver to move,” he said.

“They’re always going to use what they have. When Qualcomm came out, they used that; when cellphones came out, they used that. It’s always going to be about harassing the driver to get him to move, period.”

The earful that Ferro and the other FMCSA officials got during the listening session wasn’t contained simply within the walls of the meeting room. Many truckers walked and talked with Ferro in the hallway between the morning and afternoon sessions.

It may have seemed to a casual observer that Ferro had entered the lion’s den, but she listened and assured everyone that she was here at MATS with open ears.

Later, during a joint interview with Land Line and “Land Line Now,”  Ferro told us that she enjoyed seeing and hearing the passion that truckers have for their jobs and for safety.

So do we, and that's what keeps us going.


  1. At the beginning of this story tells the whole story of what the industry needs and it is not more regulations or ways to regulate trucks. It is the crack down of shippers, receivers, ports,rail yards or anywhere else a driver gets held up. The government is going after the wrong people.If the government wants to regulate some one these are the ones that need to be regulated not the driver, because they are the main cause of the problems with hours of service issues not the driver. Until the detention problem gets resolved there is nothing that is going to do a damn bit of good especially some eobr in helping to solve the issue of hos. I am sick of the driver being the scape goat for something out of there control.I never could understand how a shipper or receiver could expect a driver or a company to give them there time for free. That's like someone telling them to give there product away for free. I can say with a lot of confidence that they would tell that person no way will we give you our product for free. But this is what the trucking industry is told every day to give our product which is service away free which in turn causes the hos problems because they are trying to recoup lost profit's that were put upon them by a greedy company that doesn't want to pay for services rendered to them. So that is my take on the hos problems and the eobr they both could be solved by a crack down on detention times

  2. ferro knows nothing about trucking,and to prove it she was asked if anyone on the board was a driver a few weeks ago, she let her so called exp driver speak, he drove a streight truck locally in DC for awhile. lol really?? he said they pushed him hard some times....really? come on, he was home every knight!!!! These idiots are making laws based on assumptions and uneducated guesses. they talk about accidents but fail to mention most are caused by the cars who they wont educate,and the local drivers who run 80 in traffic cause they have to make ex number of loads so they can get home by 5. And it seems they think every accident is caused by tiredness, well how bout the cars? go to bed at 1130 pm up at 5am drive 25 miles to work 12 hr shift then drive home. Just be honest ferro its about getting more money more power over the industry you dont care about safety if you did you would spend time and money educating the car drivers who cause the accidents on how nto to drive around trucks!!!

  3. Basically If your a Trucker, a lifer, you love this industry, you can no longer sit back and let these PHDs make the rules on how we operate, they arent in a truck, they dont sit at a dock for hours, or all day, they dont face the issues of crowded truckstops, Overzealous DOT officers and Police officers needing to make up for shortfalls in Budgets, A good place to rest but your only allowed 6 hours....and On and On, so Speak out Brothers and Sisters or our lives and this business is going to be ruined by the NON DRIVER who thinks Truckers are a bunch of Irresponsible, sleep deprived, Speeding, reckless, dirty, People who cant get any other job.....I love trucking and Im writing letters, and Im going to be vocal, Its time.....lets hold THERE FEET TO THE FIRE.

  4. What are the companies doing to stop the abuses at the dock? Would that not be the place to start a solution rather than let them get away with proclaiming how much they care for drivers and utilize loopholes in their promises of detention pay? No it is not Ms. Ferro but rather those who want answers and IMHO won't ask the tough questions. Thats right... Keep it light, upbeat and please don't put the guests, aka sponsors, on the spot.

  5. They were listening alright in one ear and out the other like always!!! This was just a propaganda move by Ferro to make her office look like they really cared how us real drivers feel it won't change a darn thing!!!

  6. .....when you are regulated by the hour......and paid by the mile......someone is going to be inclined to cheat......eobr or not.
    Shippers and receivers are all a part of the problem.

  7. Well when the true amount of compensation reaches the driver for all time spent daily . Then all of Ferros political ambitions can b realized. And we won't care what the rules are , til then , keep the wheels on the ground and in a few years we will have another DC wanna b tell us how lousy we are, and how we need more rules. GO Figure?

  8. I heard her and her other cronies on Evans show today and they couldn't answer any questions there either and the ones they tried to answer was all political BS at best. What a joke from LaHood to the bottom of the barrel, they all need to go learn a little about what they are trying to regulate instead of trying to Bull Shit there way as if safety is their main concern, again I call BS.

  9. Canada makes everyone in the chain accountable to follow regulations. Because shippers and brokers make lots of money to spend they put all the liability on us the carriers. Would they expose them selves to a million dollars liability? Hell No. So why do we? My truck makes $2/mi. I drive 60mph For every hour I wait it costs me $120. They dont stop their factory because of me. But they have no problem stoping my factory. There have been times I have waited longer that it would have taken the load to get there. We need laws that make shipper, Reciever and brokers liable and accountable to follow regulations. Many have no idea what our HOS are and the way they schedule loads reviled either this or a willful disregard for the exposure they subject us to. We're the pawns and few stand up for themselves. I tell I'm if they don't like it to write their congressman.