Headlining the editorial agenda for this edition of Land Line are two issues as critical to professional truckers as it gets - the progress of OOIDA's fuel surcharge legislation (HR 4441) and the proposed hours-of-service regs.
Years ago, if breaking news was hanging over us at deadline, we said, "as we prepare go to press." Today, it gets downloaded on a jaz disk, so it would be more accurate to say "as we prepare to get loaded." At any rate, the progress of the fuel surcharge legislation before the U.S. House's ground transportation subcommittee is this issue's cliffhanger. See page 24 for coverage of the June 8 hearing.
On page 12 you'll find special section on the hours-of-service proposal, kicking off with a brief outline of the DOT's proposal followed by our staff report on the impact of this proposal; what OOIDA told transportation officials at the June public meetings, plus opinions from some OOIDA members. Also, the section features opposing views on one of the hottest topics - black boxes - from National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Jim Hall and OOIDA President Jim Johnston.
More on Volvo - In our March issue, we featured complaints from owners of Volvo trucks relating to premature steer tire wear. Bill Dawson, Volvo's vice president in charge of customer service, responded. From the gnashed edges of the paper, he wasn't too happy. He demanded a retraction and requested we print his letter (it appears on page 46 in this issue, along with Jim Johnston's reply). The retraction won't be happening.
What makes him tick? Don't miss "Who is Mike Belzer and why is the trucking industry listening to him?" on page 26. Belzer is a research scientist and professor at the University of Michigan whose new book ("Sweatshops on Wheels" - Oxford University Press) was launched in April. Jim Johnston calls it a "voice in the wilderness." Writer Paul Spillenger introduces you to the personal side of one of the trucking industry's leading academics.
Brand new columns - Donna Ryun, a senior staffer at OOIDA, has provided solid information for years in "Insurance Update." Donna is now heading up OOIDA's Communications Department and spends her day tracking down hard-to-answer questions for members. In her new column on page 48, "Member Info" she shares some of the juiciest fruit of her daily labors. It should be a guaranteed education in every issue.
Next issue, we'll launch another new column called "Road Law" by Oklahoma City attorneys Jeff McConnell and Jim Mennella. Read more about it on page 103 and watch for it in the August/September LL.
Voting smart - In November you'll be called on to elect the next chief executive of the United States and before you vote, you need to familiarize yourself with the candidates and their platforms. For those truckdrivers who have access to the Internet, don't skip Jason Cisper's "On the Net" column on page 60.
Special member issue - What would you do if you were invited to the press conference kicking off Roadcheck 2000 (CVSA's annual inspection blitz)? Check out your "member's only" section for one man's reply.