OOIDA brings 2023 priorities to Washington lawmakers

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Truck parking, restroom entry and upcoming pace limiter laws are amongst truck drivers’ chief considerations in 2023. 

“Truckers are very important, very important, very important individuals,” stated Lewie Pugh, government vp of the Proprietor-Operator Unbiased Drivers Affiliation. “They don’t seem to be these unhealthy guys working up and down the highway in these large vans making an attempt to run individuals over and all this craziness. They’re simply good, household, hardworking individuals.”

Pugh traveled to Washington, D.C., late final month for a marathon 25 conferences on Capitol Hill and on the Division of Transportation. In a dialog with Transport Dive, he shared the affiliation’s priorities and targets for 2023.

Truck parking

A perennial drawback for the business, the dearth of sufficient truck parking was drivers’ high concern for the third straight yr in 2022, based on the American Transportation Analysis Institute. Only one parking spot exists for each 11 vans on the highway, OOIDA says, forcing drivers to resort to parking on freeway ramps and even at a funeral dwelling.

The Truck Parking Security Enchancment Act, launched by Sens. Cynthia Lummis and Mark Kelly, would make investments a whole bunch of thousands and thousands of {dollars} in extra parking to deal with the scarcity. Pugh met with each senators, in addition to Reps. Angie Craig and Mike Bost, who launched parking laws of their respective chambers. Craig and Bost’s Home invoice cleared the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in July. 

“It looks as if that’s our large precedence yearly, these days,” Pugh stated. “However I feel we’ve acquired fairly good traction this yr, coming off final yr. We’re going to get a invoice within the Home and within the Senate, hopefully fairly fast, and we’ll get that handed. We all know that is one thing truckers have been needing for 20, 30 years. … It’s simply gotten worse.”  

Velocity limiters

The Federal Motor Service Security Administration acquired about 16,000 feedback in response to its renewed proposal to require using pace limiters inside heavy-duty vans.

Whereas pace limiters may assist decrease fleets’ gas prices, OOIDA disputes their worth as a security measure. 

“We as an affiliation don’t imagine pace limiters are a good suggestion,” Pugh stated. “We predict it can have a counter impact on security.”

Requiring pace limiters may have unintended penalties, reminiscent of extra highway rage incidents when passenger autos are unable to go speed-limited vans, and truck drivers probably making an attempt to make up misplaced time by driving quicker on smaller roads with decrease pace limits.   

“I perceive why some individuals are asking for this as a result of they’ve had a tragedy of their lives or one thing like that, and that is comprehensible,” Pugh stated. “However this is not the best way to repair the issue they’re making an attempt to repair.”

Restroom entry

In the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, many warehouses restricted truck drivers’ entry to their restrooms as a measure to forestall the unfold of the virus.

Because the nation has more and more pushed previous the pandemic, lots of these restroom doorways have remained locked.

Pugh’s journey to the Hill additionally included visits with Reps. Troy Nehls and Chrissy Houlihan, who launched a restrooms invoice within the Home. Nehls advised Land Line he expects the legislation to go with bipartisan assist. 

Pugh, who drove a truck for 26 years, stated the difficulty exhibits how drivers go from being seen as heroes to nuisances as quickly as provide chains settle and cabinets are stocked with meals, bathroom paper and different necessities.

“I by no means thought I’d be in Washington, D.C., speaking about making a legislation to [allow truck drivers to] use the lavatory,” Pugh stated.

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