By Laura O’Neill-Kaumo, OOIDA Director of Government Affairs | Friday, September 16, 2016
Voters are motivated by a variety of factors. Religion, economics and social agendas typically top the list of primary considerations that individuals bring into the voting booths before casting their ballot.
Politics is personal, for certain, but what that means exactly is a matter of interpretation. How personal is the bottom line of your business? How personal is the future of the trucking industry? Do you take policies that affect your safety on the open road personally?
Trucking is an industry that is directly affected by the daily activities of Capitol Hill. Truckers, particularly the owner-operators, do not have the luxury of being indifferent to lawmakers because of the effect laws have on their livelihood, safety and future. And for that reason, the politics of trucking should be highly personal.
Truckers should be voting, and voting regularly, because if you aren’t standing up for your future, then no one is. Your vote matters to this industry.
You have the right to cast a vote in whatever direction motivates you – but how often have you considered the way lawmakers on Capitol Hill have voted on trucking issues before you vote? Do you know how your member of the House of Representatives feels about raising the minimum financial responsibility requirements on truckers? There is currently a bill in the House that would raise your insurance requirements to over $4 million. Have you talked to your lawmaker about this?
How about speed limiters? All credible highway research indicates that highways are safest when all vehicles are traveling at the same rate of speed. In addition, Congress decades ago gave states the right to determine speed limits based on their own criteria. This is why it makes sense to have an 80 mile-per-hour speed limit in one area and a 55 in another.
Yet the Senate slipped language into a spending bill that supports a speed-limiter mandate. Does your lawmaker understand the implications this could have on safety?
Is your lawmaker talking a big game about supporting small businesses and fewer government intrusions into your daily lives? Great! Where has he or she been on electronic logging devices or such nonsensical mandates like excessive treatments for sleep apnea. These types of provisions have no correlation to crash reduction or highway safety, but they do have a big impact on a trucker’s bottom line.
Trucking is personal. Voting is personal. Make your vote count.