Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association
For Immediate Release
OOIDA to Senators: Congress Contributes to Dysfunction in Trucking
(Washington, DC, February 4, 2020) – The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association delivered a blunt message at a Congressional hearing today on behalf of the nation’s truck drivers: It’s time to listen to the hard-working men and women that drive for a living.
OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh voiced concerns of truckers as the only witness who has worked as a truck driver at the “Keep on Truckin’: Stakeholder Perspectives on Trucking in America” hearing before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety. Pugh was a trucker and small-business operator for nearly 23 years with roughly 2.5 million miles of safe driving before joining OOIDA staff in 2017.
“If you ask most drivers what Congress has done recently to improve the profession, the answer is nothing,” said Pugh. “Washington has allowed trucking policy to be overly influenced by executives looking to maximize profits, activists who’d like to regulate truckers to oblivion, state and local governments who view truckers as rolling piggybanks and self-proclaimed “experts” who don’t even know what the inside of a truck looks like.”
OOIDA’s full testimony included suggestions on which policies Congress should enact and which ones they should reject if they are truly interested in improving highway safety and the working conditions for small-business truckers and professional drivers.
As Congress considers the next highway bill, OOIDA recommended several ways that the Committee could make a positive difference such as repealing the failed ELD mandate and the overtime exemption for drivers in the Fair Labor Standards Act, providing dedicated funding for new truck parking capacity and fixing the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. The Association urged the Committee to abandon meaningless, unproven and unsafe proposals such as requiring speed limiters, mandating front and side underride guards, raising insurance minimums and allowing under-21 drivers to engage in interstate commerce.
OOIDA thanks Subcommittee Chair Deb Fischer (R-NE) for holding the hearing which focused on stakeholder perspectives regarding the state of the trucking industry, truck safety issues and the current regulatory environment. Senator Fischer is one of the few Members of Congress who has routinely engaged the trucking industry on policy matters. Other witnesses testifying included representatives from the American Trucking Associations, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, the Livestock Marketing Association and the Truck Safety Coalition.
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 more than 160,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the greater Kansas City, Mo. area.