What issues do truckers feel most strongly about right now and want brought to the attention of the Bush administration and Congress? In Todd Spencer's "Issues and Positions," he relays what OOIDA's trucking members want and what they are calling their top concerns.
Up there on that list is the uncertainty of fuel costs. What happened to OOIDA's fuel surcharge legislation? Read Paul Cullen Jr.'s "Washington Insider," page 16, for the full account. Paul also reports on Rep. Bud Shuster's sudden retirement and President Bush's nomination of Norm Mineta for Secretary of Transportation.
The end of 2000 and the beginning of the new year has been eventful for OOIDA. In an industry "up to its ass in alligators," energy is high. With the possible change in regulatory philosophy by the new incoming administration, we don't know when work on the HOS will resume, but OOIDA submitted formal written comments to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. It includes a suggested plan that professional truckers will find simpler and easier to use. Details on page 15.
Association president Jim Johnston participated in a blue ribbon panel in December at the annual SAE Truck & Bus meeting in Portland. You weren't there? That's OK. You can read all about it on page 38.
In the courts, OOIDA attorneys have been no slouches either. On page 22, read the update on OOIDA's lawsuit against Ledar Transport, a company that was shut down by the judge's order to get their lease in order. On page 14, there's more on OOIDA's credit card case challenging surcharges on credit card transactions by Flying J and Pilot truckstops. On page 23, don't miss the latest from Prime Inc. and Arctic Express. Do you recall those owner-operators who stepped forward and joined OOIDA's lawsuit to compel return of maintenance escrow funds from those companies? Those drivers are now being sued by Prime and Arctic.
Also in this issue: OOIDA member Tony Pennello is a trucker, an actor, a stuntman and a new dad. Read about him on page 32. And on page 78, meet Bill and Cindy Klemm, HHG movers. One of my favorite member stories in this issue is staff writer Keith Goble's account of trucker Judith Klutch's close encounter with the bottom of the St. James River. Her truck is reportedly still there, but wait till you read how Judith escaped certain drowning. Page 30.
Next month, OOIDA and its truck show gang will be heading to Louisville for the big one, Mid-America Trucking Show, slated for March 22, 23 and 24. And here's the big news. We are taking our lawyers with us and they'll be doing a seminar on Friday at 2 p.m. on truckers' rights, plus we'll have three of our attorneys at our booth #117 answering questions. (They should be easily recognizable - we told them it would be very cool to wear Australian Outback leather hats.) At the back of this issue, look for the full-page ad and free admission coupon. If you haven't made plans, isn't it time for a tax-deductible vacation?