By Donna Ryun
OOIDA communications director
No matter who you are, it takes all the smarts you’ve got to support yourself and your family these days. But that is particularly true for professional truckers who have so many rules and regulations to remember on top of trying to keep food on the table and pay the bills. So just what do truckers need to be successful in these tough times?
It may sound trite to say that knowledge is power, but we say it for a reason: It’s the plain truth. The challenge is obtaining that knowledge from reliable sources.
Here’s where you can get a little help from your friends at OOIDA, but first you’ll need a computer. If you haven’t purchased a laptop yet, put it on your Christmas list, because it’s one of the most useful tools you’ll find to help you stay ahead of the game in trucking – or almost any other profession for that matter.
While most of you who have computers are probably familiar with our Web sites at ooida.com and landlinemag.com, you may not be aware of the other sites that we’ve developed in order to keep our members and readers informed and educated. That’s why I’m going to take you on a guided tour of all of our Web sites.
Grab your laptop and get ready to get your feet wet because we’re going Web surfing, OOIDA style.
To learn about the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, let’s start with our homepage at ooida.com. This is the place where you’ll find out who we are and what we do. The OOIDA Web site features all the information you’ll need about the issues truckers are facing and the actions the Association is taking to address them. Be sure to check out the “Action Items” section and the “Legislative Watch” to ensure that you are informed and prepared to help OOIDA in its mission to fight for the rights of professional truckers.
Also on ooida.com, in addition to the latest trucking news headlines (provided by Land Line Magazine), you’ll find a bit about the history of OOIDA and what we’ve accomplished through the years. You will be able to read about the benefits and programs that are available to OOIDA members, and you’ll find helpful business tools and information about everything from figuring your cost of operation to dealing with brokers.
Don’t hesitate to scroll down and click on all of the various links, such as “Member Discounts” or “Regulatory Documents.” You can also find out how to join OOIDA or renew your membership or pay your statement online.
You’ll see that there’s so much information on this site that we’ve decided to give it a face lift to make it more organized and user-friendly. Soon we’ll be launching our redesigned OOIDA Web site. We think you’ll be pleased with the makeover, so be sure to visit the site daily and be among the first to check out our new look and added features.
While you’re exploring the OOIDA site, you’re likely to notice links to related OOIDA Web sites, such as ooidapac.com and TruckVote.com. Give them a click because they’re well worth the read.
As you browse OOIDA’s Political Action Site, you’ll discover how our PAC works for you and how you can participate to ensure that your concerns get the attention from lawmakers that they deserve.
Because it’s so important for truckers to vote, you need the information that will help you to make the right choices. You’ll find it once you click on TruckVote.com where you’ll see links to valuable information about the candidates, their voting records, issue positions and much more.
Are you steamed about the hot fuel issue? To find out more, browse OOIDA’s source for hot fuel information at turndownhotfuel.com, where you can discover the myths and facts on how this issue affects the cost of fuel and what you can do about it.
For truck owners, protecting your equipment is an important part of your ability to operate your business. OOIDA has provided a Web site to help you understand the various kinds of truck insurance you’ll likely need, along with information on how to obtain that coverage at competitive rates.
Visit ooidatruckinsurance.com to read a message from OOIDA President and CEO Jim Johnston, about the development of this program back in the mid-1970s and its continuing success today.
I certainly couldn’t take you on a tour of our Web sites without pointing out the place to go for all the latest trucking news: landlinemag.com. In addition to the daily headlines and Special Reports, you’ll find links to Land Line Magazine archives, Letters to the Editor, the weekly poll, and the Land Line Media Blog. While you’re browsing, be sure to click on the “Industry Calendar” link to find out about upcoming events in the trucking community, and then get out there and do some networking among your peers. If you want to know what’s going on in the trucking world, put landlinemag.com on your list of favorites.
To cover all your media bases, you’ll definitely want to bookmark landlinenow.com while you’re at it. As you may know, Land Line Now is the first daily news and information radio program designed specifically for America’s truck drivers. It airs nationwide every day on XM Satellite Radio’s Open Road Channel 171.
At landlinenow.com, Host Mark H. Reddig and his team provide “Heard on the Air” summaries, a listing of upcoming programs, clips from the show, and much more. Whether you miss a show, or simply want to find more information, be sure to visit this site to catch up on the latest happenings.
Now that you’re aware of all of these Web sites, don’t stop with just getting your feet wet. Put that laptop to good use and visit these sites regularly. You might find out that surfing our informative Web sites is a pastime that you can enjoy and gain knowledge from at the same time. 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.