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