Making changes for the better
OOIDA Board Alternate Director Brad Peterson wants to be a mentor to other drivers.
Brad Peterson says he always envisioned growing up and driving a truck like his dad. His father eventually let him join the family business, but he put a stipulation on it first.
“He laid down the law and told me I had to go get a degree in something first,” he said. “So I went and got a two-year (degree) in carpentry.”
Before carpentry and trucking, however, the resident of Brookings, S.D., served in the United States Navy after high school. He got his first taste of trucking as a youth, helping haul grain with his grandfather.
Elected as an OOIDA board member in 2018, Brad is an owner-operator with his own authority. He pulls a drop deck trailer and does some cattle hauling too.
He says there are many inconsistencies in laws and regulations from state to state and even county to county within the states. It’s important for drivers to be part of an association like OOIDA because as a group, they have the ability to shape policy for trucking – both legislative and regulatory – and make needed industry changes.
When did you get your commercial driver’s license?
“I got my CDL at 21, but I started driving on the farm at age 11 or 12, driving a little 1960, four-speed Chevrolet to the elevator hauling grain. I had to scoot forward in the seat to reach the pedals, and my grandpa had a phone book with a towel on it I had to sit on.”
What kind of freight do you specialize in?
“Pre-cast concrete in a stepdeck. Anything made out of concrete that they bury or is above ground, we pretty much haul. In winter it’s more heavy equipment. … Whatever I can get on my trailer.”
Why did you join OOIDA?
“When I first got going it was for the drug and alcohol consortium. I first heard about the Association from a trucker in Laramie, Wyo. He was wearing the old OOIDA jean jacket that (fellow Board Member) Gary Green likes to wear. I really like what the Association stands for.”
If you could make a significant change in the industry with the snap of your fingers, what would it be?
“Get rid of ELDs and change hours of service. But the next thing would be better training for the new people. It needs to start at the top of the company. If I’m a fleet owner, I want to be hiring guys with years of experience, who know what they’re doing, who know the law, who are courteous. I think driving school should be eight or 10 weeks long. Spend some time with a trainer in the truck riding coast-to-coast.”
What legacy do you hope to leave?
“I’ve always wanted to be able to teach someone what my dad taught me. I’ve had the opportunity to do that with a good friend of mine in South Dakota. Get them set up and teach them the tricks of the trade. Being a mentor to new drivers. I’d like to be able to do that again.” LL