Heavy Duty Trucking

SEP 2014

The Fleet Business Authority

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12 HDT • SEPTEMBER 2014 www.truckinginfo.com a Ferro: Share the burden of safety WASHINGTON Oliver B. Patton • Washington Editor WASHINGTON report Anne Ferro's depart- ing message is that the cost of truck and bus safety needs to be distributed more evenly through the supply chain. Too much of the burden falls on drivers, who are not paid for all the time they work, said the former head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in an exit interview with a number of reporters. Ferro stepped down August 25 after five years as Administrator of the FMCSA. She took a job as president and CEO of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Admin- istrators. She said her experience late last year in a ride-along with owner-operator Leo Wilkins showed her how much safety responsibility falls on drivers and law enforce- ment, while compliant carriers must bid against low-end competitors in a market dedicated to squeezing out costs. "We need to move that safety calculus back into the supply chain and move the costs earlier among those influencing it," she said. It was a theme she re- turned to repeatedly. "It is essential to recognize that professional drivers should be compensated for all time on duty. That's integral to achieving the overall safety mission." This was in reference to a provision in the pending Obama administration highway bill that would require carriers to pay drivers at least the federal minimum wage for time spent waiting to be loaded or unloaded. Ferro has been working on this issue since her Senate confir- mation hearing in 2009. Asked how she would measure the agency's success when looking back five years from now, she started with the obvious metric — fewer fatal crashes — and then added, "vastly improved compensation for profes- sional drivers, a higher bar for safety for those in the supply chain and incorpo- rating safety into logistics management algorithms." The tension between the commercial pressure to deliver freight at the lowest possible cost and the imperative to do so safely is at the heart of the perpetual struggle over hours of service, Ferro said. The agency is obliged by law to set constraints on carriers' ability to meet their customers' demands. When asked how she would measure the agency's success, Ferro pointed out what she felt was most important — fewer fatal crashes. 8 "We need to move that safety calculus back into the supply chain and move the costs earlier among those influencing it." – Anne Ferro PHOTO: OLIVER PATTON

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