Editor’ Page

Truth-in-leasing regs. Last issue, we introduced the first in a special series of exclusive articles describing how owner-operators can spot illegal motor carrier leasing practices. We are calling this series “I-376: the road to better treatment from your motor carrier.” In I-376 part two, we address chargebacks and what a carrier must do before making deductions to your compensation. You can find it on page 42. Other issues we’ll cover in future issues include “Can a carrier require you to purchase extra insurance?” “What are a carrier’s obligations when you use its fuel card?” “If you are in the HHG industry, is the parent motor carrier or their local agent liable for violations of the leasing regs?” “When can motor carriers refuse to give back your escrow?” Get your three-ring notebooks ready. These articles will be keepers.

Does your LL feel a bit heavier? This issue set a LL record for the most pages with 116 plus an 8-page Members Only section. (It also set a record for biggest press run with more than 205,000 copies printed.) It should keep you reading for a while. On page 46 we’ve got the latest news on trucker John Stokes and the 1999 Amtrak accident in Illinois. Were the crossing gates faulty or was Stokes trying to drive around the gates? The latest news will surprise you. On page 32, we’ve got an update on OOIDA member Mark Cervantes whose rig was snatched at the border back in July. We’ve got the latest on OOIDA member Gary Ring who has been duking it out down in Louisiana over those “pay on the spot” fines (page 48).

We’ve also got a story about OOIDA member Michael Doty, a leased operator, who collapsed at a South Carolina truckstop on New Year’s Eve with an abdominal aortic aneurysm.This is a really ugly story. While Cannon Express hustled to Spartanburg to get the load, the company failed to even phone Michael’s wife. He died following surgery before the family could make it to his bedside. For details, read Keith Goble’s report on page 34, “Family denied last hours with dad.”

After Ray Kasicki heard Michael’s story, it wasn’t hard to write his regular “Trucker to Trucker” column on page 54. Staff writers Donna Carlson and Goble thought about Michael, too, when they were interviewing the staff in OOIDA medical benefits department for the “Inside OOIDA” article.

Your equipment. The economics of tires and tire management is the subject of tech editor Paul Abelson’s Modern Trucking Techniques. The article focuses on tire monitoring and inflation systems. It’s on page 88. Also in this issue, Paul describes his personal testing of satellite radio on page 52. After you read this, it’s highly possible satellite radio will zoom right to the top your personal wish list.

Brand new in this issue. Do you really have something to say that just doesn’t drive your point home when it’s squeezed into several paragraphs in the “Letters to the Editor” section? This issue, we welcome a significant new semi-regular forum to the pages of Land Line. From time to time, select guest editorials will share the space normally occupied by OOIDA President Jim Johnston’s “Issues and Positions.” While reader surveys consistently rank Jim’s commentary as our most read editorial material, Jim feels publishing the thoughts and perspectives of our truckdriving readers are more than ever a critical part of Land Line’s original mission. Here’s “Road Forum.” Your thoughts, your opinions, no fences.

Once a year in Loo-vull. Soon, OOIDA staffers and a congregation from Land Line will be Kentucky bound and from Mar. 21-23 we’ll be manning our booth (no. 117) in its regular spot in the East Wing. The association’s mobile information display (the red Western Star with Kentucky trailer) will be somewhere in front of the pavilion and in the back lot with the show trucks you’ll find the OOIDA-sponsored Craftsman Truck Series truck, owned by Rick Ware and hauled by OOIDA members Mike and Vicky Long.

If you are planning to make the trip, get out your favorite walking shoes. There’s plenty to do and see at MATS and only three days to do it. On page 70, technical editor Paul Abelson tells you how to plan your Louisville walkabout, from an experienced show-goer’s point of view.