The House Rules Committee will meet next week to determine which amendments to the INVEST in America Act will be considered by the House.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which opposes the House Freeways Bill in its current form, is busy advocating for amendments that remove the “anti-trucker provisions” from the bill while by endeavoring to prevent any further action which would be detrimental. to small truckers.
Among the amendments supported by OOIDA are calls for the removal of provisions to increase the minimum insurance requirement of road carriers, expand the use of ELD data and impose automatic emergency braking. Additional changes supported by OOIDA would crack down on stage collisions targeting commercial motor vehicles, clarify the definition of auto carriers, and remove language regarding obstructive sleep apnea screenings.
The House Rules Committee is scheduled to meet on the freeway bill on Monday June 28 and Tuesday June 29.
Use of ELD data
The current version of the INVEST in America law would allow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to begin using ELDs for transportation research. Opposed to the ELD mandate in general, OOIDA is concerned about the doors that might open if the use of ELDs were extended.
Representative Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., Moved an amendment to remove the measure to expand the use of ELD data from the bill.
“It’s great that committee members like Rep. Cheney, who helped us fight the ELD mandate, didn’t forget the issue and are always keen to stand up for the best interests of the truckers,” said Collin Long, Director of Government Affairs for OOIDA. “His amendment to prevent the extended use of ELD data is an amendment that we strongly support. “
Current law prohibits the use of ELDs for anything other than hours of service monitoring.
While some have suggested expanding the use of ELD data to monitor how long a truck driver is detained, others have considered using the devices as a way to implement a vehicle tax- miles driven on heavy trucks.
In May, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, suggested using a truck-only VMT as a way to fund the country’s infrastructure. Cornyn went so far as to suggest a charge of 25 cents per mile on most Class 7 and Class 8 trucks.
Minimum increase in insurance
Representative Mike Bost, R-Ill., Will take another chance to remove from the bill a measure that would increase minimum motor carrier insurance from $ 750,000 to $ 2 million.
Earlier this month, Bost proposed eliminating the minimum insurance increase during a beacon hearing by the House transportation and infrastructure committee.
Bost, who grew up in a family of truckers, said the increase was unnecessary and would serve as a punishment for truckers across the country.
“Over the past year, during the time of this pandemic, we have relied quite enough on workers driving trucks across the country,” Bost said. “These men and women continue their essential work of stocking store shelves and making sure food is on everyone’s table and (us getting) the supplies we needed while a lot of between us were stuck in our homes. Now, after praising these people for their great work, this legislation turns around and punishes them. “
Despite more than 30 minutes of debate – largely in favor of the amendment – the T&I committee stuck mostly to party lines, rejecting Bost’s amendment by a recorded vote of 38-30.
OOIDA has called the 167% increase on motor carriers a “poison pill” to the bill and strongly supports Bost’s amendment to remove it.
Mandate of the automatic emergency braking system
The current freeway bill would require the United States Department of Transportation to prescribe standards for newly manufactured heavy-duty vehicles to be equipped with an automatic emergency braking system and to require the system to be used. during operation.
Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., Moved an amendment to delete the mandate.
OOIDA supports the amendment because the Association says the measure makes the devices necessary before the technology is ready.
“This technology is not quite perfected yet,” Jay Grimes, director of government affairs for OOIDA, recently told Land Line Now. “We still see a lot of mistakes and problems with this. A rushed mandate is certainly not the direction in which we think things should be going in terms of security. “
Staged collision suppression
News of a large conspiracy in Louisiana to stage crashes with commercial vehicles in the hope of expelling motor carriers and their insurers from personal injury settlements has caught the attention of lawmakers.
Representative Garret Graves, R-La., Is proposing an amendment proposing heavy fines and jail time for those who intentionally cause an accident with a commercial vehicle. Under the amendment, a person operating a motor vehicle who intentionally causes an accident with a light commercial vehicle would be jailed for at least 20 years.
OOIDA supports the amendment. Additionally, Long said the amendment received bipartisan support and would likely be incorporated into the bill.
Definition of an automobile transporter
For years, OOIDA has worked for the Federal Highway Administration to clarify its definition of auto carriers.
Since 2015, OOIDA has asked the FHWA to correct regulatory guidelines that have cost some auto carriers hundreds of dollars in fines. OOIDA argues that regulatory guidelines are not supported by federal law.
“Some FHWA employees continue to claim that the agency has always required that a powertrain be capable of transporting goods to be considered a conventional auto transporter,” wrote Mike Matousek, director of legislative affairs for the OOIDA. “This is clearly wrong. “
The OOIDA maintains that Congress allowed auto carriers to carry automobiles on the powertrain but did not require it.
Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., Proposed an amendment that would clarify the definition.
Sleep apnea screening
The current bill includes a measure that would require the FMCSA to initiate regulations to establish criteria for screening drivers of commercial vehicles for obstructive sleep apnea.
Perry’s amendment would eliminate the measure.
OOIDA argues that there is not enough data to link sleep apnea to an increase in crashes and that any move towards a warrant would place an unnecessary burden on truck drivers.
INVEST in America Act
The highway bill is expected to hit the floor of the House next week.
The OOIDA said the bill in its current form is an “anti-trucker disgrace” and praised lawmakers who are proposing “pro-trucker” amendments.
“When you look at these amendments, I hope truckers will notice that there is a growing list of elected officials who regularly fight for them,” Long said. “Representatives like Mike Bost, Garret Graves, Scott Perry, Blaine Luetkemeyer and Liz Cheney have shown themselves to be consistent supporters of small business truckers.” LL