The first FMCSA Truck Leasing Task Force committee meeting was held July 11, 2023. Together, the REAL Women in Trucking and Truckers Emergency Assistance Responders submitted a 14-page public comment you can read on the FMCSA website or download below.
Highlights of the letter name some of the problematic lease purchase companies and includes recommendations on more transparency of contract terms, FMCSA enforcement on skimming through fees, charges and on freight loads under the following three regulations that already exist.
49 C.F.R. § 376.12 regarding leasing arrangements that includes provisions to protect drivers from companies that skim money in the form of expenses in the contract.
49 C.F.R. 371.3 (a) broker requirements to maintain detailed records of their brokered transactions, including the amount of compensation received by the broker for the brokerage service performed, the name of the payer, and the amount of any freight charges collected by the broker and the date of payment to the carrier.
49 C.F.R. 371.3 (c) each party to a brokered transaction must be given the right to review the record of the transaction required to be kept.
We explained that many lease purchase agreements exert control over the driver activities that exhibit misclassification indicators and that the Department of Labor must investigate control mechanisms in trucking that indicate an employee relationship rather than a true independent contractor relationship.
· The company dictates what speed the truck is governed.
· The driver cannot put their own auxiliary power unit on the truck or modify it.
· The company has the ability to control the miles the driver gets.
· The driver cannot hire another driver to operate the CMV.
· Loads are internal company load boards not the free market.
· Rates are determined by the company not the free market.
· The IRP truck plate is in the name of the company.
· The driver is unable to obtain the 2290
· The insurance only allows the driver to haul freight for one company.
· Maintenance and other expenses are dictated by the company.
· Balloon Payments are concealed through fraudulent practices.
Truck drivers in lease purchase trucks must have an enforceable bill of rights and be armed with the knowledge on how they will be protected when they are victims of fraud.
· Can they file a case in small claims court?
· What is the correct jurisdiction?
· Will the consumer protection finance bureau help?
· How can state attorney’s offices become involved?
In our letter we explained the growing issue of “Ghost Drivers”. Companies who are coercing drivers to exceed the federal mandate of no more than 11 hours of driving a day by altering the ELD to seat another driver on the truck who is not present in the truck. We identified the following states where we are seeing most of these companies filing their Division of Corporations Articles, Illinois, Ohio, Iowa, Florida, California, and Missouri.
We urge drivers who have been affected by lease purchase truck scams to offer a copy of their lease contract, settlements with their personal information redacted along with a comprehensive statement of events to task force committee members. You can learn more about the public meetings of the FMCSA truck leasing task force by visiting this link. FMCSA Truck Leasing Task Force.
Video on Truth in Leasing Regulations
Video: 10 Stupid Things Drivers do to Ruin Their Careers - Signing a Lease Purchase Agreement.