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Trucking thorn Ferro says she’s leaving FMCSA top safety post

By John D. Schulz, Contributing Editor
July 28, 2014

Anne Ferro, a ferocious advocate for greater truck safety and a constant thorn to truck drivers and some unsafe trucking fleets, says she is leaving as administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. No successor has been immediately named.
 
Ferro is leaving government at the end of August to take the president and CEO post of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, a Washington trade group.
 
During her five years as head of FMCSA, Ferro was a stalwart for greater truck safety. That galled many truck drivers and even led the Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA) to this summer call for her resignation.
 
In her term, Ferro refused to back down on increased rest periods during the latest truck driver hours of service regulation (HOS), which drivers and fleets say are costing them money and productivity.
 
She also began implementation of CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) initiative that publicly ranks fleets and drivers on seven basic truck safety components. The idea behind CSA is to weed out as many as 150,000 unsafe truck drivers. But again, fleets and drivers say it’s an example of Washington overreach that is costing them time and money.
 
“It has been my greatest privilege to serve side-by-side with you to advance FMCSA’s life saving mission,” Ferro wrote in an email to FMCSA employees on July 25.
 
Ferro, a Maryland native, was seen as inflexible by many truckers in refusing to soften the many tough trucking regulations that FMCSA issued under her name.
 
That caused OOIDA, the nation’s largest trade group representing as many as 1 million owner-operators, to call for Ferro’s resignation in June.
 
At the time, OOIDA President Jim Johnston said in a letter to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx that Ferro’s actions “have made it clear to most truckers on the road and OOIDA’s Board of Directors that they can no longer be assured of respect from and fair treatment by the Administrator and the agency she leads.”
 
Ferro has said that she was simply trying to ensure trucking fleets and drivers are held more accountable for their actions, and was trying to increase enforcement on unsafe fleets. She said it was helpful to use new technological tools to track safety records of both companies and drivers.
 
Upon learning of Ferro’s resignation, OOIDA issued a statement praising her for “having unprecedented personal outreach and engagement with truckers in all the years that we have worked with the agency.”
 
After receiving Ferro’s resignation letter “with great disappointment,” Foxx said in a statement that under her leadership FMCSA has “ushered in a new culture of safety” into the commercial truck and bus industries.
 
“In her time with FMCSA, Administrator Ferro was a passionate advocate for the agency,” American Trucking Associations President and CEO Bill Graves said in a statement. “We wish her well in her new role at the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators and look forward to working with her on commercial driver licensing issues.”

About the Author

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John D. Schulz
Contributing Editor

John D. Schulz has been a transportation journalist for more than 20 years, specializing in the trucking industry. He is known to own the fattest Rolodex in the business, and is on a first-name basis with scores of top-level trucking executives who are able to give shippers their latest insights on the industry on a regular basis. This wise Washington owl has performed and produced at some of the highest levels of journalism in his 40-year career, mostly as a Washington newsman.


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