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FMCSA moves against predatory truck leasing

Applications to serve on new task force accepted through May 6

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is accepting applications for a new task force that will look into truck leasing agreements and whether predatory arrangements affect driver safety.

The task force, created as part of the federal infrastructure law signed by President Joe Biden in November, was highlighted earlier this week by the White House as part of progress made on the administration’s Trucking Action Plan.

The panel will include a maximum of 10 members representing commercial carriers, owner-operators, labor, consumer protection groups, law firms and businesses subject to trucking lease-purchase agreements.

“The Truck Leasing Task Force represents one of the important actions the administration is taking to improve the trucking industry,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said on Wednesday. “America’s truck drivers need and deserve fair leasing agreements, and this work will help ensure that leasing is above board.”

Tasks that the law requires the panel to accomplish include:

  • Exploring predatory truck leasing arrangements in coordination with the Department of Labor and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • Evaluating common truck lease agreements and their terms, identifying and reviewing those that are potentially inequitable in the motor carrier industry.
  • Reviewing agreements available to drayage drivers at ports.
  • Examining whether truck leasing agreements properly incentivize the safe operation of vehicles, including driver compliance with hours-of-service regulations and speed laws.
  • Studying the impact of truck leasing agreements on the net compensation of commercial motor vehicle drivers.
  • Examining truck leasing arrangements and financing arrangements among motor carriers, entry-level drivers, driver training providers and others involved in the industry.
  • Assessing resources that assist truck drivers in reviewing the financial impacts of leasing agreements.

After completing the study into truck leasing arrangements, the task force is required to submit a report to the administration and Congress. The report will recommend changes to laws and regulations to promote fair leasing agreements “under which a commercial motor vehicle driver … who is a party to such an agreement is able to earn a rate commensurate with other commercial motor vehicle drivers performing similar duties,” the infrastructure law states.

“The Task Force will be instrumental in expanding our understanding of the financial impacts of truck leasing and will reinforce our commitment to quality of life and safety for professional truck drivers,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Robin Hutcheson.

Nontraditional representatives, in particular women and people of color, are encouraged to apply to serve on the task force, according to FMCSA. Electronic application submissions can be made using FMCSA’s website through May 6.

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John Gallagher

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.