OOIDA’s Pugh to shed light on trucking’s dysfunctions at hearing

February 3, 2020

Mark Schremmer


As part of a Senate hearing on trucking in the United States, OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh plans to shed light on some of the industry’s dysfunctions and to provide suggestions on what can be done to make trucking safer and more efficient.

Pugh is scheduled to serve as one of five witnesses at the Senate’s Transportation and Safety Subcommittee hearing at 10 a.m. Eastern on Tuesday, Feb. 4, in Washington, D.C. The hearing, titled “Keep on Truckin’: Stakeholder Perspectives on Trucking in America,” will examine the state of the trucking industry, truck safety issues, and the current regulatory environment.

“OOIDA’s testimony will focus on the current dysfunction apparent within the trucking industry and what policies Congress should enact and reject to improve conditions for small-business truckers and owner-operators,” the Association wrote in a Call to Action to its members on Feb. 3.

The hearing’s witnesses will be:

  • Dawn King, Truck Safety Coalition president
  • Jake Parnell, manager of Cattleman’s Livestock Market and director of Livestock Marketing Association.
  • Lewie Pugh, OOIDA executive vice president
  • Sgt. John Samis, of the Delaware State Police and president of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Association
  • Chris Spear, ATA president

A webcast of the hearing can be found here.

Pugh, who has more than 20 years of experience as an owner-operator, began his career in trucking as a motor transport operator for the U.S. Army Reserve in 1992. After leaving the military, he entered the trucking industry as a company driver before making the leap to owner-operator in 1996. He joined OOIDA that same year and was elected to the OOIDA Board of Directors in 2004. In 2018, Pugh was elected as OOIDA’s executive vice president.

Spencer testified at House hearing

This will be the second time in recent months that OOIDA has testified at a federal hearing regarding the state of trucking. This past June, OOIDA President Todd Spencer testified at a U.S. House of Representatives Highway and Transit Subcommittee hearing.

At the hearing, Spencer told Congress that it needs to recognize the vital role of truck drivers in order to fix a broken trucking industry.

“Unfortunately, trucking has been fundamentally broken for years, and conditions show little sign of improving,” Spencer said.

“Until Congress understands the most important component in trucking is the driver, very little will change. The next steps you must take are clear – help make trucking an appealing, safe and sustainable career.”

Spencer used his time during the three-hour hearing to discuss such issues as driver pay, detention time, “burdensome” regulations, and driver retention.

“The reasons drivers stay is because of pay, benefits and working conditions,” Spencer said. “The reasons they leave are for the lack thereof.

“When someone is considering a career, do they take one that works 40-45 hours a week and you’re home or one that’s 80 hours or more with you being away from home and you don’t make any more money? I don’t think that’s a real tough decision … We have to address the economic issues for drivers, how they are paid and the quirks that allow them to work unlimited hours without any kind of overtime compensation.”

Spencer’s complete written testimony can be found here.