Before taking on a position of power in an industry, you need to get your hands dirty in the field. Doing so gives you aninsightful look at what the industry is like behind the scenes. Good leaders can leverage their experience with key insights to benefit the people that actually work in the industry.
But without that first-hand experience, a large gap develops between the regulators and the regulated.
This is a problem with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA. To date, all members of the FMCSA since inception have never worked as a professional truck driver. In fact, none of the administrators has even had a CDL!
(They should at least look over the Class A Drivers CDL guides.)
So how did these individuals gain their high ranking position without such crucial experience?
Meet the FMCSA
Key members of the FMCSA gained their position via traffic, government, or safety-related positions. While these are important voices, none of it is equivalent to actually running a haul across the country.
Let’s take a look at a few examples:
- Jack Van Steenburg: worked in New York Police Department and FMCSA’s Enforcement and Compliance Office
- James “Wiley” Deck: staff of Congressman John L. Mica and acted as Director of U.S. Oversight Investigations
- Jim Mullen: Headed a trucking consultant firm and acted as VP for Werner Enterprises
And that brings us to the current FMCSA Administrator, Ray Martinez. He started his career as a lawyer. Afterward, he held the following positions.
- Chairman and Chief Admin of the NY Vehicle Commission
- NY Department of Motor Vehicles
- NY Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee
As you can see, the person closest to understanding the life of a truck driver is Mullen. But that’s still not good enough.
And despite the lack of experience on the ground (or the road), the FMCSA dictates what rules and regulations are imposed on over 1.8 million truckers.
Rules and Regulations of the FMCSA
Truck drivers are familiar with the Hours of Service regulations. They know how onerous these restrictions can be, and how each rule interacts with their ability to deliver on time and find adequate parking.
Another regulation relates to electronic logging devices or ELDs. Truck drivers feel as if they under constant surveillance and these devices leave little room for improvisation. ELDs enforce a rigid adherence to rules while driving is requires more flexibility for traffic and other time constraints.
These regulations are issued and enforced by people who do not know what it’s like to earn a living out on the road. Regulations should make everyone safer, but they can also make trucking a better industry to work in. And that’s a perspective that is sorely lacking from the current FMSCA.
Class A Drivers would like to see a trucker be appointed as an FMCSA Administrator. Let the FMSCA know.