Like anyone else, truckers have their own, individual opinions and can certainly speak up for themselves. But when it comes to getting significant changes made that affect their rights, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has ensured a strident, unified and collective voice since 1973.
Having grown from just a handful of truckers 44 years ago, the Association steadily sustains a robust membership. In 2017, we begin with 158,712 active members. As far as membership, Texas is number one with 17,313, followed by Florida with 9,927 and Georgia with 8,736.
On Capitol Hill and at statehouses all over the nation, the Association continues to represent members in a number of ways on critical trucking issues. OOIDA’s national headquarters in Grain Valley, Mo., has 333 employees. The Association also maintains a fully staffed permanent office in Washington, D.C., for our government affairs people and for our director of security operations.
In 2016, OOIDA filed 29 official comments on rulemakings and info requests in the works at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and an alphabet soup of other agencies. For example, AASHTO, NHTSA, NIOSH, EPA and FHWA. That’s a statement of position every other week.
And I think it’s safe to say we had an active year of members filing comments, especially on speed limiters and sleep apnea. We also had a Call to Action for Canadian members on electronic logging devices and got a great response.
On the state level, we’ve been actively involved in 16 unique issues in 24 states. This includes truck parking, towing reform, CDL training, tolling opposition and much more.
During 2016, OOIDA attorneys were working on eight significant legal actions, including some major class-action victories and some ongoing game-changing lawsuits. Last year, we reached a $44.4 million tax refund agreement with New York state a case regarding charges of discrimination against out-of-state truckers. Notices are now in the mail regarding refunds.
Communication is a huge and critical part of what OOIDA does, too. OOIDA publishes Land Line Magazine, mailed to an audited 215,632 subscribers. It also maintains a correlating website, LandLineMag.com and its blog, Tandem Thoughts. The Association’s home website is OOIDA.com. Sirius XM’s Open Road Channel 146 airs the Association’s daily radio program – Land Line Now. The show has its own website at LandLineNow.com.
In addition to that, if social media is your thing – we are all over it. Our average daily reach on Facebook is 122,000, so it seems like a “thing” for more than a few of you.
We also interact with you via OOIDA’s tour truck, piloted by Senior Member Jon Osburn. The Spirit of the American Trucker tractor-trailer was on the road last year for 289 days. Jon visited with thousands of drivers as he attended 12 events and stopped at 66 truck stops in 38 states.
Your participation and constant feedback enables us to pursue our mission of communicating your concerns and protecting your business interests. It also helps us keep you up to date on all the issues and changes that affect you. The keyword for 2017 is participation. In the February issue is OOIDA’s annual grassroots guide – everything you need to know to make your voice heard. Together we can and will shape the future.
Sandi Soendker, editor-in-chief, brings more than 33 years of front-line journalism and publishing know-how to Land Line. She has covered the trucking industry since 1987. In 2013, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Truck Writers of North America.