The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association showed its opposition for a Senate bill that would impose a lifetime ban on truck drivers who use a commercial vehicle to commit a felony involving human trafficking.
While opposed to human trafficking, OOIDA said on Thursday, July 13, that it is against the bill because it unfairly singles out truckers.
“We are exasperated that at a hearing where truckers were applauded for their critical role in combating human trafficking that any lawmaker would single out that same profession to remove their livelihood for a crime that happens everywhere,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. “Truckers are on the front lines of defense in the battle against horrendous, global crime by way of identifying, reporting and ultimately preventing it.”
OOIDA expressed concern about the possible precedent this bill creates as it relates to CDL penalties and also said the bill is redundant because of existing criminal penalties for those convicted of human trafficking.
On July 12, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., introduced the No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act.
The bill, S1532, would disqualify individuals from receiving a commercial driver’s license for their lifetime if they used a commercial motor vehicle to commit a felony involving human trafficking.
“Human trafficking must be fought on many fronts,” said Thune, the chairman of the Commerce Committee. “Our legislation is a starting point for prevention and enforcement against the use of a commercial driver’s license in human trafficking.”
Truckers Against Trafficking issued a statement on Thursday, July 13, saying that the organization didn’t endorse the bill.
“We are fully aware that trucking is one of the most over-regulated industries, and that you cannot legislate the mind and heart,” Truckers Against Trafficking wrote. “We also recognize that both sides of the aisle are coming together around this issue and therefore it is imperative that we try and work with them to form the legislation being proposed so that it does take into consideration the needs and concerns of the industry.
“To date, the only federal bill we have given our support to is Amy Klobuchar’s bill, S1536, which would designate a human trafficking prevention coordinator at the U.S. Department of Transportation, increase outreach, education and reporting efforts at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and provide CDL schools who are implementing anti-trafficking education additional financial assistance. This bill only incentivizes training at the federal level. It does not mandate it.”
Truckers Against Trafficking’s entire statement regarding recent legislative activities can be found here.
OOIDA is a supporter of Truckers Against Trafficking.