TCA Congratulates Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg on his Confirmation

02/02/2021

Alexandria, Virginia: 

The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) congratulates Pete Buttigieg on his confirmation as Secretary of Transportation. This is a critical time for our industry and the country, and we look forward to working with him and staff on regulations that will allow trucking to help pull our country out of the pandemic and corresponding economic downturn.

TCA is encouraged by Secretary Buttigieg’s commitment to helping advance significant infrastructure reform this year. We appreciate his understanding of the desperate need for an improved network of highways and bridges which will provide efficient and safe movement for not just our industry’s trucks, but also the general motoring public.

While the new nominee for Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has not yet been named, we encourage Secretary Buttigieg to prioritize trucking issues within his Department. Several proposals put forward by FMCSA in the past year have not been finalized, but we believe that it would be in the best interest for all stakeholders for these programs to move forward. These include pilot programs to study incorporating full sleeper berth flexibility into the hours-of-service regulations and studying the safety performance of 18-20-old-drivers in interstate commerce. Pilot programs such as these will enable the Agency to collect meaningful real-world information, leading to true data-driven regulations.

TCA strongly advocates for the federal preemption of state meal and rest break laws, which the Department of Transportation has historically supported, and we urge Secretary Buttigieg to continue this approach. The patchwork of individual state laws applying to drivers’ meal and rest breaks creates a confusing environment in which safety is compromised. Laws which impose substantiative standards related to price, route, or service of a motor carrier can and must be preempted under the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act as interfering with interstate commerce, a view which was recently upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Additionally, we are hopeful that the Department of Transportation under Secretary Buttigieg will prioritize adding hair test results into the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. Hair testing has proven to be a more accurate method of identifying drug users than the currently approved methods. Truckload carriers who utilize hair testing are unable to share their knowledge about a driver’s drug use with other potential employers because these results cannot be entered into the Clearinghouse. We call on Secretary Buttigieg to work with industry to help close this loophole.

TCA offers our support to Secretary Buttigieg and his team, and we will do all we can to assist in their efforts. We will continue to ensure the voice of truckload is heard by our new policymakers and will work with all stakeholders to strengthen the economy and propel America forward.