By Donna Ryun
I received an e-mail recently from a truck driver who wrote that he’d been encouraged by a friend to join OOIDA. When he asked his friend why he should join, the proud OOIDA member declared, “Because it’s the right thing to do!”
While that answer is a good one, it wasn’t enough for the prospective member. He wanted to know what his hard-earned $45 annual membership fee would buy, so he was writing to find out.
“Convince me,” he challenged. So I did.
I started with OOIDA’s legislative agenda and just kept going from there. Space won’t allow me to include everything, but the following is a good start.
OOIDA’s mission is to fight for the rights of all truckers. We’ve been doing this very thing since 1973, and we don’t plan on stopping now.
Currently, we’re fighting to keep Mexican trucks off U.S. highways until we are convinced that they will be held to the same safety standards that U.S. truckers must observe.
U.S. truckers have higher operating costs because of compliance burdens that are enforced in this country. Mexican truckers would gain a competitive advantage, which would drive down rates and result in decreased compensation for U.S. drivers.
We’re also pressing lawmakers to find solutions to loading/unloading issues, such as excessive detention time and coerced lumping, that cost drivers their valuable time and money.
OOIDA has opposed efforts to turn our interstates into toll roads, and we’re fighting against the privatization of existing public transportation infrastructure.
We also continue to fight against intrusive proposals such as speed limiters and mandatory on-board recording devices.
OOIDA has promoted tax and exemption incentives for idle-reduction equipment, and we’re pushing for the establishment of uniform idling guidelines.
We’re working to expand the number of safe, secure places for trucks to park and promoting hours-of-service rules that reduce driver fatigue, provide for efficient vehicle operation, and ensure compliance by all stakeholders.
We also continue to demand mandatory driver education and training for all entry-level truck drivers that will ultimately elevate the caliber of people seeking to enter the trucking industry as drivers.
Our government affairs staff in Washington, DC, is in constant contact with lawmakers, providing information to help them make decisions on various proposals more quickly and efficiently. They are also always on the lookout for other groups or organizations we can work with on common issues that are important to truckers. That’s just a small portion of the work they do for OOIDA members.
In order to pursue our mission and achieve our goals, we must enlist the help of proactive OOIDA members. Making the effort to contact lawmakers is one of the greatest contributions a member can make to the Association, so we help by providing the information our members need to stay informed.
OOIDA uses all of our communication resources to assist members with their grassroots efforts. For example, all members get a free subscription to Land Line Magazine. Many of them tell us that this alone is worth the $45 membership fee.
Our members also stay educated and informed by listening to Land Line Now, the first daily news and information radio program designed specifically for truck drivers and broadcast nationwide on Sirius channel 147 and XM 171.
OOIDA members receive Calls to Action, newsletters and e-mailed Grassroots Updates, in addition to the information found on our various Web sites, including ooida.com, landlinemag.com, landlinenow.com, ooidatruckinsurance.com
ooidapac.com, truckvote.com, turndownhotfuel.com, tracersystem.us and eyeontrucking.com.
The Association regularly participates in and organizes town hall meetings, news conferences and media events in individual cities, often working directly with a lawmaker’s staff in orchestrating the event to gain support on a local or state issue.
Our communications efforts also involve providing daily e-news, answering questions via e-mail, and encouraging members to network through the OOIDA Members Only online forum.
Your $45 annual membership fee buys all of this representation and provides the information you need to help in the fight; however, there’s much more bang for your buck at OOIDA.
Let’s talk about your business needs. In addition to its strong representation for the industry, OOIDA advances the interests of its members by developing membership services and programs that provide big fleet purchasing power to the independent professional trucker.
Whether you’re a company driver, a leased owner-operator, or an authorized carrier, OOIDA offers benefits and services that enhance the value of your membership. And as an added bonus, when you participate in Association programs, any income above the actual cost of providing and administering these programs will go toward enabling the Association to represent your concerns in the legislative, regulatory and judicial arenas.
Your OOIDA membership provides assistance with compliance; protection of your rights under the federal truth-in-leasing regulations; warranty and repair questions and assistance; lease/contract reviews; collection of money that is owed to you; and help with calculating your cost of operation.
In addition to assistance with your industry questions and carrier complaints, OOIDA offers members one-stop shopping when it’s time to get your own authority. One quick call to our Authority Unit will provide assistance with your authority and permit needs, drug consortium needs, 24-hour insurance quotes, expedited final letter and BOC-3 filing.
Still need more convincing?
Your membership provides access and special pricing to business tools such as the MembersEdge loadboard, which is a source to locate loads and/or post the availability of your services. Our members can also get a PrePass discount and special pricing for RTS Credit Service.
If you need a fuel card that’s more than just a fuel card, OOIDA members can get the Truckers Advantage Fuel Card that provides them with fuel account management, fuel rebates, tire discounts and emergency roadside service.
Members have access to a variety of discount programs that could easily save them more than the price of an OOIDA membership, including discounts for tires, auxiliary power units, communication, education, equipment, hotels, personal vehicles, parts and services, software, car rental and computers.
Your OOIDA membership can save you thousands of dollars on the purchase of new and used equipment because we have rebate programs with nearly all of the major OEM truck manufacturers.
If all this is not enough to convince you, consider this: Become a member of OOIDA and we’ll do our best to arrange financing for your equipment, including APU finance and grants, engine rebuild finance, equipment refinance and trucker-to-trucker financing options. We’ll also review loan contracts, and we offer a substantial savings on your physical damage premium when you finance and insure your equipment through OOIDA.
Speaking of insurance, OOIDA provides members with a complete line of affordable truck insurance, and you won’t find better service anywhere. Our provider has recently made it possible to reward loss-free drivers a substantial discount on premiums.
Our truck insurance agents can also quote you on your insurance needs for all your motorized vehicles, including personal autos, motorcycles, boats and personal watercraft, RVs, travel trailers, snowmobiles and ATVs.
Your membership opens the door to comprehensive and affordable health care and life insurance benefits as well. We have medical plans, dental and vision, term life, occupational accident, short term disability, accidental death and dismemberment, a prescription discount card, and credit life to protect you and your family.
You can also put your identity theft concerns to rest because we offer identity management services for your peace of mind.
We even offer our members a retirement program so they can start saving for the day when they decide to hang up the keys and take it easy.
To top it all off, as a service to members, the OOIDA board of directors has developed programs to promote and highlight excellence in their professional careers, via the OOIDA Safe Driving Award Program.
The Association also assists the children, grandchildren, and legal dependents of members with their education through the OOIDA-Mary Johnston Scholarship Program, which annually awards one $2,000-a-year scholarship and four $1,000-a year-scholarships.
Forty-five dollars sure buys a lot these days. At least here at OOIDA it does. Or, I guess you could buy lunch for you and a friend at one of those drive-thru places and still have enough left to spend on a couple of lottery tickets. Unfortunately, the odds are that you won’t win your money back. An OOIDA membership is a sure thing and pays for itself over and over again.
I’d continue, but I’m out of space – and besides, he joined.
Smart truckers know a bargain when they see one. LL
If you have questions about doing business as an owner-operator and/or an independent trucker, please e-mail them to email@example.com or send them to P.O. 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.