Last week a major trucking industry organization sent a scathing letter to President Trump demanding a plan to provide truckers with on-the-road testing for the COVID-19 coronavirus, and today that same group turned its attention to Congress asking for numerous long-term changes on behalf of drivers.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association sent a letter to the leaders of the House and Senate that said that when the “crisis is over and recovery begins, truckers will still have the same challenges with overregulation, working conditions and pay.” The letter then enumerated actions OOIDA said needs to be taken, including:
- 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 efforts to modernize and improve hours-of-service 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 are things that Congress can move quickly on to help truck drivers,” wrote OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer. “They were delivering important medical supplies, groceries and manufacturing materials long before COVID-19 and will continue to do so long after the U.S. has recovered from the current crisis. Unfortunately, it has taken a global pandemic for the media, the general public, and Congress to truly appreciate everything they do.”
The letter was sent to Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Chuck Schumer (D-New York), and Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Kevin McCarthy (R-California).