Navigating the next highway reauthorization bill

May 5, 2021

SJ Munoz


In an April letter sent to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, OOIDA outlined its priorities as part of the next highway reauthorization bill.

A number of those priorities were further explained as OOIDA President Todd Spencer and OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh joined host Mike Matousek on the May 5 “Live From Exit 24.”

Listen to ‘Live From Exit 24’

OOIDA’s positions on many of the potential issues that could end up in the next highway bill can be found here. Spencer and Pugh also provided some of their input on many of the issues during their appearance on “Live From Exit 24.”

Insurance requirements

“Proponents of increasing the number say it hasn’t been increased in 38 years, but it’s been appropriate for that long,” Spencer said. “In most instances, most drivers go above the $750,000 required. To significantly increase that amount now would likely create a lot of economic uncertainty, which we think would result in significantly higher costs. FMCSA did study this issue, and what they found is the current minimum is more than adequate to cover the overwhelming majority of all crashes that take place between trucks and other people.”

 Parking for commercial motor vehicles

“We’ve been fighting for parking ever since I’ve been here, for 17 years,” Pugh said. “Parking is a premium, especially in any major metropolitan area. It’s a fact they can make more money with a store, shopping mall or business than with truck parking. We’re looking forward to hopefully moving this through the infrastructure bill.”

Tolling and congestion pricing

“Not a good idea,” Spencer said. “Our transportation system was created based on dedicated user fees. I don’t think you’d find many truckers who think they get a good deal out of toll roads. The prices are only going to go up. It’s not something we can be silent on.”

“A lot of times you don’t have a choice when you can pick up or deliver goods,” Pugh said. “You can’t put your products on public transportation or carpool your products.”

Automatic emergency braking

“A lot of flaws here,” Pugh said. “Anyone would embrace technology if it really helped and was going to make you safer. There’s a lot of questions with this. What about ice or snow? We’re trying to get technology out there to take away from the real issue of safety, and that’s training of the driver.”

Underride protection

“People have the best intentions, but we’re not looking at the unintended consequences,” Pugh said. “First of all, we don’t even know how many accidents this will stop because we don’t even know how many side-impact accidents there are. This law is way too intrusive. There’s a lot of stuff they don’t understand in the trucking industry, and how diverse it is.”

Compliance, Safety Accountability

“CSA was a program that was to be used as a measure of safety, and it’s simply never done that,” Spencer said. “The connection between the data collected and who crashes has never been there. So, it can’t be a measurement tool to improve safety. There’s no useful purpose for it. If the information isn’t helpful, it shouldn’t be broadcast to the public.”

OOIDA talk show

“Live From Exit 24” is scheduled for 11 a.m. Central every other Wednesday. Listeners can tune in to the show on the Live From Exit 24 website, OOIDA Facebook page or on OOIDA’s YouTube channel. The next episode airs Wednesday, May 19.

‘Live From Exit 24’ survey

“Live From Exit 24” launched as a way to expand OOIDA’s communication with members and to hear directly from drivers across the industry. OOIDA is asking for truck drivers to fill out a survey to let the Association know how you are liking the show so far. Help guide what’s addressed during the program. The survey is here. LL