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Sunday, October 2, 2022

Martinez Listens

 

In his first official, but informal, meeting with everyday truck drivers, at the 2018 Mid-America Truck Show, newly confirmed administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Raymond Martinez, expressed hope that the session would not be “an angry event.” It turned out there was a great deal of anger.

By the time the 90-minute “listening session” was over, Martinez was passionately accused of ignoring the fate of mostly independent and small-fleet truck drivers but also was insulted personally for answering some of their questions “like a politician.”

The group of mostly individual owner-operators and small-company drivers harshly criticized FMCSA for its electronic logging device rule, limiting their workdays to 14 hours, losing time on the highway being delayed at loading docks, not solving the scarcity of parking, and even for telling them when to take their rest and meal breaks.

Martinez quietly listened but made no promises.

“I can’t change the law. I’m not Congress,” Martinez told the group in his introductory remarks. “I may be able to make changes to regulations, if they’re outdated, if they don’t make sense. The only way we do that is by listening and learning.”

“In four weeks, I’ve realized, and you should also realize, that ELD might not be the issue. The issue is hours of service,” he said. “We may have some latitude to look at our regulations and see if there are things that we can do with regard to hours of service.”

He agreed that drivers waiting at loading docks creates inefficiency in the economy and said that “ELDs help to spotlight that there is an inequity here.”

The point is that ELDs are here to stay, modifying regulations recorded by ELDs are needed to reflect realities.