An emotional roller coaster

October 2019

Jami Jones

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Flipping through this issue of Land Line, I really went on a wild ride of emotions. Largely because I’ve been so immersed in the hours-of-service reform issue that I let my optimism for HOS blind me to other issues.

Granted, the progress we are making on hours of service, thanks in large part of FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez, is a reason to feel hopeful. It’s unprecedented with all of the HOS reforms over the past 16 years that flexibility is actually being considered. We aren’t looking at a proposal taking even more control away from the drivers. That’s big.

You can catch up and start your emotional ride on Page 18. Associate Editor Mark Schremmer and I team up to break down the proposal and tell you how it would affect life on the road.

Consider that the climb to the peak of the roller coaster and prepare for the letdown on the way down.

Just a few pages later, you will start in on all of the issues that OOIDA is fighting back on. There are a lot.

The DRIVE-Safe Act that seeks to put 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds behind the wheel in interstate operations is a big battle. Using every bit of smoke and mirrors bolstered by false logic, ATA is pushing hard for this. Fortunately on this issue, OOIDA is joined by the Teamsters in the battle. Check it out on Page 22.

Not done there, you can continue your descent into anger at the lack of due process in the DataQ challenge setup and get a bump of relief that OOIDA is on that one, too. That’s on Page 26.

Then you can whip around a corner and suffer whiplash from the “nonsense” bill that seeks to mandate (don’t you hate the word “mandate?”) the use of underrides basically all the way around trucks and trailers. Shake your head as you read about that on Page 29.

The up and down journey continues throughout our FedUp section. FMCSA has realized not all crashes are the fault of the truck driver. On Page 30 we cover the move to make a program to recognize at least some of the cases where you, our readers, are innocent permanent.

You’ll likely feel irked as you read the next piece on yet another attempt to raise the minimum insurance requirements. You likely can guess who is behind that, but will get confirmation on Page 31.

Eventually you can take a breath and feel good knowing OOIDA is out there every day slugging away, in the courts (Page 39), on Capitol Hill (Page 40), and even on the road (Page 42).

Hopefully, you’re inspired enough to pay attention to the Election 2019 section and make sure to go to the polls this November. State Legislative Editor Keith Goble put together the annual voting guide. Even though it’s largely state and local issues, it’s important to use your vote.

Change happens at all levels, and a single vote in a local election can really be the difference.

We give you a big break from the grind of the battle and kick back with the fun side of trucking. It’s Bristol, baby! I got a firsthand, close-up look at the life of a NASCAR car hauler driver during the night race in Bristol, Tenn., a while back. Enjoy the read starting on Page 52.

Before you get off the emotional rollercoaster known as the October issue of Land Line, be sure to swing by Strange Things and Filthy Lies on Page 96. I’m going to bet that you can share some weird stories with Wendy Parker after you read this one.

And, keeping the giggles going, Diesel Dave Sweetman will have you laughing with his Dashboard Confidential column, “Sometimes, trucking is for the birds” on Page 98. No hints, just go read it.

See? Told you it would be a wild ride. LL

Jami Jones

Jami Jones has been in journalism since 1991 – focused on the trucking industry since 2000. Whether judging Shell SuperRigs or writing hard-hitting analyses, she covers trucking from lug nuts to legislation – always with the trucker in mind.