Editor's Page - November 2020

November 2020

Jami Jones

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Think about 2004. That was the year George W. Bush was elected to his second term as president. The 9/11 Commission issued an initial report of its findings on the attacks. The Boston Red Sox won the World Series, breaking the Curse of the Bambino. Children born that year will be legal to drive in 2020. I started working here at Land Line. And, oddly enough, hours of service dominated the news in trucking.

Fast forward to 2020. Wow. This will be a year for the history books for sure. COVID-19 changed day-to-day life as we know it. It’s a presidential election year. Those are always exhausting to a degree, and this year is no exception. Pro sports figured out a way to get back on the fields, ice and courts. And hours of service, again, dominated the news in trucking.

Hours of service has dominated the news for years, actually. Every time since 2004 when the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration threw the hood up on HOS and went to tinkering around, it never really got any better. We lost the split-sleeper berth provision loved by teams. We were introduced to the infamous milk-and-cookies 30-minute mandatory rest break. The agency just kept ratcheting everything down tighter and tighter until things were about to snap.

And, snap they did long about the end of 2017 when the electronic leashes, excuse me electronic logging devices, hit the scene. They told a story truckers had been trying to get the agency to listen to for years – truckers need flexibility.

Bless former FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez. He listened and got the ball rolling. Even after his departure, his replacement Jim Mullen kept the movement alive. And here we are in 2020.

Finally, flexibility. The new hours of service are not perfect. Nothing really ever is when you factor in the diversity of trucking, but it’s one heck of a start.

Senior Editor Mark Schremmer does a deep dive into the newest edition of the hours-of-service regulations starting on Page 18. In addition to the actual regs, there’s info about a monkey wrench ELDs are throwing at drivers. Be sure to check it out.

Another story of history somewhat repeating itself is that the new hours of service are being challenged in court. It’s the second verse in the new HOS song we’ve sung every step along the way since 2004. Find out more about the latest efforts to spike HOS on Page 21.

OOIDA continues to wage war on another long-time problem truckers face: broker transparency. Things have swung in favor of the truckers, and we have an agency that has been more willing to listen than in the past. Get the latest on that battle on Page 28.

Some trucking issues feel like the Hatfields and McCoys feud. Like the feud, they never really seem to go away.

We have more news on the employee vs. independent contractor front (Page 26), another extension of a highway bill (Page 27), and another push for longer, heavier trucks (Page 31).

We have some cool stuff to take your mind off the business end of trucking for a bit. The Guilty By Association Truck Show – which never disappoints – found a new way to go big for 2020. The livestreaming event was billed as the Super Bowl of online truck shows, and they didn’t disappoint. See more on Page 52.

We’re some big Chiefs fans around here (except Schremmer, and we won’t talk about that). Anyway after Clyde Edwards-Helaire made his rookie debut with the Chiefs, we made the connection that his biological father is a trucker, and we tracked him down. Land Line Now’s Scott Thompson interviewed the proud poppa, and you can read it on Page 42.

And, finally, another blast from the past – the Trucking in America poster contest. We were blown away by all the entries, and it made for a fun year. Check out this year’s winners starting on Page 48. We’ll run more of our favorites next month, too. LL

TA Firestone
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.