Ever vigilant in the new year

By Todd Spencer, OOIDA Executive Vice President

It’s a new day in America with a new president soon to take the oath of office and a mostly unchanged GOP-controlled Congress.

Change means new opportunities are possible. We recognize the prospect of inroads with the Trump camp to discuss a review of many of the new regulations already implemented and those still in the works.

We also believe the new administration needs to hear more on the downside of privatizing our roads and bridges. Fortunately, perhaps, newly elected Vice President Mike Pence has valuable experience, given what happened with the Indiana Toll Road.

We wrap up 2016 with Congress now back in session for the lame-duck session and scheduled to run through Dec. 16. While there is much they need to do before adjourning, those things still up in the air for OOIDA and its members are the 34-hour restart, piece rate pay and the mandate for speed limiters.

And as we roll into December, for OOIDA the battle to overturn FMCSA’s mandate for electronic logging devices is not over at this point. We are requesting that the 7th Circuit Court reconsider its decision on ELDs.

On another front, we have filed a petition to review in the 8th Circuit challenging the medical certification integration rule that, in essence, incorporates what the FMCSA calls medical guidelines (particularly sleep apnea) into federal regulations – which makes them not guidelines but law. And they did this without following the required rulemaking process and any kind of thorough analysis that this action requires.

On the emissions front, OOIDA does plan to engage the Trump administration on Phase 2 tractor-trailer emissions regulations in hopes of having the regulations re-evaluated and expanding the 10-year implementation period. This is one of the topics you’ll be reading about in 2017 issues of Land Line.

Importantly, we have to be ever vigilant. While a new administration presents opportunities, not many of the old issues go away. Economic interests drive virtually everything that happens in our nation’s capital. And most of the frustration we are dealing with right now stems from that. The numbers show that small-business and professional truckers dominate trucking. Let’s turn those numbers into political clout. The cost of being represented is tiny compared with the cost of being misrepresented.