Press Release

ATA Welcomes Department of Labor Opinion on Independent Contractor Safety Requirements

Jan 19, 2021

Arlington, Virginia – Today, American Trucking Associations thanked the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division for releasing an opinion letter clarifying that motor carrier safety requirements for owner-operator drivers do not affect independent contractor status. 

“Today’s letter is a victory for highway safety and for the thousands of truck drivers who choose to be independent contractors,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “This opinion will make it easier for motor carriers to utilize owner-operators, while maintaining important safety standards, without risking those drivers’ independent contractor status.” 

The opinion letter, which came after a request from ATA, specifically allows motor carriers to provide or require various types of safety training and safety equipment to drivers without endangering their status as independent contractors. 

“This opinion letter applies only to federal law, but many states rely on federal law and letters like this to make policy,” Spear said. “Going forward, state policy makers and the courts should value this opinion, and in doing so encourage motor carriers and owner-operators to enhance training and technology, improving highway sa