Five Plus Challenge

Five Plus ChallengeAs truckers, we often talk all about what is wrong with the trucking world. What those stories hold might depend on what segment of the trucking world you are involved in. There are a few general topics that most of us can agree on (for the most part). What we agree on may also depend on your experience level. For instance, minimum training standards. Many just out of school seem to think they are well trained. Seasoned veterans say they shouldn’t be on the road yet.

Diversity is a double edged sword. Diversity is what makes our industry work to supply the transportation needs of a nation. It is how we all find the segment of transportation that suits us the best. Diversity is also what separates us. While some are tanker drivers, some are reefer drivers and some are ________( fill in the blank), we all have our own set of concerns.

When we talk about how to fix our problems, we talk first and most about our own problems. That is just human nature. That is also part of the problem. Sometimes we pit ourselves against each other. I heard a song tonight that had a line that said, “When you throw dirt at me, you’re just losing ground.” While we may act to the best of our own behalf, seldom do we act together to solve one problem then move to the next. Frankly, we generally just complain to each other and do very little more to solve any problems. I’ve heard more that once,” They’re going to do what ever they want.” Well, “They” make up a relatively small number of people. “They” just have the ear of the rule makers. We can change that.

There are over 3 million truck drivers in the United States. Granted some will never do anything more than drive a truck. But if we can show them an easy way to support the industry, some of these drivers may get involved to some degree. Involvement is out of the comfort zone of a lot of drivers, but doing something to make things better appeals to our basic nature. Being part of something larger than each of us individually. That is where the challenge comes in.

The only thing that will turn the course to a better direction is if we speak louder than the people currently directing our path. It really doesn’t matter the issue that is most important to you, just speak up! My challenge to you is to have conversations with others about our issues. Find five people that will contact their representative on your behalf. This could be anyone that you know. Relatives, friends, neighbors, anyone that could use you as a window into a world that needs help. Encourage drivers that are sitting on the sidelines to get involved. If we all get five people involved, that could be millions of calls to our representatives.

Part of the success of a plan of this sort is the ease by which someone could get involved. It is pretty simple. Choose what you see as a problem, then educate your listener as to why it is a problem. Let them know that they could be a big help in changing things for the better. After they have a fair understanding of the issue, that is when you show them how easy it is to help.

Each of us have 3 representatives to act on our behalf; two senators and one congressman. It is important that they all hear from you. It may be a little awkward at first, but it gets much easier as you go along. The first step is the hardest.

There are three basic ways to be heard:

  1. Call the whitehouse switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Give them your zip code and they can connect you with your representatives.  Call back to each of them until all three have heard from you. Each call gets easier.
  2. You can email each of them directly. Do a search for them on the internet and you can easily find a “contact” button. Write your message and send.
  3. Number three is probably the easiest of all! Simply go to . From there, you can either type in your message or use the pre-prepared statement to address a problem. This site will put you in touch with all three of your reps at one time. You might be surprised, but they will often get back to you thanking you for your input.

So….. The challenge is to find 5 people (plus yourself) every month to contact a representative. Address an issue that is important to you. It can be the same issue every month. It can be the same 5 every month. Just make the effort! As you find people that are receptive, pass the challenge on to them. You will find that in a short amount of time, YOU have made a difference. Don’t be a nay-sayer and give it a try. What have you got to lose? (Except maybe control of your future.) We can do this!

We are onboard with one of our member’s challenges to others in the trucking industry. It may have been inspired by the ice bucket phenomenon, but doesn’t involve you getting drenched.

Sandi Soendker, OOIDA’s Land Line editor-in-chief

5 thoughts on “Five Plus Challenge

  1. I like a good challenge especially when it can solve a problem whether it is Hiway Trust Fund or ELD’s or HOS. Adding one voice at a time to the ear of our representatives, before long the numbers alone will be given attention as diverse ideas center on fixing and making our industry a better place to work and thrive. Keep it going TE and pump it up. I always stress flexibility and one size does not fit all. If rule making considers the difference between large carriers and small business operators the systems of both would benefit in efficient safe transportation for the good of the economy.
    Next stop

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