We’re here for you

May 2020

Lewie Pugh

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Trucking has always been a tough job. When the coronavirus outbreak got serious and people flooded stores with all of their panic buying of toilet paper and other essentials, that’s when things started to change for truckers. As people wandered the aisles in disbelief that shelves didn’t magically fill up overnight, they learned quickly it was truckers who were going to play a crucial role during this pandemic.

Leaders at the federal and state level started to figure out how they were going to try to protect people from the virus, and the executive orders started flying about mid-March. That made things even more complicated for truckers than the everyday red tape.

At OOIDA, we dug in. We started developing our COVID-19 resource page for the OOIDA and Land Line Media websites. We fielded phone calls from our members facing new challenges on the road. We opened the lines of communication with regulators and lawmakers.

Straight away, Pennsylvania decided to shut down their rest areas. What? You need truckers but are willing to take away parking that was already in short supply before this crisis. What about the truckers who are delivering to the state needing to wash their hands, too? We issued a call to action that eventually resulted in rest areas being reopened. Commonsense finally prevailed.

With the help of you, our members, we were able to knock down some ill-advised plans and help create some good ones. The CDL medical waiver, postponement of Roadcheck, exemption from Utah’s travel declaration form – the list of accomplishments goes on and on.

OOIDA also took the lead in making sure that you were not forgotten in this pandemic. Traveling in and out of hot spots, we knew that access to testing for any of you with symptoms needed to be a priority. We got the attention of some of the most powerful leaders in America, and we believe we’re going to see some changes, hopefully not too long after this magazine goes to press.

As I write this, Congress is already discussing the fourth relief package, and there’s a lot of talk about infrastructure investments. Our goal is to make sure this includes federal funding for truck parking. But the next phase of relief also will need to provide more economic support for small trucking businesses. We’ve suggested waiving the 2020 HVUT tax and temporarily lifting federal fuel taxes as quick and easy ways to help owner-operators get through the summer. And we’ll continue to provide Congress recommendations as conditions change and the response efforts turn to recovery.

We are in constant contact with a number of federal entities, including the Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Federal Highway Administration, Federal Emergency Management Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, and many more agencies at the federal and state levels.

All that said, you are the eyes and ears out there on the road, and we take our direction from you. We’re ready to fight to get you the relief from regulations that you need and resources to take care of yourself while you’re out there doing what truckers do. Just call us or email us at Questions@OOIDA.com. We’re here to answer your questions and go to battle over restrictions that will threaten your livelihood or health.

Our resource page will be updated until this whole mess is over. We know you need up-to-date accurate info, and we will deliver it. We are here for all of you while you are out there doing what you do. And, just like you’re not stopping, we’re not either. Be safe out there and thank you for what you do. LL