OOIDA selected for CARB trucking panel

| 8/27/2009

Say ‘CARB’ to truckers, and one is likely to get an earful about the most stringent emission regulatory body in the country.

Although CARB has aggressively pursued several regulations that have proved expensive for many truckers, the agency also has responded to comments and information submitted by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.

An OOIDA representative was recently selected as a participant in a new advisory committee for CARB. Tom Weakley, director of operations for the OOIDA Foundation, was recently appointed to CARB’s Truck Regulatory Advisory Committee, or TRAC.

CARB formed TRAC this summer, and will hold the committee’s first meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Weakley told Land Line that OOIDA jumped at the opportunity to participate in the advisory committee. Other participants include agricultural and transportation trade associations, major motor carriers, and companies such as Ace Hardware.

“This is extremely important. We want to make sure the small trucking concerns are represented,” Weakley said.

OOIDA has represented small-business truckers before CARB at board meetings and in informal discussions, both to provide information about trucking businesses and to make CARB aware of the expense truckers must pay to meet emissions rules.

“Whenever most agencies look at trucking, they think of the big carriers. They don’t understand the majority of carriers are small motor carriers, 20 trucks or less, or even six trucks or less,” Weakley said.

“Once they begin realizing that, there is an awareness that comes. Our presence in California and influence in other areas has let them know who OOIDA is, and that they need to listen and be aware of us.”

Weakley will serve on TRAC’s subcommittees on greenhouse gases and on outreach.

Weakley said OOIDA’s magazine, satellite radio and Web presence can help CARB get its message to truck drivers. Additionally, owner-operators need to be involved with conversations on emissions rules, he said.

“Most owner-operators are going to drive older vehicles. They may drive them for seven years or so, and those are the vehicles EPA and CARB are concerned about,” Weakley said. “They produce more pollutants. These agencies want to reach that audience, and we offer the perfect venue for that. We want to be represented because those are our members who are affected, and CARB needs to understand how those rules will impact owner-operators.”

– By Charlie Morasch, staff writer