Last month, a bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate which aims to amend the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act to remove the overtime exemption for truckers; a companion bill was introduced in the House in April. The aim of both is to make the profession more attractive and help close an estimated shortfall of 80,000 drivers, per the American Trucking Association; the problem’s also global. The ATA says this is the case even though median wages rose 18% in 2021. The legislation is also targeting highway safety: According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were 5,000 crashes involving commercial vehicles in 2021.
Opponents of the bills include members of the National Industrial Transportation League (NITL), who of course stand to see significant payroll hikes. Backers, including the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and a coalition of road safety groups, want to level the playing field for truckers by preventing carriers and fleet managers from pushing employees to work 60, 70 or 80-hour weeks, secure in the knowledge they don’t have to pay OT.
Dimitre Kirilov, President of Consumer Services for Montway Auto Transport, believes immediate action is needed to limit hours for truckers for a variety of reasons. He shares his rationale in our latest MCM CommerceChat podcast.