By David Tanner
There is no better way for someone to learn about trucking and the concerns of drivers than to experience them firsthand from the jumpseat of a tractor-trailer. That’s precisely what U.S. Rep. Pete Olson, R-TX, did during a late July visit to the Houston area.
Olson accepted an invitation to ride along with Clark Freight Lines, which is based in Pasadena, TX.
“I appreciate the opportunity I had recently to ride along with the folks at Clark Freight Lines and to hear directly from them their concerns,” Olson told Land Line.
As the House and Senate continue to do battle over transportation funding, Olson said it’s crucial to make a commitment to highway infrastructure.
“The trucking industry relies on access to dependable highways and infrastructure,” he said. “We must make the appropriate investments in our transportation infrastructure to ensure that this industry can continue to bring goods to the marketplace in a timely manner.”
Clark Freight Lines Operations Manager Danny Schnautz and Safety Director Jeff Tippit played host for the ride-along. Both are OOIDA members.
“I have offered legislators truck rides for years to help make them aware of the problems that truckers face, from regulatory issues to short radius intersections to bad drivers on the road,” Schnautz told Land Line.
“In addition, I know that once legislators see the operator of a big rig as a person, laws being passed may have more consideration for the human factor of trucking.”
They were grateful for the congressman’s time during an otherwise hectic year on Capitol Hill.
“Rep. Olson is the first to take me up on my offer,” said Schnautz. “I have seen stories detailing other legislators’ truck rides and I believe that when we get together in the cab of a truck, it is a win-win for the future of our industry, and for the future of America.” LL