FMCSA Wants to See Truck Drivers’ Leasing Agreements

parked black semi trucks

If you’re a truck driver under a lease agreement with a trucking company, federal regulators are seeking your contract details, particularly if you believe it’s unfair or deceptive.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is undertaking a data collection initiative on behalf of its Truck Leasing Task Force (TLTF) to combat deceptive leasing practices impacting the health and safety of truck drivers. Established as part of a congressional mandate, TLTF is tasked with scrutinizing the terms, conditions, and fairness of truck leasing arrangements between owner-operators and trucking companies.

“Consistent with the above statutory authority, TLTF will also examine financing arrangements among motor carriers, entry-level drivers, driver training providers, and other involved entities, which may result in new drivers entering the trucking workforce encumbered by outsized debt and inequitable terms for repayment and will identify potential illegal practices to law enforcement or regulators, as appropriate,” FMCSA said.

During TLTF’s recent public meeting, they discussed a set of questions aimed at drivers who might have entered into problematic lease contracts or had positive leasing experiences that could provide context on fraudulent or inequitable agreements. The goal is to establish a comprehensive record of data and evidence to better understand these relationships.

“The ultimate goal is to make a series of recommendations for best practices and advice to policymakers on the effects of predatory truck leasing practices on safety, and what can be done about it,” said Steve Viscelli, TLTF member.

Questions directed towards truck drivers/lessees include providing copies of leasing documents and financial product documents associated with their work as a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) lessee. Queries cover aspects such as lease terms, marketing strategies, negotiation possibilities, awareness of financing alternatives, and the impact on finances, employment, health, and safety.

For trucking companies/lessors, questions delve into best practices for ensuring fair leases, specifics on charging drivers and lease-purchase agreement terms, and inquiries about agreements related to emission reduction programs at ports.

Responses to these questions will be shared with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, serving as a technical advisor to TLTF. FMCSA stresses the importance of redacting personal information before submitting leasing documents, as the information will be posted on a public docket.

Comments submitted will be shared with TLTF before its next public meeting, scheduled for the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky, in March. This initiative reflects a concerted effort to address concerns related to truck leasing and promote fair and transparent practices within the industry.



Source: Freightwaves