FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro rode shotgun with an OOIDA member, Leo Wilkins, of St. Charles, Michigan, for a 2-day, multi-state trip this week.
The trip was a chance for Ferro to get a glimpse into the daily life of a driver and to shine a light on how regulations have affected drivers.
The trip began on Sunday morning in Maryland and ended on Monday afternoon in Missouri.
Ferro experienced a load delivery, two pick ups and what it’s like to spend time in a truck’s sleeper berth.
During the overnight trip, Wilkins spent the night in a hotel, while Ferro found out first-hand what a night’s stay in a sleeper is like.
Wilkins and Ferro first met at OOIDA’s Heart of America Trucking Show in October 2013. Wilkins was at the Heart of America Trucking Show to receive an award for more than 2 decades of safe driving, and Ferro was at the event and helped hand out the awards.
OOIDA’s executive vice president Todd Spencer arranged the ride-along “with hopes it will give the administrator a broader perspective on the challenges professional drivers have to overcome,” OOIDA stated.
Overall, Ferro says the trip was eye-opening. OOIDA said that the trip showed Ferro that truckers “live every day with one or more than one type of restriction,” and that drivers “also contend with limited control over their time and the challenge of complying with hours-of-service regulations.”
“The challenges faced by the owner-operator are that much more real to me as a result of this trip,” said Ferro.
“It reinforced the observation that the owner-operator has very little ability to plan a trip,” Ferro continued.
“We know that the agency is aware of our members’ concerns, but this was an opportunity to give an up-close and personal perspective of a typical day in a trucker’s life,” said Spencer. “We look forward to more dialogue about issues that drivers face and how regulations affect their lives and livelihoods.”
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 nearly 150,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the greater Kansas City, Mo. area.