The truck drivers’ perspective

OOIDA member shares experiences with lawmakers’ staff members

May 2020

Mark Schremmer

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Markcus Davis, an OOIDA member from South Carolina, traveled to Washington, D.C., in March to provide his lawmakers a truck driver’s perspective.

Davis’ perspective includes 25 years of experience from behind the wheel.

The longtime truck driver said it was time to get involved, so he reached to OOIDA and asked them to set up appointments with his respective lawmakers in Washington, D.C.

Davis met with staff members for Sens. Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham and Reps. Joe Wilson and Jim Clyburn.

“Knowing the industry and not liking how we’re being treated and simply being tired of being overregulated … I simply just got tired and fed up and needed my voice to be heard,” Davis told Land Line Now.

Davis said he believes it is important for lawmakers to hear directly from the men and women who are on the highways every day and who have to deal with all of the laws and regulations imposed upon them.

“I wanted to let them know my experience from the driver aspect of it,” he said. “Because I believe I was speaking for all drivers of the United States, and I wanted to express how we are being treated, driver pay, to not having enough parking when we’re trying to get rest. Those are the things that I wanted to convey to the lawmakers to let them know that we’re out there, and we need you guys to do something about this.”

One of the issues Davis wanted his lawmakers to know about was the electronic logging mandate and how that has created an even larger issue in regard to detention time for drivers.

“You guys need to mandate the shippers and receivers who have no knowledge of the rules and regulations of transportation,” Davis said. “When they regulated us, they didn’t let the shippers and receivers know that they need to do something about this and hurry up. The culture basically stayed the same. Specifically, food distribution places tend to keep drivers in the dark all day long, which affects our efficiency of making money and getting proper rest.”

Davis said there needs to be more flexibility when it comes to hours-of-service regulations.

“There is no such thing as planning properly when it comes to transportation because there are so many variables … that can come in to play like traffic, weather and getting unloaded,” Davis said. “Every minute and every second counts.”

Addressing pay, Davis said he wanted to make it clear to his lawmakers that there is not a driver shortage in the trucking industry.

“I challenge (the idea of a driver shortage), because that’s a lie,” Davis said. “If we didn’t have enough drivers, then the pay would be up based on the method of supply and demand. But I showed him that pay is down, and the reason the pay is down is because brokers are saying there are a lot of drivers and they are bidding out to the lowest bidder. If there was a lack of drivers, the pay would be higher.”

Davis’ advocacy didn’t begin with his recent meeting with lawmakers. This past September, Davis received a lot of positive attention for his passionate comments during an FMCSA listening session about hours-of-service reform.

“Do you all know that drivers are driving tired more now than ever now since e-logs have been instituted? Ask the truck drivers. They will tell you,” Davis said at the listening session. “I’m not talking about a study. I’m talking about facts. I hear about all of your data and everything, but I’m coming from truth. Drivers are driving tired on these e-logs more now than ever.” LL

Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.