OOIDA’s D.C. office: small staff, big job

By Steve Bixler, OOIDA Life Member

I know we have all heard the phrase: “What does OOIDA do for me?”

In addition to providing support and services to every member, OOIDA also has a team in Washington, D.C. Our Washington staff continues to prove why they are there – not only to keep Washington aware of us, but also to keep us aware of them. Through the staff’s hard work and diligence, we get the jump on what is being voted on.

We need to push not only each other, but all of our 150,000 members to make our collective voices heard by those that make the rules.

Just take the insurance issue. In case you haven’t heard, U.S. Rep. Matthew Cartwright, D-Penn., has introduced a bill to up the truck insurance minimum requirements from $750,000 to $4.42 million. Yes, I said “million.” Cartwright is a member of Congress from my home state.

This is obviously being pushed by people who expect to profit from it. I recently read an article stating that less than 1 percent of all truck accidents reach the $1 million mark in damages. So why do we need $4 million in coverage? So the lawyers can ask for more in settlements. For the victims? I think not. For themselves? Absolutely.

The Trucking Alliance – which is managed by Arkansas Trucking Association’s Lane Kidd and made up of large carriers like J.B. Hunt, Knight, Schneider and others – are supporting this bill. Why? Because they are mostly self-insured, so this costs them nothing, while small carriers will be hit in the wallet once more. Enough hits and we will go under, leaving them to monopolize the market. Watch the rates go up then.

Obviously, we need to vigorously fight this one. This is just one of many new proposals being talked about. With the help of the D.C. staff, we will be notified in time to fight them before they get voted on.

Ryan and Ben, keep up the good work in Washington. Everyone else, keep on trucking and keep on fighting. LL