Editor’s page

A hard rain has fallen on trucking during these last months in the way of fuel costs, beating up thousands of trucking businesses and dominating all other news on the trucking landscape. In this issue, OOIDA President Jim Johnston shares his perspective in his regular column "Issues and Positions" with text from Jim's letter to President Clinton.

Do letters to our national policymakers have an effect on their actions? You bet. How do you give lawmakers a piece of your mind? You can get the best bang for your buck if you follow a few simple rules. In a special feature for Land Line, Paul Cullen Jr. lays them out. See "Washington Insider" on page 22.

This issue of Land Line has a new look. After 25 years in publication, however, we're still the same old LL - packed with news, features and reports you need to strengthen your business. We've got the latest on the hours-of-service reform, tips on staving off cargo thieves and making the most of your pre-trip inspection. And don't skip Jason Cisper's report on the used truck market ("Buyers Paradise?" page 48). You may be surprised at what you find.

Also in this issue: Your kid wants to go to college. Where do you start? We've got some trucker-specific advice in Donna Carlson's "The Scholarship Game." Check it out on page 53.

The story behind the story: Last year, one of our OOIDA members reported serious problems with his 1997 Volvo. Within weeks, four more owner-operators reported similar problems. Routinely, OOIDA began to ask questions. To date, OOIDA has received more than 50 written complaints and a pattern seems to be defining a serious safety problem. What are these owner-operators saying? What is Volvo saying? "Satisfaction guaranteed? Maybe not." Read more on page 38.

A thing of the past: News on OOIDA's lawsuit against Flying J and Pilot over credit card surcharges - on Feb. 1, the Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled in favor of four OOIDA members. For details, see the story on page 13.

The truth is out there: Melvern Noll was not supposed to be trucking on the night of Jan. 3, but his old company needed a hand. What he and a handful of police officers saw in the early morning sky over St. Clair County, IL, is a heck of a story and Melvern now has the best CB story on the road. And it has a police report to boot . catch the whole eerie tale on page 58.

Louisville: This edition of Land Line serves as our Mid-America Trucking Show issue, complete with a preview of products that will debut Mar. 23, 24 and 25 and our Mid-America announcement page (56). But no truck show issue would be complete without a look at the glamour of truck beauty contests. Ever thought about spiffing up your ride and venturing out on the circuit? Maybe reading Mike Morgan's "Showing off" on page 26 will be your first step.

Look for OOIDA and Land Line staff at the Louisville show. We'll be at Booth 117 with some great giveaways for members new and old.