‘The Association’s mission is critical for small-business trucking.’

December 2018/January 2019

Wendy Parker

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OOIDA life member Mike Broaddus developed great relationships and respect for the Association long before he became an owner-operator.

Mike Broaddus
OOIDA Life Member Mike Broaddus

Mike Broaddus learned during his tenure as California Trucking Association safety manager that large professional associations like the ATA are representing heavy dues-paying members. More often than not, these members aren’t representing the best interests of the small-business owner-operator.

“During my time at CTA, I met a guy from OOIDA named Don York. Don was a passionate representative, a great guy. I developed a soft spot for OOIDA, because I realized what a juggling act the Association has in representing the diversity in the trucking industry,” Broaddus said. “I admire what a great job they do handling those differences. Their mission is critical for small-business trucking.”

Broaddus, now living in Harbeson, Del., found early on that advocacy takes a commitment of time and effort. Previous law enforcement experience with the Nevada State Patrol influenced Mike’s efforts while working for CTA.

In 2013, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 529 into law. The BIT (Basic Inspection of Terminals) was developed to ensure all commercial truck terminals are inspected by the California Highway Patrol on a performance-based inspection selection system.

Terminal inspections have been conducted by the patrol since 1965. However, BITs established a criteria associated with safety scores and the CSA Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Category (BASIC) percentiles.

“It was a great idea in theory, but when they first rolled it out, it was a mess,” Broaddus said. “It quickly became evident that different areas of the state were enforcing the law based on the interpretation of their managing officers.”

CHP’s “role to determine whether carriers’ maintenance schedules were adequate” was somewhat vague. This resulted in frustration on both sides of the equation – law enforcement and carriers. A task force was formed to facilitate across-the-board interpretation of the law’s language.

Broaddus knew how important ease of enforcement is for any law.

“We set aside one day a week to go through the policy line by line, word by word, with CHP representatives. We met for months until we all agreed on concise interpretation and enforcement of the policy,” he said.

Through combined efforts, the “BIT Kit” was born.

“It’s a cheat sheet, if you will, with uniform interpretation of policy and expectations of (law enforcement officers) regarding the program. No one should be frustrated by arbitrary enforcement,” Broaddus said.

More recently, Broaddus attended the FMCSA listening session on Oct. 10 in Washington, D.C., regarding hours of service. He prefaced his comment with an impressive background in transportation that began in 1974, when he apprenticed as a diesel mechanic. He described himself as a “semi-retired owner-operator and member of OOIDA.”

Broaddus touched on the hours of service being implemented in the 1930s.

“They were great, all the way up to 2003, because they were based on common sense,” he said.

He went on to tell FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez and staff that when the split-clock option was lost, safety began to decline in the industry.

“Try traveling through Washington, D.C., in the morning or the afternoon, and making your destination on time, when you know you’re going to lose time to traffic and backups on the Beltway,” Broaddus said. “We used to have the benefit of being able to stop and avoid traffic or rush hour if we needed.”

Many years of experience in varied sectors of transportation and highway safety give Broaddus a unique insight on advocacy. He believes education is critical to more than safety – it should be a never-ending process.

“I find the more I learn about the business end of trucking the more I realize how important it is to speak up, especially when asked by the FMCSA to do so,” he said. “If you don’t speak out, you’ll never change anything. Professional associations rely on members to do their part, and I want to do my part.” 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.