ORLANDO, Fla. — Truck dealers must be more proactive in engaging their elected officials and educating them on the industry, Dick Witcher, chairman of the American Truck Dealers (ATD), implored during his remarks at the ATD Convention and Expo this weekend.
“Truck dealers need to commit to the task of educating and informing people, most importantly our elected officials, of who we are and what our purpose is,” Witcher said. “They need to have a deeper understanding of our business and the economic engine it is.”
Witcher, who is CEO of Minuteman Trucks in Walpole, Mass., said the industry has suffered as a result of misguided legislation that had a harmful impact on business.
“Those who legislate need to understand the commercial trucking business before they can regulate it,” Witcher said. “Far too many good intentions have essentially backfired and hurt those that the regulation was originally designed to help.”
He spoke specifically of EPA emissions standards, which added $10,000-$25,000 to the cost of a new Class 8 truck. As a result, truck owners held onto their trucks longer, resulting in decreased sales and a slower penetration of the clean engine technology.
“The intent of the regulation was to help make their air cleaner but in many ways the exact opposite happened as owners couldn’t afford to buy the newer, safer and cleaner trucks,” Witcher said.