Trucking associations can be valuable sources of support and information for owner-operators who want to be more politically involved or who need help with specific problems.
“We tell our members what the issue is, what the politics are and what their letter should say,” says Todd Spencer, executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. OOIDA represents members by filing lawsuits, lobbying for legislation and participating in meetings and forums.
While OOIDA is the primary owner-operator trade association, there are also trucking associations in every state, which are members of American Trucking Associations, the nation’s largest trucking trade group. The state associations’ main interests are those of fleets. Still, these groups are open to owner-operator membership, and owner-operators with their own authority might find benefits from being associated with much larger carriers who share some of the same concerns.
“Whether it’s a state trucking association or an association for owner-operators, it is important that drivers or owner-operators are involved in the process,” says Tom Whitaker, executive director of the Kansas Motor Carriers Association. “It’s like the old adage that there is strength in numbers, and one voice speaking for a lot of people in an industry can have a big impact.”
Membership rates vary from state to state, but they are often a fraction of what major carriers pay to join. In Texas, for example, owner-operators pay $65 per year if they are contracted to a Texas Motor Transportation Association Member and $95 annually if not. The Montana Motor Carriers Association charges owner-operators with one truck $170 a year; South Carolina charges $75.
Whitaker says his organization sends information bulletins to its 1,400 members, telling them about pending legislation and calling on them to act when necessary.
“In order for our message to have the strength that it needs, that legislator or that official needs to hear from the people who vote for them,” he says.
Derek Brown, communications director of the 650-member Alabama Trucking Association, believes members who contacted their representatives had a strong impact this year. Every piece of legislation wanted by the association passed; everything it opposed was defeated.
Many of the 1,500 different pieces of legislation that are proposed to the Kansas Legislature each year would affect truck drivers, owners and companies in some way, Whitaker says. “If you’re not involved, and you don’t stay informed, it can cost you not to know,” he says.
Trucking associations also help to strengthen the voice of truckers through political action committees. The PACs raise money from members, then make donations to elected officials and those running for office.
“We let lawmakers know that we want to help and that we have lots of substance and lots of votes,” Spencer says of OOIDA’s PAC.
Owner-operators who join state associations may also be eligible for group discount programs, including insurance, tires and telephone service.
STATE TRUCKING ASSOCIATIONS
Alabama Trucking Association
Alaska Trucking Association
Arizona Motor Transport Association
Arkansas Trucking Association
California Trucking Association
Colorado Motor Carriers Association
Motor Transport Association of Connecticut
Delaware Motor Transport Association
Florida Trucking Association
Georgia Motor Trucking Association
Hawaii Transportation Association
Idaho Motor Transport Association
Illinois Transportation Association
Indiana Motor Truck Association
Iowa Motor Truck Association
Kansas Trucking Association
Kentucky Motor Transport Association
Louisiana Motor Transport Association
Maine Motor Transport Association
Maryland Motor Truck Association
Massachusetts Motor Transportation Association
Michigan Trucking Association
Minnesota Trucking Association
Mississippi Trucking Association
Missouri Motor Carriers Association
Montana Motor Carriers Association
Nebraska Trucking Association
Nevada Motor Transport Association
New Hampshire Motor Transport Association
New Jersey Motor Truck Association
New Mexico Trucking Association
New York State Motor Truck Association
North Carolina Trucking Association
North Dakota Motor Carriers Association
Ohio Trucking Association
(614) 221-5375 or (888) 382-1574
Oklahoma Trucking Association
Oregon Trucking Associations
(503) 513-0005 or (888) 293-0005
Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association
Rhode Island Trucking Association
South Carolina Trucking Association
South Dakota Trucking Association
Tennessee Trucking Association
Texas Motor Transportation Association
Utah Motor Transport Association
Vermont Truck & Bus Association
Virginia Trucking Association
Washington Trucking Association
West Virginia Motor Truck Association
Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association
Wyoming Trucking Association