Washington DC –The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has written U.S. Congress reminding them of key issues facing the trucking industry that must be addressed once the Covid-19 crisis passes.
“Thanks to America’s truck drivers and their willingness to risk infection from COVID-19, store shelves remain filled and critical supplies continue to get moved across our nation’s highways. But after this phase of the crisis is over and recovery begins, truckers will still have the same challenges with overregulation, working conditions and pay,” read the letter addressed to Sens. Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer, and Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy.
“Without any sort of work-from-home option, truckers are manning the front lines of the industry as they always have done,” said Todd Spencer, OOIDA President and CEO. “They certainly welcome the public praise from all who have noticed their role in the pandemic response. But they will need more than words to stay afloat in an uncertain future.”
OOIDA is asking Congress to prioritize the following:
H.R. 6104, the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, should be passed to address the shortage of parking for trucks. This bipartisan legislation would provide dedicated funding for projects that expand truck parking capacity.
Congress must support the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) efforts to modernize and improve hours-of-service (HOS) regulations. Truckers shouldn’t just get temporary relief when the nation needs their help responding to an emergency.
Congress must take steps to address the persistent problem of excessive detention time, which reduces driver wages, slows the movement of freight and has been linked to increased crash rates. Many drivers spend countless unpaid on-duty hours being detained due to the inefficiency of others within the supply chain.
Congress must repeal the overtime exemption for employee drivers in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The average truck driver works 60-70 hours per week, which is rarely, if ever, reflected in their compensation.
Congress must waive the 2020 payment of the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax (HVUT) to provide immediate tax relief to owner-operators, many of which are struggling to keep their businesses operational during and after the crisis.
“These aren’t necessarily the only issues in trucking that need to change to bring improvements,” added Spencer. “But memes and applause don’t pay bills or reduce the over regulation that keep them from making a living. These are things that Congress can move quickly on to help truck drivers.”