January 15, 2021 2:00 PM, EST

FMCSA Names Members of Commercial Driver Panel for Advisory Committee

Truck on highwaygrandriver/Getty Images

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced the members of its recently formed commercial driver panel, which will contribute to the agency’s Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee.

Chartered in 2006, MCSAC advises FMCSA leaders on motor carrier safety programs and regulations. MCSAC’s members represent safety enforcement officers, labor groups and trucking leaders.

FMCSA named the 25 drivers who will serve on the panel Jan. 15. The commercial driver panel, announced in September, will provide feedback to FMCSA on issues facing truckers such as safety, hours-of-service regulations, training and parking.

“FMCSA believes in listening to our drivers and hearing their concerns directly,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Wiley Deck. “We know that many of the solutions to the challenges we face don’t come from Washington — they come from the hardworking men and women who are behind the wheel all over our nation. This new subcommittee to MCSAC will further help us hear from America’s commercial drivers.”

The panel members represent various sectors of the industry, including tractor-trailer drivers, straight truck drivers, motorcoach drivers, hazardous materials drivers and agricultural goods haulers.

Todd Spencer, president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, will serve as chairman of the panel.

Other members include Rhonda Hartman, a driver for Old Dominion Freight Line, and Tina Peterson, a driver for Ravenwood Transport Inc. as a contracted service provider for FedEx Ground. Both women were members of a team of drivers who drove from the Capitol Reflecting Pool in Washington to Laramie, Wyo., in the summer of 2020 to honor the legacy of Louisa Swain, the first woman who voted. Swain cast a ballot in Laramie in 1870. (Women had voting rights in Wyoming before the 19th Amendment granted all women the right to vote.)

Swain drivers

ATA President Chris Spear and truck drivers Tina Peterson (from left), Dee Sova and Rhonda Hartman. (Eleanor Lamb/Transport Topics)

Also on the panel are YRC Freight drivers Steve Fields and Alphonso Lewis, FedEx Freight driver Don Logan, UPS Freight driver William Bennett and K Limited Carrier driver Scott Harrison. All five have served as American Trucking Associations’ America’s Road Team captains.

FMCSA’s naming of the driver panel follows its Jan. 13 announcement of this year’s MCSAC members, which include a record number of women and its first female vice chair. New Vice Chairman Jennifer Hall is general counsel and executive vice president of legal affairs for ATA. She will serve on MCSAC this year alongside Chairman LaMont Byrd, safety and health director for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

The agency has made an effort to hear from the trucking community in recent years. Trucking representatives, including drivers, made their voices heard as FMCSA crafted the final rule on changes to HOS regulations, which were announced May 14. FMCSA officials gathered 8,000 public comments online and through in-person meetings as they shaped the final rule, which included four revisions that pertain to issues truckers have voiced concerns about, such as the 30-minute rest break and splitting up time in the sleeper berth.

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