By David Tanner, associate editor
James Zuber has sacrificed a lot in recent years to keep food on his family’s table. The long-haul trucker from Newton, IL, says the thin margin of profit he manages to build into his business is constantly threatened by increasing costs and an ever-expanding regulatory burden.
“There are sacrifices we have had to make,” Zuber says. “We had to cut back, had to drop health insurance for a while, and I’ve had to work on my own truck at home, in the driveway, to cut down on expense bills. That takes away from my family.”
Zuber testified on behalf of himself and OOIDA about the effects of regulations and fuel prices on trucking during a field hearing June 25 by the U.S. House Small Business Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access, chaired by Rep. Joe Walsh, R-IL.
Zuber is a 25-year trucking veteran who started in the industry hauling fiberglass tanks and jacks to oil fields. He now runs Midwest routes for Sherwin-Williams.
He says he is bothered by the “one size fits all” net that policymakers and regulators cast over his profession.
“We don’t need mandates for on-board recorders or stability systems and people telling us how to run our trucks and how to run our businesses,” Zuber said.
“This is not just about fuel prices,” he said. “Yes, it bothers me. But I pay full price for a set of tires. ... Big carriers get discounts for buying a truckload of tires at a time, and they get discounts on insurance and tolls.”
Rather than electronic on-board recorders and stability control systems, Zuber suggests that regulators invest in entry-level training programs for drivers.
Zuber doesn’t just talk the talk; he also walks the walk. In recent years, he’s spoken to 37 high schools about students learning to drive around heavy trucks. Even if the schools don’t take on his idea to start a program, he works hard to educate people about the importance of trucking in society.
“We need to be socially responsible,” he says. LL