FMCSA Seeks Applicants for Truck Leasing Task Force
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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued a request for applications to serve on the agency’s truck leasing task force that will examine the fairness of lease and lease-purchase agreements among motor carriers, leasing companies, owner-operators and drayage drivers.
The provision, tucked in the bipartisan infrastructure funding law enacted Nov. 15, calls for the appointment of a wide-ranging task force of no more than 10 members.
FMCSA said it is accepting applications through May 6.
Who Is Represented?
• Motor carriers
• Consumer protection groups
• Consumer finance lawyers
• Businesses that provide lease-purchase agreements in the trucking industry
The Department of Transportation, in consultation with the Department of Labor, will be responsible for appointing the task force.
The task force ultimately will send a report of its findings and recommendations to Congress, DOT and DOL.
“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,” FMCSA acting Administrator Robin Hutcheson said. “We ask those who are interested in joining to reach out so we can better support CMV drivers together.”
“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 in a statement. “America’s truck drivers need and deserve fair leasing agreements, and this work will help ensure that leasing is above board.”
The task force will cover many areas related to truck leasing arrangements, including exploring predatory truck leasing arrangements in coordination with DOL and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, evaluating common truck-lease agreements and their terms, and identifying and reviewing those that are potentially inequitable in the motor carrier industry.
It also will look at the impact of truck leasing agreements on the net compensation of commercial motor vehicle drivers.
The task force’s charter runs through Feb. 11, 2024.
“FMCSA encourages diverse, nontraditional representatives, especially women and people of color, to apply to serve on the task force,” FMCSA said.
The mixture of labor, owner-operators and motor carriers peering into the intricacies of lease-purchase agreements looks to be a hot-button issue.
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“By setting up a task force that uses the word ‘lease,’ while not recognizing that the leasing industry does not operate such practices, appears to be problem in search of a solution,” said Jake Jacoby, president of the Truck Renting and Leasing Association. “The easier path for Congress to combat the issue at hand would have been to specifically target predatory companies that try to scam or take advantage of drayage drivers but not create a task force that broadly uses the word lease or leasing.”
Nick Geale, vice president for workforce policy at American Trucking Associations, said in a statement, “We look forward to working with FMCSA on ensuring a balanced task force that looks at the issue in an objective manner to make recommendations that maintain that opportunity with appropriate safeguards.”
Said Norita Taylor, a spokeswoman for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association: “We have pushed for something to be done about predatory lease-purchase agreements for many years.”
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