GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. – Jim Johnston, president and CEO of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), has passed away after a battle with lung cancer.
Johnston led the U.S.-based OOIDA since 1974.
“The trucking industry has lost a visionary and crusader for the rights of all truckers,” said Todd Spencer, who will now serve as acting president of OOIDA. “He leaves behind a legacy of passion and persistence that we will undoubtedly look to as our inspiration going forward as we continue the mission of the Association.”
Johnston was influential in building OOIDA into the force it is today, as the largest national organization of professional truckers.
“We are prepared to continue the fight as only Jim would want us all to do,” said Spencer. “He loved every minute he spent as a trucker, but when circumstances required it in the ’70s he stepped down from behind the wheel to give a badly needed voice to truckers, the real truckers that move America. Every driver today is better off because of that decision he made years ago.”
The American Trucking Associations, whose views OOIDA and Johnston often opposed, also issued its condolences.
“We are saddened by the news of Jim’s passing,” said ATA president and CEO Chris Spear. “One of the first meetings I had in this role was with Jim and his team. He was a passionate leader for drivers and the industry, advocating issues that helped build this great nation. Jim never strayed from who he was and who he represented – truckers. Jim was a warrior, and he will be missed.”