Jim Johnston, aged 78, a founder and the president and CEO of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has passed away. OOIDA made the announcement on January 8. Here is the announcement:


OOIDA is mourning the loss of Jim Johnston, its resilient leader whose enduring visions secured a position on the frontlines for truckers’ rights for more than four decades. Johnston served as OOIDA president and chief executive officer since 1974. He served eight five-year terms and was currently serving his ninth term.

From its humble beginnings in an office trailer chained to a light pole at a truck stop in Grain Valley, Jim nurtured OOIDA to its current status as the largest national organization of professional truckers in the country. The determination, strength of character and personal charisma that helped him persevere through the difficulties of OOIDA’s early years also served to make Jim an outspoken champion for the rights and well-being of all professional truckers.

Jim was very much a full time CEO. He continued to be regularly consulted by the administration, congressional leaders and the Department of Transportation on regulatory issues affecting the trucking industry. He continued to work full time up until only days before his passing and remained dedicated to his core mission and that of the Association – fighting for the rights of truckers.

Jim was always proud of the ability of you, our OOIDA members, to pull together and work on issues to improve the industry.


American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear issued the following statement about the Johnston’s death: “We are saddened by the news of Jim’s passing. 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.”