Editor&rsuqo;s Page

It takes about three weeks to prepare a magazine like Land Line for the press, to print and mail it. Our October issue was 99 percent complete and packed off to the printer when the appalling attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon dropped us into a world that seems more like a Tom Clancy novel. That's why you'll not see extensive coverage within our pages. Today the news and features we worked so hard on already seem old, somehow of little consequence. In as much as our magazine is not full of stories and photos, our hearts and our heads are reeling with information and images.

Our LL staff and the entire OOIDA workforce join the nation in mourning the loss of those who were cast in harm's way on Sept. 11. We also join in support of our nation's leaders in declaring a new purpose in freeing the world of terrorism.

In my years with Land Line, it’s probably safe to say I’ve read hundreds of millions of words that address reasons our highways are so dangerous. I’ve never heard it said with as much savvy as OOIDA’s Aug. 16 testimony to the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in Washington. The feds asked the questions. OOIDA responded with common sense and matchless perception that comes only from experience and an extraordinary depth of understanding. That’s why I say it could very well have been called OOIDA’s “State of the Highway” address. If our regulators don’t get this, they never will get it.

Writing the testimony was a joint effort; delivered convincingly by OOIDA’s Todd Spencer. This issue of LL brings you the complete testimony on page 24.

Also in this issue

Where did we put those bottle rockets? OOIDA’s tenacious pursuit of motor carriers through the courts over abusive practices and treatment of owner-operators claimed two court victories last month. In two separate cases, two different judges dispensed vital decisions. Mayflower asked the court to dismiss the association’s complaints. The judge said no. In another really momentous decision, a U.S. district judge ruled in favor of OOIDA in the case versus Arctic Express Inc. Read about it in our “Lawsuit update” on page 34. How significant is this latest action and what does it mean to every trucker? Read Jim Johnston’s regular column, “Issues & Positions” on page 12.

Mexican truck rules. As we wrap up this October issue, a number of issues are cookin’ on the front burner. The second session of the 107th Congress is back in full swing and already, Mexican truck rules are once more dominating trucking news. For an easy-to-read overview of what’s happened up to now, see “Washington Insider” on page 14.

Trucking in Mexico. OOIDA member Mark Cervantes has been trucking in Mexico for the past couple of years and has one heck of a story to tell. Matter of fact, he could write a book about what happened to his tractor and trailer down there in July. He might call it something catchy like “Snatched.” Okay, so it’s not likely Mark will write a book, but you can read his story anyway. Right now. In this issue. Go to page 18 for Mark’s “troubling tale,” written by LL staff writer Keith Goble.

Rate your carrier. There’s a TV commercial that says something like, “knowledge is power, here’s how you get it.” That’s pretty much describes the purpose of OOIDA’s new Motor Carrier Rating System. Have you put in your two cents worth? You can rate your carrier online now, too. For more info, see page 50.

The pluck o’ the Irish. You just can’t know a trucker/activist/intellect/poet/Irishman like Bob Driscoll and not have great stories. Ray Kasicki shares some anecdotes on page 52 that spring from his longtime friendship with OOIDA’s general vice president. Ray calls him a “man with an attitude” and that ain’t no lie. Correction, Ray, in Driscollspeak that’s pronounced “atty-tude.” Got a problem with that?