A representative for the trucking group Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) delivered a harsh message to out-of-touch lawmakers during a Congressional hearing on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, February 4, several trucking industry advocates took part in a Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety hearing dubbed “Keep on Truckin’: Stakeholder Perspectives on Trucking in America.”
The purpose of the hearing was to “examine the state of the trucking industry in the United States, truck safety issues, and the regulatory environment from the stakeholder perspective.”
During the hearing, 23 year veteran trucker and OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh (who still holds his CDL) addressed the committee and delivered a blunt message about how over-zealous regulations are taking a toll on trucking.
Pugh began by calling the state of the trucking industry “dysfunctional” because “too many people who know virtually nothing about trucking have an oversized role in shaping trucking policy.”
“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.”
During his testimony, Pugh pointed to several moves that Congress could make when drafting the next highway bill that would improve the trucking industry for the men and women behind the wheel.
Among Pugh’s suggestions were to repeal the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) Mandate, repeal the overtime exemption for drivers in the Fair Labor Standards Act, provide funding for more truck parking, and to improve the nation’s infrastructure. Pugh also argued against speed limiters, front and side underride guards, higher insurance minimums for commercial vehicles, and allowing under-21 drivers to operate interstate.
Other groups appearing at the hearing included the American Trucking Associations (ATA), the Truck Safety Coalition, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), and the Cattlemen’s Livestock Market.
You can click here to read OOIDA’s full statement to the committee.
You can view video of the hearing below. Pugh’s testimony begins at the 21:30 minute mark.