Over the years it has vigorously fought to protect and defend the interests of the trucking industry both in the state and nationally.
One of those people who have fought for the trucking industry, LMTA’s Executive Director Cathy Gautreaux, spoke to the Crowley Rotarians at their weekly meeting Tuesday afternoon.
Gautreaux is a lobbyist for the trucking industry and has testified to Congress on behalf of the industry.
“I’m very proud of the people I represent,” she said. “I represent the good guys.”
For Gautreaux, one of the biggest challenges is dealing with a variety of types of trucks. There is no “cookie cutter” version of a truck, as she described, thus each type of truck has its own needs and issues to deal with.
In Louisiana, there are 103,127 trucking industry jobs, the average salary is $45,746.
Gautreaux pointed out the need for the trucking industry. For example, 77.4 percent of all manufactured goods are moved from one location to another by trucks, and 78 percent of all communities depend exclusively on trucks to get their goods.
But Gautreaux knows she has a public perception issue to face every time she talks to people about the trucking industry.
But over the years, things have changed within the industry. For starters, not just anyone can drive trucks now. Now there are tests and schooling associated with driving trucks and the hours are not ideal.
“I have so much respect for those drivers,” she said.
Perhaps the biggest perception issue is related directly or indirectly to their size. Whether its dealing with those trucks in traffic situations or seeing accidents involving the trucks, not all of which are the trucks fault as Gautreaux stated.
“We try to schedule around things like rush hour, but it’s not always preventable,” she said.
Gautreaux relayed a story from one of her senate testimonies where a senator from another state said that the interstate was not made for trucks and that trucks should just be driven from midnight to 6 a.m., but as Gautreaux stated then and now, that just isn’t feasible. She pointed out how when a driver makes a delivery someone must be there to collect it, during those hours, most people aren’t at work.
Gautreaux also discussed the factors that affect the trucking industry still, such as regulations, taxes, the economy and drivers’ shortage.
Earlier in the meeting, the club had a short presentation about polio from Rotarian Henry Helo. After which it was announced that the Crowley club is nearing it’s funds raised goal for PolioPlus. The club’s funds are up to $8,295. The club set a minimum goal of $10,000.