Truckers With Deep Pockets –
Lobbying within the transportation industry
By Jeff Burns -
The trucking industry spends millions of dollars each year to influence our government.
Unfortunately, road safety and precautionary regulations often mean red tape and low profits for trucking companies. So these companies group together and donate large sums of money to influence these regulations and make sure the gavel falls their way.
Where’s the cash coming from?
Some companies and corporations donate to political causes under their own names, but contributions are often made through associations or other third-party organizations. These are the top five political contributors on behalf of the trucking industry from 2015-2016 (Center for Responsive Politics):
- American Trucking Associations: $667,950
- Prime Inc. (trucking company): $385,763
- Pilot Freight Services: $347,856
- Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association: $261,250
- Werner Enterprises (trucking company): $260,496
Who’s getting paid to play?
With more than a dozen similar organizations contributing funds in 2015 and 2016, the trucking industry paid more than $17 million to sway legislation in their favor. You may wonder who is on the receiving end of all this money. Here are the top recipients of transportation industry lobbying funds from 2015-2016 (Center for Responsive Politics):
- Donald Trump: $256,909
- Senator Ted Cruz: $192,374
- Hillary Clinton: $125,787
- Congressman Jeff Denham: $122,050
- Congressman Bill Shuster: $105,250
What’s that money really for?
With huge sums of money going from private interest groups into the hands of our legislators, it’s important to know what strings are attached. While the recipients of campaign donations aren’t technically allowed to take these funds into consideration during governance, trucking industry contributors ask them for support on a number of issues that are currently under review:
- Safety initiatives (side guards, inspection requirements, etc.)
- Public vs. private funding for roads
- Regulatory process for new legislation
- Electronic logging devices (regulate drive time and paperwork)
- Greenhouse gas emission standards
- Automated speed limiters
- Trailer length regulation
- Meal and rest break legislation
- Hours of service regulation
- Driver vetting and testing
- Self-driving trucks
It is important for everyone to track the development of these disputed topics, in order to have a louder voice in our own safety. More information about campaign contributions from the trucking industry can be found through the Center for Responsive Politics.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck crash, seek legal consultation before discussing details or negotiating a settlement with an insurance organization.