No FMCSA Top Administrators Ever Held A CDL!

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Marc Lee's Comment
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A new report confirms what many truckers have long suspected — that none of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) top administrators have ever held a commercial drivers license.

On Wednesday, February 27, Business Insider, one of the most visited news websites on the net, published an article entitled “None of the people who oversee the federal laws that govern truck drivers were ever truck drivers themselves.”

The article points out that none of the FMCSA’s four top administrators, including agency head Ray Martinez, have ever held a CDL , meaning that none of them have ever driven a semi truck — even though they are paid to create and modify the regulations that America’s 1.8 million professional truckers must follow.

Not only does Martinez lack any sort of behind-the-wheel trucking experience, but Business Insider confirmed that no administrator in the history of the FMCSA has ever held a CDL or driven a truck professionally. The article argues that it is not common for leadership at a federal agency to have little practical experience in the field that they are regulating. For example, they say, the acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration worked as a commercial airline pilot for sixteen years in addition to serving in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Air Force Reserve.

The notion that top administrators in the FMCSA do not have hands-on experience with the industry that they are regulating has long been a pain point among U.S. truck drivers, who feel that regulators, however well-meaning, do not have a deep enough understanding of the day-to-day realities of trucking to be able to make effective and fair rules.

The feeling of lack of representation has led some trucking groups to start to fight for a seat at the rule-making table. One of the declared goals of the recently-high-profile group “Black Smoke Matters” is to have a voice in the creation and modification of trucking regulations.

From the group’s list of goals:

Due to the fact that truck drivers are individuals being regulated for the job that they perform, they should be granted the opportunity to form a committee of truck drivers from all sectors of the trucking industry to act as advisors to the U.S. Congressional oversight committees and the Department of Transportation.

Copyright © 2019 CDLLife

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Tractor Man's Comment
member avatar
One of the declared goals of the recently-high-profile group “Black Smoke Matters” is to have a voice in the creation and modification of trucking regulations.

Ummmmmm..........NO.......I mean HELL NO. Black Smoke Matters is a group of renegade malcontents that give our profession a bigger black eye than it already has. Should there be individuals with Truck Driving backgrounds at the upper level of the FMCSA? ABSOLUTELY!!!! Should it be any of the above types? NEVER.

*rant complete*

ps (high profile group? Hardly)

smile.gif

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Marc Lee's Comment
member avatar

I nominate Brett!

Tractor Man's Comment
member avatar

I nominate Brett!

I second the motion. Although Brett is way too smart to be a Washington Bureaucrat. Sorry Brett, I know that is not setting the bar very high. Never the less, it IS meant to be a compliment!

shocked.pngrofl-3.gif

Big T's Comment
member avatar

I am absolutely shocked.

Marc Lee's Comment
member avatar

I am absolutely shocked.

As was I!

N O T ! ! !

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I nominate Brett!

I'd be happy to give them my opinion if they were interested, but I'm certainly not interested in becoming an activist and trying to lobby for change and getting involved in politics. A few notes on why I wouldn't want to be an activist:

  • I hate politics.
  • Though there are a few things I'd like to see changed, overall from a driver's perspective I think trucking is on solid ground. It's never going to be perfect, but it's a great career opportunity with really solid pay and benefits and a nice variety of opportunities to suit your preferences for types of freight, home time, regions travelled, and job duties.
  • Apparently activism is the equivalent of beating your head against a wall because trucking has hardly changed a bit in 30 years. I started in trucking almost 26 years ago and to this day it's almost exactly the same as it was then. A few logbook rules have changed and there are a few more electronic gadgets. That's about it. Otherwise, trucking is still trucking. The job duties, the lifestyle, the trucks themselves, and even the pay when adjusted for inflation hasn't changed very much at all.
  • I feel like I'm able to have a far greater positive impact on people's lives by helping them understand how to be successful in the trucking industry exactly the way it is today.
  • Helping new drivers get started in trucking also affords me the opportunity to spend my time interacting with top tier professionals who are extremely happy and successful in their careers and prospective drivers who are nervous but excited about the new opportunity that awaits. If I was an activist I'd have to spend all of my time listening to complaints and speaking with politicians.

So I'm thrilled doing what I'm doing. Obviously I have several ideas that would make the lives of drivers a little safer and a little better and I would love to share them with anyone interested, but I'm not going to spend my time pursuing that angle. I don't think the problems are that bad and I think the impact we're having here at Trucking Truth is fantastic, so I'm quite happy doing exactly what I'm doing right now.

One thing that does worry me is that the wrong type of people are getting attention in the media. The people who create the most controversy are good for garnering attention for the media, which is what the media is after, but those people are not good representatives of truck drivers. As always, the loudest people are the very last people you'd ever want representing you.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Turtle's Comment
member avatar

While I agree that anyone in an administrative or regulatory position should at least have some experience in the field they're regulating, I sure as hell don't want anyone from Black Smoke Matters representing me. I find them laughable at best, creating far more damage than good for our industry.

In truth, I think the administrators are doing a fairly decent job keeping us rolling smoothly and safely. Sure, there will always be areas where Improvement can be made. That's where someone with an experienced hand could perhaps better understand both sides of a discussion. But all in all I can't say I am displeased with the industry, in fact I'm doing pretty well.

If I had to complain about something it would be the 14 hour rule. Someone at a high level clearly dropped the ball on that one, in my opinion.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
If I had to complain about something it would be the 14 hour rule.

That would absolutely be #1 on my list. If I could only change one thing about that industry, that really would be it.

Rob D.'s Comment
member avatar

Brett and Turtle,

What would you change about the 14 hour rule?

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