Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on Monday appointed nine members to serve on a task force charged with evaluating truck lease agreements and the potential safety and financial impacts they have on owner-operators.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Truck Leasing Task Force (TLTF) will be tasked with compiling best practices to assist drivers in assessing the impacts of a leasing agreement prior to entering them, and make recommendations on changes to laws that promote fair leasing agreements.
Owner–Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) estimates there are approximately 350,000 owner-operators registered in the United States, most of which are leased on to a larger carrier and operating under that carriers DOT number.
FMCSA Administrator Robin Hutcheson said that DOT's position is, given that truck leasing is an important step that many owner-operators in the trucking industry take to get started in the business, leases that contain inequitable terms for drivers may discourage safe drivers from continuing to work in the industry and therefore is not only a question of fairness to the driver, but also a potential hinderance to recruitment.
“The Truck Leasing Task Force addresses one of trucking’s great challenges," she said. "Leasing can have a major impact on people choosing trucking as their career, and protecting drivers is of the utmost importance. FMCSA is committed to addressing issues that may impact the recruitment and retention of drivers in the trucking industry.”
The nine members who will serve on FMCSA’s Truck Leasing Task Force are Tamara Brock, Brock Logistics, LLC and Lewis & Lewis Logistics, LLC (Independent Owner-Operator); Paul Cullen, The Cullen Law Firm, PLLC (Attorney); Troy Hawkins, TTOH Consulting & Logistics, LLC (Independent Owner-Operator); Jim Jefferson, Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association (Consumer Protection); Joshua Krause, OTR Leasing, LLC (Business); Kaitlyn Long, International Brotherhood of Teamsters (Labor Organization); Steve Rush, Carbon Express (Carrier); Lesley Tse, Animal Defense Partnership, Inc. (Attorney); and Steve Viscelli, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania (Economic Sociologist).
“At a time when our country needs truck drivers more than ever, we must do everything we can to support the men and women who work in this vital industry,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who chartered the group. “The Truck Leasing Task Force is taking a hard look at leasing agreements as part of our effort to ensure every truck driver in this country has good working conditions and can make a good living.”