Senate Committee Confirms FMCSA Administrator

Current deputy administrator Meera Joshi battles supply chain snarls impacting the trucking industry.

October 21, 2021

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WASHINGTON—The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee has advanced the nomination of Meera Joshi to become the seventh administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration by a 22-6 vote, reports Bloomberg Government. Joshi is the current deputy administrator of FMCSA.

Joshi recently has dealt with major supply issues, particularly how truckers are dealing with backed-up ports.

“At ports in particular, the pain point for truckers is the reduction in turn times,” Joshi said at her nomination hearing in September. “Turn times equals money. The less turn times they have, the less money that they make.”

Joshi called for “financial incentives for shippers and port operators to decrease that time so that financial burden doesn’t fall on truckers.”

Joshi has also issued several rules and proposed regulations as deputy administrator, including extended pandemic-related hours-of-service waivers and new mandates for enforcing drug and alcohol requirements at the state level, reports Freight Waves. She also sees the difficulties in rolling out autonomous trucks and how it may affect the driver workforce.

She also wants to decrease the time it takes to issue CDLs so more qualified truck drivers can hit the road and is working with state motor vehicle divisions on making it easier to do this.

Recently, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., moved to operating 24/7 to help ease the congestion at the ports, but some truckers say this solution doesn’t address their issues, such as wait times and a lack of parking.

Economists expect supply chain bottlenecks and elevated inflation to persist well into next year and continue to threaten the growth of the U.S. economy. Concerns about COVID-19 as a risk to growth, however, have waned.

The ongoing truck driver shortage has touched nearly every industry in the U.S. and abroad, and the oil-field services industry in particular is worried that the coming Biden Administration mandate for U.S. COVID-19 vaccinations or regular testing will prompt highly sought after truckers to quit.