The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said Tuesday that it is opening comments on a request from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and the Small Business in Transportation Coalition that could lead to a requirement that brokers would share documents on transactions with drivers and carriers.
The OOIDA request is that FMCSA should require brokers to provide a copy of every transaction within 48 hours “after the contractual service has been completed” and would also “prohibit explicitly brokers from including any provision in their contracts that requires a motor carrier to waive its rights to access the transaction records.” The SBTC request is for FMCSA to “prohibit brokers from coercing or otherwise requiring parties to brokers’ transactions to waive their right to review the record of the transaction as a condition for doing business.”
Parties to a transaction do have the right to receive documents about the deal. But brokers report that the documents are almost never requested. The countervailing argument is that drivers don’t ask for them because they’re afraid the request could lead to a “blackballing” of those drivers who do make the request, limiting their opportunities in the future.
But the reality, according to OOIDA, is that the exchange of information doesn’t happen much. Many of the contracts signed by carriers include a clause waiving the right under 371.3. OOIDA concedes that it discourages its members from signing for that provision, “but the practice is so prevalent that truckers often have no other choice if they want to haul a brokered load.”
OOIDA is not the only entity that agrees information is rarely transferred through a 371.3 request. As one former broker said, “I didn’t even know that was a law.”