By Donna Ryun
OOIDA communications director
No doubt about it – 2008 has been a year to remember. I’m pleased to say that professional truckers still rely on OOIDA for the answers to the questions that concern them most. I’ve chosen a few from inquiries received this year to represent the Top 10 mysteries truckers face, starting at the bottom and working up to No. 1.
Question 10 - A broker paid me with a bad check. How do I collect?
Answer: According to staff in OOIDA’s Member Assistance Department, they get lots of calls from members who have problems collecting on bad checks. They suggest calling the prosecuting attorney in the guilty party’s jurisdiction for help. If you don’t have the time to deal with it yourself, call 800-444-5791 and a member assistance representative will do it for you.
Question 9 - Can employee drivers join OOIDA?
Answer: Of course. In fact, the Association welcomes employee drivers. OOIDA represents the interests of owner-operators and independent-thinking professional drivers on all issues that affect truckers, and we appreciate the support of both groups. All drivers can benefit substantially from OOIDA’s representation. Call the Membership Department at 800-444-5791 to join, or sign up on the Internet at ooida.com with a credit card.
Question 8 - My lease says I am to be paid a percentage of the gross, but the company refuses to show me any confirmation of what the load actually pays. Is there a regulation that requires them to do this?
Answer: Yes, there is such a regulation. It may help to politely let the carrier know that you are entitled to see a copy of the freight bill according to the Federal Truth in Leasing Regulations. Here’s the actual reg:
§376.12 (g) Copies of freight bill or other form of freight documentation – When a lessor’s revenue is based on a percentage of the gross revenue for a shipment, the lease must specify that the authorized carrier will give the lessor, before or at the time of settlement, a copy of the rated freight bill or a computer-generated document containing the same information, or, in the case of contract carriers, any other form of documentation actually used for a shipment containing the same information that would appear on a rated freight bill.
When a computer-generated document is provided, the lease will permit lessor to view, during normal business hours, a copy of any actual document underlying the computer-generated document.
Regardless of the method of compensation, the lease must permit lessor to examine copies of the carrier’s tariff or, in the case of contract carriers, other documents from which rates and charges are computed, provided that where rates and charges are computed from a contract of a contract carrier, only those portions of the contract containing the same information that would appear on a rated freight bill need be disclosed. The authorized carrier may delete the names of shippers and consignees shown on the freight bill or other form of documentation.
Question 7 - What is the per diem rate for meals in 2008?
Answer: The per diem rate for meals in 2008 is 80 percent of $52 per day. Officials with the Internal Revenue Service announced recently that the rate and percentage will remain the same for 2009.
Question 6 - I have my own authority, and I am the only driver. Do I still need to belong to a drug and alcohol testing consortium?
Answer: Yes, you do. You are considered an employer, who employs himself/herself; therefore, you are required to enter your name in a random selection pool, and you must comply with the employer requirements of the regulations as well. Check out OOIDA’s Drug & Alcohol Testing Consortium at this link: www.ooida.com/Benefits/cmci/CMCI.htm or call 800-288-3784 for information about this program, which is available to OOIDA members only. Here’s the exact wording from the FMCSA rules:
§382.103 Applicability. (b) An employer who employs himself/herself as a driver must comply with both the requirements in this part that apply to employers and the requirements in this part that apply to drivers. An employer who employs only himself/herself as a driver shall implement a random alcohol and controlled substances testing program of two or more covered employees in the random testing selection pool.
Question 5 - How can I calculate a fuel surcharge?
Answer: Go to the Association’s home page on the Internet at ooida.com and scroll down the page to the “Swimming with Sharks” section. Then click on the headline “Small business owner-operators: JUST DO IT (fuel surcharge calculator).” It’s easy.
Question 4 - Why can unions strike, but OOIDA can’t?
Answer: Legally chartered unions made up of employees for the purpose of collective bargaining enjoy certain exemptions under the labor laws that allow them the option of strikes and boycotts under specific legal guidelines. Strikes are employee actions against employers.
Owner-operators are not considered employees. They’re considered individual small business operators. As such, for the Association to get its members together for the purpose of collectively setting rates or organizing boycotts would be a violation of federal antitrust laws.
Question 3 - I just saw a commercial on TV advertising a law firm that portrays truckers as dangerous drivers, and it seems to encourage lawsuits against us when an accident happens? What can be done to stop this type of advertising?
Answer: I have also seen these ads, and they always infuriate me because they are so anti-trucker; however, most are carefully worded so they are covered under the First Amendment as free speech.
I suggest that you contact these attorneys and the media running their ads and let them know that you are a truck driver who finds the ads offensive. Tell them that you would never consider using their services for this reason. Perhaps if they receive enough calls of this nature, they will revise the message.
Question 2 - I need truck insurance, but I don’t know much about the coverages that are required. Where can I get more information about this?
Answer: OOIDA is your best resource for information about truck insurance. Visit the Association’s truck insurance Web site at ooidatruckinsurance.com for an explanation of the various coverages that are available, and then choose any of the following four ways to receive a free quote:
- Call 800-715-9369 to speak with an agent;
- Complete and submit the online form so that an agent can contact you within 24 hours;
- Click to complete and e-mail the full quote form;
- Click to download a PDF version, print it, complete it and fax it to
- The site is full of useful information to help you learn everything you need to know about truck insurance.
Question 1 - How can I check the voting records of my lawmakers?
Answer: On OOIDA’s homepage at ooida.com, you will find several links to voting records on issues that concern truckers. Be sure to watch for more as they are posted periodically.
In addition, you can access OOIDA’s truckvote.com Web site to locate more helpful information. Click on the VoteSmart.org link to find voting records, issue positions, biographical information, campaign finances and much more.
It’s important to use these resources to learn all you can about the elected officials who make decisions that affect your business, so don’t hesitate to check out these links. LL
If you have questions about doing business as an owner-operator and/or an independent trucker, please e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org or send them to PO Box 1000, Grain Valley, MO 64029. We can’t publish all of your questions in Land Line, but you will receive a response, even if your letter is not published.