Stephen Saunders, 63, South Salem, N.Y.
Life member Stephen Saunders joined OOIDA in 2004 because he wanted to have a voice as a small business trucker and wanted to better keep up with changes in the trucking industry. He received his Class A license when he was 18 and has been involved in the industry for more than 40 years. Stephen currently pulls a reefer as an owner-operator with his own authority.
Stephen believes he has much to bring to the board through his knowledge and experience. He is involved in politics on a local, state and federal level and considers himself a grassroots lobbyist. He calls, writes and meets with his elected officials locally; he also travels to state and federal offices for meetings. When attending “town hall” events or face-to-face appointments, Stephen feels you should respectfully question and challenge voting records but always try to find some common ground to help build a relationship with that official.
According to Stephen, new drivers face many challenges coming into the industry from the inflexibility of hours-of-service regulations to inadequate truck parking. As a reefer operator, he also sees a huge problem with uncompensated time for drivers spent at loading and unloading facilities. The ELD mandate, however, could work to the favor of drivers with regard to unpaid time. The ELD mandate has served to highlight the inflexibility in the hours-of-service rules, which is directly impacting shippers. As such, Stephen is now receiving a higher rate of detention pay per hour, which he attributes directly to ELDs.
Further, Stephen thinks ELDs could lead to opportunities for drivers to be paid by the hour and be included in the Fair Labors Standards Act (FLSA). Because the ELD gives an accurate reporting of time worked and location, there is no longer a justification for the exemption. Stephen supports OOIDA’s push to make this change.
To be successful in the industry, Stephen believes you must have a passion for driving. If you have the passion and are doing what you love, it will never be just a job. But, drivers will always need OOIDA to be truly successful. One guy in a truck doesn’t have much traction, but collectively the members of OOIDA will have the numbers to effect change.
Stephen is a former police officer and an active member of the NRA. When not driving, he enjoys street rods, distance bike riding and being an active member of his church.