Schnautz calls trucking a ‘misunderstood’ job.

October 2019

Wendy Parker


OOIDA Board Member Danny Schnautz took his first ride in a truck when he was 2 days old.

His lifetime passion for the trucking industry hasn’t wavered much since. Danny quite literally grew up in trucking. He jokes, “My daycare was a GMC cracker box and a White Freightliner cabover.”

Danny credits early immersion in his father’s trucking company for his love and intricate understanding of the industry. His more than 30-year professional resume includes participation in numerous national transportation boards and committees. He has provided congressional testimony on behalf of the industry, meets frequently with congressional representatives and makes a point to send 15 copies of Land Line Magazine out, with pages marked and accompanying personal letters, to lawmakers each month.

It’s safe to say Danny is a passionate trucking advocate. More importantly, he understands driving because he’s done it for a living.

“Eighty percent of it was OK, nothing great, nothing really bad,” Danny said about his days on the road. “Fifteen percent was just terrible, it seemed really hard to make a living. But that 5% of the time, when everything was clicking and the weather was beautiful, that 5% of the time made it all worth it.”

The recent FMCSA listening session regarding proposed changes to hours-of-service regulations reaffirmed Danny’s belief that trucking is a very misunderstood job. Unfortunately, he finds that the very people responsible for making laws regarding the industry rarely understand the day-to-day operations of it.

“People have got to keep speaking up about trucking. It’s important that real-life experience is heard by our lawmakers. OOIDA dug in a long time ago and we’re still there, making sure they hear from us.”

When did you get your commercial driver’s license?

“A couple of days after I turned 17, which was I guess June of 1984. I remember passing with zero point deductions on my driving test. I was moving trucks around when I had to use two feet on the clutch.”

What kind of freight do you specialize in?

“We haul all sorts of things – some flatbeds, a lot of vans and import/export ocean containers. Chemicals, cotton, steel, and more.”

Why did you join OOIDA?

“OOIDA is a group that by 1993 (when I joined) had a long record of helping truckers, and I wanted to be a part of that. My first knowledge of OOIDA was from seeing a Land Line Magazine.”

If you could make one significant change in this industry with one snap of your fingers, what would it be?

“Unhook revenue from enforcement. It’s a big conflict that gives authority the wrong focus. If I could have a second snap, it would be graduated compliance for safe, experienced drivers.”

What legacy do you hope to leave?

“A better industry because of standing up for drivers in what I say and what I do, both on the job and off the job.” LL

Wendy Parker

Wendy Parker has covered the trucking industry since 2012 after she says she “lost my mind and decided to climb inside my husband’s big truck to travel with him as an over-the road, long-haul trucker.” Her unique writing style that ranges from biting satire to investigative journalism coupled with her unbridled passion for fighting round out a wildly talented stable of writers.