Earlier this year, House and Senate versions of a bill were introduced that would transfer the Federal Communications Commission’s authority in the matter over to local jurisdictions. The aim is to reduce the number of operators of illegal high-powered devices.
However, one drivers groups says the bill raises other concerns.
Todd Spencer of the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Assn. says the House version of the legislation was scheduled to be discussed in a subcommittee late last month, but it was never brought up. The conventional wisdom is that if the bill is to have any chance of passing before Congress wraps up its business for this year, it will have to be included as part of a larger package of bills, most likely legislation dealing with telephone slamming by long-distance phone carriers.
Spencer says any legislation that empowers local police to enforce federal rules is dangerous, especially to truckers.
“We believe it's inappropriate for the FCC to pass along its authority to others,” Spencer says. “Our biggest concern, which is based on previous experiences with local police, is that local jurisdictions have limited expertise in dealing with trucking.” He says the legislation, if passed, would simply give local police another reason to pull drivers over in search of money.