Now that the 2012 presidential election has come to an end, it is important to consider its impact on the American trucking industry. Most of the industry’s campaign contributions went to Romney. The Republican candidate campaigned at a truck repair shop in July. Nonetheless, some truckers remain supportive of Obama.
The Candidates and Issues
With regard to trucking issues, the Obama and Romney campaign platforms differ in some ways. The Obama administration supports greater restrictions on driving hours. It also seeks to list traffic tickets, warnings and accidents on truckers’ driving records, even when a court finds that the driver is not to blame.
Romney generally favored less regulation. He also called for improvements to the nation’s highways and bridges. He promised large spending cuts and changes to Social Security. Although it could reduce the cost of medical treatment for many truckers and other independent contractors, Romney sought to repeal Obama’s health care reform law.
The Obama and Romney platforms maintained a number of similarities as well. Both candidates claimed that they would cut the tax rates that affect most truckers. They called for additional production of oil, natural gas and nuclear energy. However, Obama was more supportive of biofuels and solar power.
The Election and Truckers
Many truckers have expressed dissatisfaction with Obama’s victory, but some drivers back the President. An Overdrive Magazine poll found that two out of three readers favored Romney. Some truck drivers support Obama because economic conditions have improved; others voice concern about strict regulations and high diesel prices.
To understand the election’s implications for truckers, it is helpful to look at the Obama administration’s record. The President signed a transportation bill in July that will affect truck drivers in various ways. It requires that truck owners install electronic recording devices. This is an attempt to prevent hours of service violations.
Although the recording devices remain unpopular with many truckers, the transportation bill also had more positive elements. It provided funds to expand safe parking areas for trucks, according to Overdrive Magazine. The bill also exempts farmers from hours of service limits when they travel regionally.
The President attempted to create tax incentives for companies with natural gas trucks, but the Senate defeated this bill. During the next four years, many truckers hope that the government will take action to reduce diesel prices and improve highways. Drivers also favor regulations that promote safety without creating unnecessary burdens.