Regulators Announce Members of Truck Leasing Task Force

Group Will Assess Fairness of Contractor Lease Agreements
trucks on highway
Iowa DOT

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Federal regulators have appointed nine individuals to serve on a truck-leasing task force that is charged with evaluating lease agreements in the trucking industry, including their potential safety and financial impacts on owner-operators.

The task force was established under authority provided by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and chartered by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

The task force will address areas that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said in a statement have long required more careful attention, including “providing best practices to assist drivers in assessing the impacts of a leasing agreement prior to entering into such agreement, and recommendations on changes to laws to promote fair leasing agreements.” The agency added that the task force “will contribute to FMCSA’s efforts to ensure that drivers have access to fair leasing agreements.”

“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,” Buttigieg said. “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.”

FMCSA Administrator Robin Hutcheson added, “The Truck Leasing Task Force addresses one of trucking’s great challenges. 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.”

FMCSA said task force members were to include representatives from motor carriers, consumer protection groups, owner-operators, attorneys, educators and other related businesses.

The members of the task force include:

“We are pleased that there is an ATA member on this task force, and we look forward to working with the group as they work to recommend policies that preserve individuals’ opportunities, while imposing appropriate safeguards,” said Sean McNally, Vice President of Public Affairs for American Trucking Associations. Carbon Express is an ATA member.

“We support the task force and look forward to seeing it make progress on this issue, hopefully eventually identifying a way to put a stop to predatory lease purchase agreements,” said Norita Taylor, a spokeswoman for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.

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Language in the infrastructure bill calls for the task force to examine common truck leasing arrangements available to commercial motor vehicle drivers, including lease-purchase agreements; whether any inequitable terms and agreements affect whether a vehicle is kept in a general state of good repair; and the impact of truck leasing agreements on the net compensation of commercial motor vehicle drivers, including port drayage drivers.

It also asks that the task force determine if truck leasing agreements properly incentivize the safe operation of vehicles, including driver compliance with the hours-of-service regulations and laws governing speed and safety generally. The law also asks the task force to explore if lease agreements allow drivers to earn a rate commensurate with other commercial motor vehicle drivers performing similar duties.

The task force ultimately will send a report of its findings and recommendations to Congress, DOT and the Department of Labor.