A group of a dozen owner-operators is challenging the call of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association for resignation of the top federal truck safety official.

“Most of us are members of OOIDA and we respectfully disagree with our leadership on this issue,” the group said in a letter to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

“We are writing to refute the position of the OOIDA Board of Directors and management requesting the resignation of FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro.”

OOIDA complained to Foxx that Ferro has not been impartial, citing a DOT blog post that “looked like it had been written by trial lawyers,” said executive director Todd Spencer.

Spencer said the blog was designed to influence a congressional vote on suspending the 34-hour restart provision of the hours of service rule – “not something federal agencies are supposed to be doing.”

OOIDA asked Foxx to replace Ferro with someone who “will approach professional truck drivers with respect and fair treatment.”

The 12 owner-operators countered with the observation that Ferro has made an extraordinary effort to reach out to the industry by conducting listening sessions at truck shows and truck stops, and answering calls on radio shows.

“We believe these actions demonstrate the extra effort she puts forth to gain the knowledge she needs to make some very tough decisions,” the owner-operators said.

“By actually mingling with the blue-collar people in the industry, she has fostered a unique safety culture in our industry. Never, before the introduction of (the) CSA program, has safety been on the lips of so many industry leaders and professional drivers.”

The owner-operators also lauded Ferro for her support for better driver compensation. Ferro has testified before Congress in support of legislation that would require carriers to pay drivers at least minimum wage for the time they wait to load and unload.

Ferro “recognizes that most truck drivers today, especially in the truckload sector, are experiencing increasing difficulty remaining financially solvent while operating in compliance with safety regulations,” they said.

The owner-operators are: Jerry Fritts, American Overland Freight Services; Henry Albert, Albert Transport; Bob and Linda Caffee, Caffee Enterprises; Jeff Clark, Clark Trucking; Tom Kyrk; Jeannie Silk; Rick Ash, Hat Trick Enterprises; Shawn Hubbard; Jimmy Nevarez, Angus Transportation; David Wimot; and Scott Kinley.

Some of these are members of the Trucking Solutions Group, an organization formed in 2008 to share best business practices and improve driver health.