Request to Defund the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Update

The letter demands that the FMCSA Secretary and its executives be held “accountable for their failures, unlawful and unethical activity, and patterns of fraud, abuse, waste, and mismanagement.”

Small Business in Transportation Coalition

A provocative rebuttal was released on Jan. 3 by the Small Business in Transportation Coalition, that attacks the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA’s) claim that it had any accomplishments, in a letter written to U.S. Sen. Roger F. Wicker, chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and Rep. Peter A. DeFazio, chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The contents of the 3-page letter from SBTC Executive Director James Lamb, are posted below, in their entirety, unedited.

In particular, the SBTC again requests that Congress hold hearings this year on the SBTC proposal to defund the agency. The letter also alleges and demands that the FMCSA “Secretary and FMCSA executives [be held] accountable for their failures, unlawful and unethical activity, and patterns of fraud, abuse, waste, and mismanagement.”

January 3, 2020

Hon. Roger F. Wicker, Chairman
U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
512 Dirksen Senate Building
Washington DC 20510

Hon Peter A. DeFazio, Chairman
House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
2165 RHOB
Washington DC 20515 -6256

Re: Additional Data to Support SBTC’s Request for Congress to Defund the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and replace it with an independent motor carrier commission reminiscent of the Interstate Commerce Commission.

Dear Chairmen Wicker & DeFazio:

This is in furtherance of our letter of December 26th 2019 to you, in which, we asked on behalf of our 15,000 trucker and motor carrier members operating in interstate commerce that your committees please consider defunding and replacing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) due, in part, to the agency’s failures to make the roads safer and its practice of delaying the states’ receipt of motor carrier safety funds for three years straight. Comes now, the SBTC to offer additional data in support of our request.

On December 30, 2019, FMCSA issued a list of alleged “accomplishments” apparently in response to our call for Congress to defund. They circulated same on social media at https://www.facebook.com/FMCSA/. We contend a list of how the agency spent its time and taxpayer money does not necessarily equate to bona fide accomplishments.

January 1, 2020 marked the FMCSA’s 20th birthday. According to USDOT stats, here is what we are actually celebrating: For FY 2019, FMCSA requested a $665.80 million budget from Congress, which included $284 million for Motor Carrier Safety Operations and Programs and $381.80 million for Motor Carrier Safety Grants.

Here is what American taxpayers have gotten in recent years for their money:

  • The 2018 Large Truck Occupant Highway Fatality Rate is at a 30-year high.
  • When you do the math, 2.4 occupants of large trucks died every single day in 2018.
  • In 2017, 4,889 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes, a 9-percent increase from 2016 (this has now been skewed to lower the percentage to 4.9 percent by removing certain vehicles, which, when combined with trailers still constitute a commercial motor vehicle over 10,000 lbs.).**
  • The number of large trucks and buses in fatal crashes has increased by 42 percent from its low of 3,432 in 2009.**
  • From 2016 to 2017, large truck and bus fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled by all motor vehicles increased by 6.8 percent, from 0.146 to 0.156.**
  • There was a 40-percent increase in the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks or buses between 2009 and 2017. **
  • From 2016 to 2017, the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks or buses increased by 8 percent.**
  • The number of injury crashes involving large trucks or buses increased 62 percent from 2009 to 2015.**
  • From 2016 to 2017, according to NHTSA’s CRSS data, large truck and bus injury crashes increased 4 percent (from 112,000 in 2016 to 116,000 in 2017).**
  • From 2016 to 2017 the number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes increased 10 percent, from 4,251 to 4,657, and the large truck involvement rate (large trucks involved in fatal crashes per 100 million miles traveled by large trucks) increased 6 percent, from 1.48 to 1.56. The number of large trucks involved in injury crashes increased by 5 percent, from 102,000 to 107,000. The number of large trucks involved in property damage only crashes increased by 3 percent, from 351,000 to 363,000. The number of buses involved in fatal crashes decreased from 234 to 232, a decrease a mere 1 percent.**

**SOURCE: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/safety/data-and- statistics/461861/ltcbf-2017-final-5-6-2019.pdf

These are far from positive “accomplishments” worthy of continued funding. For these reasons and the additional reasons outlined in our December 26, 2019 letter you, we are asking for Congress to sunset FMCSA this year and create a new independent motor carrier regulatory commission similar to the old Interstate Commerce Commission to succeed where FMCSA has clearly failed.

In furtherance of our campaign to #DefundFMCSA, we offer our December 30, 2019 press release published at http://www.prweb.com/releases/trucking_industry_trade_group_calls_for_federal_motor _carrier_safety_administration_to_be_defunded/prweb16809446.htm, which announces our new domain http://www.DefundFMCSA.com.

In the interest of public integrity and government accountability, we hereby echo our December 26, 2019 request and respectfully request that you please hold hearings on this proposal to defund the agency and hold the Secretary and FMCSA executives accountable for their failures, unlawful and unethical activity, and patterns of fraud, abuse, waste, and mismanagement. Again, please let us know if you would like us to produce additional documents or testify on these matters to support this request.

Copies of this letter and our December 26th letter are being forwarded to each chamber’s Committee on Appropriations for their information.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
JAMES LAMB
SBTC Executive Director