The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers opposes a highway bill proposed June 5 by U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, despite $1 billion provision for truck parking. The OOIDA’s opposition stems from the bill’s proposed 266 percent increase in required liability limits.
The bill features other provisions OOIDA opposes, including required screening for sleep apnea, restrictive limits on personal conveyance, the return of CSA scores to public view, new authority for congestion pricing, an automatic emergency braking mandate and a potential side underride guard mandate.
According to OOIDA, the bill includes an “unnecessary increase in minimum liability insurance for motor carriers,” which the OOIDA labeled a “poison pill.”
The association was “pleasantly surprised” the bill included $1 billion to address the serious shortage of truck parking. Nonetheless, OOIDA said it will aggressively oppose the INVEST in America Act until the insurance increase to $2 million from $750,000 and several other anti-trucker provisions are removed.
The OOIDA considers the proposed $1 billion investment in truck parking projects a “major victory.”
For years, the OOIDA has pushed “the federal government to take the lead in addressing the number one concern for truckers—the lack of truck parking,” Spencer explained. “We’re pleased Chairman DeFazio’s proposal includes $1 billion to expand capacity. We just wish he would have left the other junk out of it.”
Beyond the truck parking investment, the bill includes other policies that OOIDA sees as positive, including increased funding for highway construction, efforts to combat both excessive detention time and predatory lease-to-own schemes. However, in OOIDA’s view, the insurance increase overshadows the beneficial features of the bill.
“Increasing minimum insurance requirements from $750,000 to $2 million on the heels of a major economic disruption will be nothing short of disastrous for many small motor carriers and owner-operators,” Spencer said. “If the economic impact of Covid-19 didn’t destroy their businesses, Congress will by enacting this catastrophic policy.”
Established in 1973, the OOIDA currently has more than 150,000 members nationwide.