A seismic shift in reality

May 2020

Jami Jones

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About mid-March, things got real with the COVID-19 pandemic. Not that the outbreak hadn’t already been real, but I’m talking about the new reality that forced all of us to adjust. The first thing my kids asked was, “What is this like?” My only honest answer was, “No one knows. This is new for everyone.”

It’s a daily learning curve, but everyone here at OOIDA and Land Line jumped in with both feet and became students of the shifting landscape you face as truckers. We consumed executive orders nonstop around the clock so you didn’t have to. As much as we tried to build a concrete road map, daily, even hourly, it shifted faster than the Bandit with Sheriff Buford T. Justice in hot pursuit.

Here’s what we know. Natural disasters change lives. Even regional ones like hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes. We rebuild because we’re resilient. But nothing truly is ever the same. We don’t get back to normal. We adapt to the new normal.

I’ve joked about how spot-on the Land Line crystal ball has been in the past. Sadly, there’s no way now we can predict beyond the day we are living in. As we went to press, we were still updating the OOIDA-Land Line COVID-19 resource pages daily.

However, there are some new realities that will hold true long after the ink dries on the pages you read. Truckers always were and always will be “essential.” That was a lesson a lot of people punched into during this coronavirus situation.

Senior Editor Mark Schremmer put together a package of news that not only memorializes this historic event we are living through but highlights the battle over truckers’ rights during the pandemic and beyond. The series starts on Page 16.

OOIDA has been busy. Very, very busy fighting back against what we hope are well-intentioned actions that inadvertently put truckers in the cross-hairs. OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh talks about some big wins and plans for the future on Page 12. Schremmer dives deeper into OOIDA’s leadership during the emergency declaration and what that could mean for the future starting on Page 20.

A funny thing happened during the early days of the emergency declarations. The need for safe and secure truck parking became a really big deal. And the timing could not have been better. A bill that, if signed into law, would fund the construction of actual truck parking was introduced on March 5. OOIDA worked closely with the bill sponsors to write legislation that would provide truck drivers the parking they desperately need. Read about it on Page 24.

It’s hard to imagine life outside of this seismic shift of reality and what it all means. We bring you plenty of other news that is important to you – like the advancement of a final rule on hours of service. The clock is ticking on final approval. Maybe by the time we can peek our noses out without a mandatory stay-at-home order looming over us we’ll have news on that. Get the update on Page 28.

I’m more proud than ever to work for Land Line, the official publication of OOIDA. The passion, grit and determination of the team here at OOIDA HQ and in our D.C. office is one of a kind. The late nights and weekends sorting through the next problem are common. And, no one balks. They bail in and make sure we’re giving it our all to fight for you. I was commenting this to OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer. In the middle of the chaos, he just said without hesitation: “It’s what we do.”

As usual, there’s no way to say it better. We’re here for you. It’s what we do. 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.