Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Streetsblog Capitol Hill

Obama Chooses Trucking Industry Lobbyist to Regulate Truckers

4:51 PM EDT on September 24, 2009

The White House's choice of trucking lobbyist Anne Ferro to head the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) -- the agency charged with preventing truck crashes -- prompted consternation yesterday from a senior Democrat on the Senate committee that must approve the nomination.

woman_of_the_year_lg.jpgAnne Ferro, nominated to lead the FMCSA. (Photo: Smart Woman)

Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), chairman of the Commerce Committee's transportation panel, said that Ferro's six-year stint as head of the Maryland Motor Truck Association cast doubt on her readiness to pursue stricter safety rules for drivers of commercial vehicles, which are responsible for an estimated 5,000 deaths and 100,000 injuries every year.

Ms. Ferro's ties to the trucking industry ... I am concerned about her ability to take the bold
action needed to keep Americans safe," Lautenberg said at Ferro's nomination hearing, calling the FMCSA "an agency in dire need of reform."

Ferro described herself as a strong safety advocate, pointing to her support for ignition interlocks when she led Maryland's motor vehicle administration, according to the Associated Press.

But safety groups continue to question Ferro's support for the Bush administration's 2004 rule that increased the number of hours truck drivers could remain behind the wheel. The so-called "hours of service" (HOS) rule for truckers was struck down twice by federal courts that found it had ignored evidence of a higher crash risk caused by lengthy stints behind the wheel.

In a July letter to the Commerce Committee, representatives of the Truck Safety Coalition, the Center for Auto Safety, the Safe Climate Campaign and several other road-safety groups wrote:

While six federal appellate judges in two cases have found the Bush Administration HOS rule arbitrary and capricious, Ms. Ferro has vigorously defended the HOS rule, in concert with the American Trucking Associations, as a safe and wise policy. ... In fact, she wrote, “…reversing the 2004 change in the hours-of-service regulations would be foolish, would make our highways less safe and would cost lives.”

Ferro registered to lobby Maryland state lawmakers, but not members of Congress. If she had, the nomination likely would need an ethics waiver under Obama administration rules that aim to prevent lobbyists from holding undue influence over federal policy-making.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

To Help Save the Planet, Take the ‘Week Without Driving’ Challenge

Former Sierra Club President Ramón Cruz is urging Americans to give up driving for seven days — and support policies to make it optional for everyone.

September 29, 2023

Labor Gains: NYC Judge Tosses App Giants’ Suit to Stop Deliverista Minimum Wage

Justice Nicholas Moyne cleared the way for a long-delayed wage hike for workers who brave dangerous roads to bring food directly to New Yorkers.

September 29, 2023

Friday’s Headlines Are Charged Up

Expect a lot fewer ordinary gas stations and a few more Buc-ee's in your area as the electric vehicle transition continues.

September 29, 2023

Commentary: Let’s Talk About the Real “Fatal Flaw” on Valencia

How many people have to die before professional advocates stop endorsing the Valencia Street "experiment" on people?

September 28, 2023

Talking Headways Podcast: Beyond Greenways

This week we’re joined by Bob Searns to talk about his new book and grand ideas for walking trails that circle whole regions and more local routes that make up a new mode of green infrastructure in cities.

September 28, 2023
See all posts