One On One With OOIDA’s Lewie Pugh

Steve Pollock
May 2024

LOUISVILLE, KY… During the recent Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky, I had the opportunity to sit down for a one on one  interview with Lewie Pugh, Executive Vice President of OOIDA.  During the interview we discussed some of the current issues affecting the trucking industry.

Movin’ Out: “What are some of the most pressing issues affecting the trucking industry that OOIDA is presently working on?

Pugh: “Speed Limiters, Broker Transparency, Truck Parking, Driver Pay and Detentions, and one more – OOIDA is working on restroom access at shippers.”

Movin’ Out: “What can our government do to improve safety and productivity?

Pugh: “They can start by listening to the men and women who drive trucks and know what they are talking about.  Especially when it comes to the issues that affect them.  Until the FMCSA gets real about safety, nothing is going to change.”

Movin’ Out: “What do you think about the FMCSA’s pilot program to recruit underage drivers into the industry?”

Pugh: “Pugh: “We don’t agree with it.  The cost is too high per driver for the taxpayer.  While some of these young men and women are capable drivers, finding them and vetting them is time consuming and expensive.

My opinion is we need to modernize the interstate and intrastate regulations for under 21 year olds.  How does it make sense to allow younger drivers to operate only intrastate when they live in a state like Texas, Iowa, or Pennsylvania, but if they are near the border, they can’t cross state lines! It would be better to regulate them to run locally or within a given radius until they gain some driving experience.  Also, veteran drivers should step up and help mentor entry level drivers, which will help everyone sharing the road instead of placing so-called “driver trainers” with new drivers as many large carriers do.  Which, if fact, is nothing more that team driving.  Driver trainers need to be in the passenger seat with their trainee at all times.  I think entry level drivers need more training and maybe an apprenticeship program.”

 Movin’ Out: “What are the worst things going on in the trucking industry?”

Pugh: “Speed limiters, broker and carrier fraud, including fraudulent practices in lease purchase programs that victimize drivers like Shelley Vandenburg.”

“Shelley Vandenburg was the victim of a lease purchase fraud.  She and her husband want to warn drivers “that some lease purchase companies are nothing more than professional embezzlers that have years of experience taking advantage of drivers.  When they control your paychecks, loads, even where you get the truck repairs done – Beware! Have a reputable organization like OOIDA check the lease purchase agreement before you sign on the dotted line. Also attend OOIDA’s Truck For Success Course.”

Movin’ Out: “What is your opinion of the driver shortage?”

Pugh: “The so-called ‘driver shortage’ was created by the big fleets.  Many of which have annual turnover rates of 90%+. They are churning over entry level drivers, some of whom leave the trucking industry after a short time.  They do this to keep wages artificially low.  If they would simply pay these men and women what they are worth, and not run them to death, they wouldn’t be leaving the industry.  With 400-500,000 CDLs issued each year, there shouldn’t be a driver shortage. As a consequence, many drivers don’t drive long enough to gain the experience to operate the truck safely.”

Movin’ Out: “What are the best things going on in the trucking industry?”

Pugh: “The good hard-working men and women who drive trucks and move our nation.  They are true patriots, always there when America needs them  in good weather and bad, day or night, even during the Pandemic.”

Movin’ Out: “Thanks so much, Lewie for taking time out of your very busy schedule here at MATS to sit down and talk with me.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA) is a national organization standing up for the rights of Professional Truck Drivers.  They are the owner-operators voice in Washington but stand up for the rights of ALL Professional Truck Drivers.  To learn more about OOIDA, call 800-444-5791 or visit their website at