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You take on an enormous amount of risk and responsibility when you begin a journey as an owner-operator. Just as the successful completion of a long haul requires a proper map and a good plan, so does the financial integrity of your business. This edition brings you the first in a series of articles that will draw you a basic map to evaluate whether your relationship with your motor carrier will help get you to your destination as a successful owner-operator. We call it “I-376: the road to better treatment from your motor carrier.” What’s the 376 signify? This is an important number for owner-operators to remember. It’s Section 376 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations. It’s the truth-in-leasing regulations, it’s the law and it’s your best starting place when spotting illegal motor carrier leasing practices. Page 34.

Also in this issue is a comprehensive report on OOIDA’s pursuit of motor carriers who continue to indulge in these illegal leasing practices. Recent court rulings have served to solidify some long-held positions of OOIDA as well as offer important ammunition for future battles. The association is now involved in so many lawsuits, one trucker recently likened the charge as “Johnston’s march to the sea.” Get the latest in Mike Schermoly’s lawsuit update on page 16.

OOIDA’s battery of lawsuits was the topic of a candid discourse delivered by OOIDA President Jim Johnston on Jan. 17 to members of the Truckload Carriers Association in Chicago for the independent contractor division’s annual meeting. You can read Jim’s speech in this issue (page 12). I use the word candid for lack of a stronger adjective.

Members only. Quarterly, OOIDA publishes a special edition of Land Line for “members only.” Member readers receive an info-packed section inside their Land Line featuring OOIDA happenings, special insider tips, member news, benefit/program updates, quarterly IFTA chart and discount announcements. One feature you won’t find anywhere else is “The check’s in the mail.” OOIDA provides members with information related to brokers and carriers who have a history of late payment or nonpayments for loads hauled by members. A listing of recently reported collections is featured in special member issues.

This month, LL gives non-member readers an opportunity to see a short version of this eight-page supplement. Featured in this month’s “sneak preview” is an article that is critical reading for leased owner-operators: “What happens to your escrow when your motor carrier goes bankrupt?”

Also in this issue: Land Line readers are acquainted with OOIDA’s Jim Johnston, Todd Spencer, Ray Kasicki, Woody Chambers, Rick Craig, Bob Driscoll and others. When I read René Tankersley’s uncut, unedited interviews with John Taylor, Bob Esler and Bill Rode, I couldn’t help but think how much the deep bench that is OOIDA’s leadership has contributed to the longevity of the association. In “Surviving” part two, these three seasoned board members share advice on making it through the recession. We hope you might find a bit of useful direction there that might contribute to your own longevity.

Esler recently mentioned something else to me that’s worth sharing. He said keep an eye on truck/equipment trends as it’s how you make your living. With this in mind, LL’s equipment focus looks to the future of truck technology with several articles by Paul Abelson, including one on fuel cells. Take time to read Paul’s article on page 78 and you won’t be one of those who says “fuel cell? What does that mean?”

Speaking of your equipment, the story on page 18 brings you news we have hoped to share since we first became involved in the plight of Volvo owners’ problems. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said “yes” to OOIDA’s petition for several investigations into Volvo truck defects.

Note: You’ll notice the absence of Paul Cullen Jr.’s Washington Insider column in this issue. Congress has been out of session on its winter break. “WI” will return in the next issue of Land Line with an update on national security plans for the trucking industry.

March/April
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