I’m Just a Bill:

Webcast Focuses on What’s Happening in Washington

In order to help keep the fleet industry better-informed, GPS Insight hosted FleetOwner’s recent Webcast, Looking Back to See Ahead, A Trucking Perspective on Government Action in 2022 and What it Means for 2023. The webinar featured Sean Garney, the co-director at Scopelitis Transportation Consulting, a leading voice on federal fleet and transportation issues.

Sean spent over a decade with the American Trucking Association, representing the industry before Congress, federal regulators and other key stakeholders as an expert on key issues such as hours of service, electronic logging devices and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) safety and administration program. He focused on recent actions in Washington and how they will impact the industry now, and in the years ahead.

I’m Just a Bill – Government 101

Sean began with a brief refresher course on who does what in our nation’s capital and how it impacts the fleet industry. As you know, Congress makes the laws and the Executive Branch—the president and assorted departments—implement them through rulemaking and enforcement.

He noted that, over much of the last ten years, Congress has been increasingly divided, which has made it difficult to get important things done. As a result, Congress has only acted in times of crisis, so little has been done to address some major issues facing the nation as a whole and the industry specifically.

Sean also discussed key issues such as new research, task forces and advisory committees affecting transportation and fleets underway.

One particularly controversial item under review is new ways to fund the Highway Transportation Fund. Policymakers are discussing transitioning from something that taxes each gallon of fuel to something that taxes each mile driven. While this is a less efficient way to track and to collect funds for the Highway Trust Fund, it is an option because Congress has been very hesitant to raising gas and diesel taxes to pay for roads and bridges. A “user-fee” doesn’t receive the same amount of public outcry and is, therefore, easier to increase than a broad-based tax.

Meanwhile, the Truck Leasing Task Force is designed to provide education for lease drivers on beneficial and fair leasing agreements. There has been growing concern that some truck leasing programs that are less fair to drivers, and they’re looking for ways to provide owner operators or independent contractors additional information on how to evaluate those leases, how to understand what they might do to your net compensation, and more.

Finally, vehicles and technology, especially with the rise of safety technology, are a top issue for national policymakers. The brave new world of self-driving vehicles and large truck crash causation are prime candidates for a deep review. FMCSA is already looking at helping us understand the genesis of crashes. Driver pay and apprenticeship opportunities are also on Congress’ agenda. Things like driver assist technology and automated vehicle technology, like automatic emergency braking, and underride protection requirements need rulemaking to develop standards.

Watch the Webcast On-demand: