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FMCSA's top regulator goes on two-day trip in rig, spends night in sleeper

“The challenges faced by the owner-operator are that much more real to me as a result of this trip,” said FMCSA top regulator Anne Ferro after her two-day journey from Maryland to Missouri with OOIDA member Leo Wilkins of St. Charles, Mich.

The Trucker News Services

11/5/2013

To the chorus of truckers commenting almost daily that they wish someone who makes the rules would actually ride in a commercial truck, now hear this: FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro took a two-day ride in a rig and even slept in the bunk while the trucker slept in a hotel.

“The challenges faced by the owner-operator are that much more real to me as a result of this trip,” said Ferro after her two-day journey from Maryland to Missouri with OOIDA member Leo Wilkins of St. Charles, Mich.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association set up the ride and chose Wilkins, who was recognized for more than two decades of safe driving at the group’s recent Heart of America Trucking Show in Kansas City, Kan. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s top regulator attended the show and handed out awards to Watkins and other OOIDA members for their many years of accident-free driving.

Watkins is an OOIDA board member and he and other members of the board have a combined total of about 900 years of driving experience, stated an OOIDA news release.

OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer, who arranged the ride, said this was “an opportunity to give an up-close-and-personal perspective of a typical day in a trucker’s life” to Ferro.

During the two-day ride which began early on a Sunday morning in Maryland and ended Monday afternoon in Missouri, Ferro saw a load delivery, two load pick-ups and experienced what it was like to stay in the sleeper berth while Wilkins stayed in a hotel overnight.

“It reinforces the observation that the owner-operator has very little ability to plan a trip,” she said.

Spencer said it’s hoped the trip will open up “more dialogue about issues that drivers face and how regulations affect their lives and livelihoods.”

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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