Strictly speaking

Mark Taylor is an owner-operator from Warren, AR. He first became an OOIDA member in 1987. Mark and his wife, Renee, operate Ugly Puppy Exploration Transport, sharing the driving responsibilities, with Mark doing the maintenance and Renee doing the bookkeeping. Together with their young son, Lee, and a few canine companions, the Taylors experience life on the American road, trucker style.

During June, the Taylors agreed to keep a daily diary of June Safety Month. Mark and Renee’s travels, dock tribulations, delivery hassles and lifestyle — all carried on in strict compliance with federal regulations — were posted on both OOIDA’s Web site, www.ooida.com, and Land Line Magazine’s Web site, www.landlinemag.com.

Stress-free running
Listening to truckers, OOIDA’s ongoing safety initiative is beginning to pay dividends — not only in the form of increased freight rates — but in calmer, safer driving.

For example, OOIDA members Mark and Renee Taylor, Warren, AR, are owner-operators doing business as Ugly Puppy Exploration. They started running strictly compliant to the “nth degree” in May and are keeping a journal for Land Line to document their experiences.

“It’s very much a different place out on the road ... It’s calmer,” says Renee Taylor. What she’s noticed most is the decrease of road rage and outright negativity. “Truckers have something positive to talk about on the docks, CB, etc. Many, many of us are simply refusing to be pressured.”

“This feels good,” she says. “You just tell the people that are looking at you with those ‘get goin’’ expressions that you are running compliant. I told one guy in California, ‘Hey, don’t push, you know I’m running legal.’”

He just looked at her, then said, “well, OK.”

Renee says this change in attitude is the most notable success of the effort.

“Most of us out here are good folks just looking to do our job and be happy,” she says. “The support from OOIDA to ‘just do it’ has been great, also the support from Congress and the enforcement people and all. It really takes the pressure off.”

The Taylors — with their cell phone, laptop and digital camera — are keeping a journal for Land Line to document their experience for readers. Instead of discovering what they feared most — FNC, otherwise known as forced noncompliance — they found instead on-the-road peace of mind.

—by Dick Larsen, senior editor Dick Larsen can be reached at dlarsen@landlinemag.com.