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Iowa trucking association leader: Industry faces challenges and opportunities during the pandemic

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Iowa trucking association leader: Industry faces challenges and opportunities during the pandemic


Truckers are doing their best to react to ongoing supply chain issues, Iowa Motor Truck Association President and CEO Brenda Neville told The Center Square in an emailed statement Thursday.

“Every day, every trucking operation has to make adjustments due to any number of factors and trucking continues to be committed to delivering the products that we all depend on in a safe and professional manner,” Neville said. “The dedication of the industry is apparent every time you go into a grocery store and see full shelves.”

Workforce challenges don’t help.

“Like every other segment [of the supply chain] out there, the workforce issues continue to be a concern,” Neville said. “We have been dealing with driver shortages for many years and that continues to be an issue for many trucking companies. Every trucking operation in the State of Iowa is looking for drivers – these are good paying jobs, with excellent benefits offering a variety of driving schedules. We will continue to focus on attracting good people to our great industry.”

Neville said strategies trucking companies are using include providing new equipment offering “great starting salary” with flexible schedules that allow drivers to have more time with their families.

“Great starting salary with flexible schedules that allow for more home time, new equipment and attractive benefit packages are still the most effective recruiting tools,” Neville said.

She added that trucking is doing more marketing to attract women and minority groups to the industry.

In the next legislative session, the association will be renewing its focus on tort reform legislation, Neville said. The bill it seeks to pass did not make it to the floor in either chamber in the spring 2021 session.

“Our industry is simply trying to restore fairness with this legislative initiative,” she said. “When a commercial vehicle acts wrongfully and causes a crash or injury, it should be held accountable and those injured should be fairly compensated. But unfair litigation tactics are destabilizing the tort system and transforming commercial vehicle accident lawsuits into a profit center for plaintiff lawyers.”

The Iowa Department of Transportation announced Wednesday the availability of online license renewal for most commercial drivers. HF280 , which legislators passed this past spring, made that possible.

Neville said the association was pleased the option of online renewals for CDL is now available but has not received direct feedback on the impact it has had on the industry.

Iowa DOT Motor Vehicle Division Product Integration Coordinator Kayla Burkett said in a news release that the renewal process takes a few minutes. Drivers who self-certify as non-excepted interstate drivers must have a valid medical certificate on file with the department. These drivers do not work for government or for certain agricultural purposes, and they drive a truck in which they or their cargo crosses state lines.

“Properly and safely licensing commercial drivers no longer means that every driver needs to take time off the road just to renew,” Burkett said in the release. “The ability to renew a commercial driver’s license online is a great step forward.”

Drivers can log on at iowadot.gov/onlinerenewal , click “Commercial Driver’s License,” review eligibility requirements and then input their license number, credit card, identification information, and vision status.

Drivers who are endorsed to transport hazardous materials or who solely have their learner’s permit are not able to renew their license online. Other restrictions and eligibility requirements are included in the department’s release.





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