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Trucking safety agency nominee grilled in Senate hearing

As a trucking accident trial attorney in Atlanta, I see all the time how regulatory decisions in Washington impact safety on the roads throughout the U.S. A Senate committee hearing today on the nomination of Ann Ferro as administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration brought that into focus.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, chair of the surface transportation subcommittee, told President Obama’s nominee for FMCSA director nominee Ann Ferro, at a Senate confirmation hearing, that the motor carrier administration is “an agency in dire need of reform,” and that “given your ties, Ms. Ferro, to the trucking industry … I am concerned about your ability to take the bold action we need to keep Americans safe.”

In her opening statement, Ferro talked the talked about reform of trucking safety regulation in her opening statement:

“Uncompensated time, compensation by the mile or load, professional drivers classified as laborers – these are all aspects of a supply-chain model that rewards squeezing transportation costs out of the equation; factors that shift the cost onto the driving public and professional driver.”

“Furthermore, the agency must get on with considering a universal electronic on board recorder rule, improving the Hours of Service rule, rolling out tougher standards for entry, implementing effective identification and sanctioning high risk carriers.”

The committee did not vote on Ferro’s nomination. Additional questions will be submitted to the nominee, who will have until Tuesday to respond.

Ken Shigley is a trucking safety trial attorney representing seriously injured people in tractor trailer, big rig, intermodal container freight, cement truck, dump truck and bus accidents statewide in Georgia. He served as chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Litigation Institute in 2005, is a national board member of the Interstate Trucking Litigation Group of the American Association for Justice, and is on the National Advisory Board for the Association of Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America.

He has extensive experience representing parties in interstate trucking collision cases, and in the past two years has spoken at national interstate trucking litigation seminars in Chicago (trucking insurance), New Orleans (trial tactics and side underride issues), St. Louis (punitive damages), San Francisco (dealing with insolvent trucking companies), Atlanta (trucking insurance, closing argument), Nashville (use of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations), and Amelia Island (overview of trucking litigation).

A Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy, he has been listed as a “Super Lawyer” (Atlanta Magazine), among the “Legal Elite” (Georgia Trend Magazine), and in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers (Martindale). In addition to trucking litigation, he has broad experience in products liability, catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, spinal cord injury, brain injury and burn injury cases. Currently he is Treasurer and a candidate for President-Elect of the 41,000 member State Bar of Georgia.This post is subject to our ethical disclaimer.