Release Date:
Release ID: 4231

Truckers Amend Complaint Against Minnesota

OOIDA revises challenge to fatigue checklist

(Grain Valley, Mo., Sept. 11, 2009) – The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), the nation’s largest organization representing professional truckers, revised a complaint today. The complaint challenged a Minnesota State Patrol’s arbitrary enforcement program used to declare truck drivers fatigued and place them out of service. OOIDA broadened its claim, alleging that prior to Aug. 1, 2009, Minnesota state police lacked any authority to issue citations for safety violations of any kind to drivers for interstate motor carriers because the state had failed to adopt federal safety regulations.

In May 2009, OOIDA and two of its members initially filed a lawsuit against several Minnesota state troopers charging that they lacked authority to impose fatigue-based out-of-service orders. The lawsuit charges that drivers were denied their rights to a hearing on the out-of-service orders and that the regulation under which the orders were issued fails both to define fatigue and to establish a standard under which a driver would know when to stop driving.

A document obtained by OOIDA discloses conclusions by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that the State of Minnesota failed to adopt safety regulations covering interstate motor carriers and their drivers. The document also states FMCSA’s position that there has been no delegation of authority by FMCSA that would allow Minnesota enforcement officers to enforce federal regulations on interstate motor carriers or their drivers. FMCSA recommended that Minnesota take steps to adopt FMCSA’s regulations and incorporate any amendments to such federal regulations into Minnesota law. Minnesota corrected its law effective Aug. 1, 2009.

“This revelation is astounding,” said Jim Johnston, president of OOIDA. “We now know that the problem is even bigger than we had originally thought. Not only did state troopers not have the authority to put drivers out of service based on an outrageous checklist, but they had no authority to put drivers out of service for anything.” added Johnston.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the largest national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has nearly 160,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the greater Kansas City, Mo., area.
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