The world of trucking continues to operate like a volatile roller coaster, with profit and loss hinging on the fickle cost of fuel and a host of precarious factors. This issue brings you OOIDA's position on the hours-of-service proposal in the candid style of Jim Johnston who puts it in perspective using the profound words of two of the wisest men of the 20th century. We also bring you an update on the regulatory process and legislation afoot in Congress that could bring the process to a screeching halt. What are lawmakers doing about fuel costs? Paul Cullen Jr. updates readers in "Washington Insider." See page 16.
In the July issue, we featured an article on Dr. Michael Belzer, author of "Sweatshop on Wheels." Belzer's book delves into the economic backlash of deregulation and the inefficiencies of the trucking industry. The book, published by the Oxford University Press and released July 25, sold out its first printing of 1,200 copies. Belzer's publicist says he's never seen a book (in the academic division) take off like this. Quote of the month comes from OOIDA's Foundation project manager, John Siebert, who said on hearing of the success of the book, "My God! It's the Harry Potter of trucking!"Also in this issue: Owner-operators rate their new rides in "Owner-Operators and their new trucks," by Donna Carlson and Ruth Jones, page 28. Also, in the equipment department, technical editor Paul Abelson writes about your truck's air system (page 72) and wheel end maintenance, part two (page 76).If you didn't get a chance to enjoy a side trip to the Las Vegas truck show this year, ITS featured some cool stuff, despite the triple digit temps. Senior editor Ruth Jones reports on the show and the truck contest winners on page 70.Speaking of great looking trucks, thanks to all you photographers out there on the road who have submitted entries to our third annual photo contest. Keep those dynamic truck/landscape photos coming. You have until Sept. 30. Remember, no Polaroids.Land Line is particularly proud of our stellar cast of columnists who work hard to bring you the information you need to be successful in this business of trucking. In this issue, Land Line introduces a new column, written by Jeff McConnell and James Mennella, two Oklahoma attorneys who specialize in traffic law. It's called "Road Law" and you'll find it on page 46.
My favorite story in this issue is Todd Spencer's feature on former trucker-now U.S. Senator, Ben Nighthorse Campbell. Sen. Campbell possesses a CDL issued by his home state of Colorado and gets away at every opportunity to go trucking. In mid-July, Sen. Campbell took a few days off and climbed behind the wheel of a big International, delivering Budweiser beer. Land Line editor Todd Spencer went along for the ride. For Sen. Campbell, it was a mixed mission of honing his driving skills, seeking a deeper understanding of how federal policies affect small operators and because he says it simply sets his soul free. For Spencer, a former owner-operator, it was a chance to pick Ben's brain. Spencer got the story and some great photos (page 14). Truthfully, I just think he wanted to go truckin' too.