Editor’s Page

Most readers will have this issue of Land Line in the mailbox by the end of the first week in November. As I write this, it’s only Oct. 11 and given the current velocity of news, who knows what critical happenings will have developed by the time you read this.

What we do know is the nation is learning that “tightening security” is more difficult than anyone could have predicted, especially in the transportation industries and specifically trucking.

There are more than 30,000 trucking companies in the United States. More than 10 million drivers have CDLs and a fourth of those are permitted to haul hazardous materials. More than 800,000 shipments of hazmat are made daily, roughly 80 percent by fuel trucks. Our problems are now everyone’s problems.

For those of you who asked for the “talking points” issued by the Department of Transportation, go to page 40. Remember that the importance of these points will escalate with each military action or terrorist activity.

Americans have a new Office of Homeland Security, an office dedicated to finding the gaps in our security. On Oct. 10, OOIDA delivered a message to Tom Ridge, the head of this new office. That message is that it’s time for lawmakers to carefully examine normal business practices in trucking that have decayed to the point of national concern and alarm. For more, go to page 24. In related editorial, see Paul Cullen Jr.’s “Washington Insider” and more stories on page 16-17, “hot topics.”

There’s been a lot of talk about the fuel gouging that went on in the wake of the attacks. OOIDA President Jim Johnston places a well-positioned boot in just the right spot. Read about “the givers and the takers” in Jim’s regular column on page 12.

Also in this issue 
Shattered dreams. During the past month, OOIDA member Luis Espinoza has been in our thoughts and prayers. Luis lost his wife, Fanny, in the attack on the World Trade Center. She worked on the 104th floor of the first tower as a compliance officer for Cantor Fitzgerald. Luis’ account of that day is sensitively told by LL staff writer Donna Carlson on page 18.

Parade of lights. The victims of those Sept. 11 attacks and LL senior editor Ruth Jones were honored at the St. Ignace memorial show and parade of lights. We lost Ruth to cancer on June 8. Leading the parade was her husband, OOIDA member Dee Jones, in the show truck owned by All Freight Systems, Kansas City, KS. With Dee was OOIDA officer Bob Esler. Right behind Dee was OOIDA’s big red Western Star on her maiden trip with OOIDA board member Woody Chambers behind the wheel. Paula Chambers describes the experience on page 26.

Kiwis in America. New Zealanders Ray and Cathy Hugill weren’t expecting to find heaven in the U.S. trucking industry, but they never anticipated a journey to hell either. Is involuntary servitude alive and well in the United States? Read LL feature editor René Tankersley’s story about one immigrant couple’s experience driving for a U.S. carrier. It’s on page 32.

Hot air. LL technical editor Paul “Hot Air” Abelson weighs in on page 68 with “The electrical revolution” – part one of a mini series and deals with principles. This issue, he covers the principles of what happens to, with and because of electricity in your truck. In the next issue, he’ll review how to spot electrical problems, how to diagnose them, and how you can take some preventive measures.

Also, if you like tools, check out Paul’s dream garage article on page 62. If you have any more special tools or ideas you think we should know about, please share it in a Letter to the Editor. As a matter of fact, I’ve already thought of a couple of things Paul has failed to mention. Isn’t every well-equipped non-commercial garage required to have a big rig calendar, an old fridge and some vintage lawn chairs so you and your pals can sit around and chew the fat?