Buckle up, Buttercup

October 2020

Jami Jones

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Anyone else feel like they have lost all concept of time this year? Even those of us whose jobs are dependent on dating everything, it seems like 2020 has simultaneously drug by and flown by.

When things took a dramatic turn in March, I braced myself for a very long year, one where days turned into weeks, weeks into months and months into years. Instead, here I am writing editor’s page for October feeling almost out of breath because things are moving so fast.

And they are only going to get faster over the next month or so heading into the election, so buckle up. I’m not talking about the campaign hype we will all be subjected to. I’m talking about the pace of government.

This issue of Land Line is packed full to the gills of news both at the state and federal level.

This is pretty typical heading into a presidential election – any presidential election. The current administrations have an agenda that they want to get as much in place before the election. So in the months heading into the election, agency staffers tend to put the pedal to the metal and clear out any and all of the backlog that they can. This year is no exception.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has been busy, and that’s almost an understatement. It feels like a firehose on blast. Thumbing through this issue, the first few pages tackle a number of issues very important to truckers. Everything from electronic logs, speed limiters, hair testing, hours of service, under-21 drivers – I’m not even close to completing the list of things we are covering at the federal level in this issue.

It’s best to dive in on Page 18 with Mark Schremmer’s coverage of the 2020 Truck Safety Summit. OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh didn’t hold back any punches when it came to putting value on drivers. Lewie definitely doesn’t mince words, and the Summit was no exception.

By the time you read this, barring any lawsuits, the new hours-of-service regulations will be in effect. We have a recap of what those mean to you on Page 22. Flip the page, literally, and on Page 24 you’ll see a proposed pilot program to test even more HOS flexibility for truckers. I didn’t think I’d ever see such a thing. Chalk it up as one of the few wins in 2020.

Another issue that will have most of you nodding your heads saying “Told ya so” starts on Page 30.

Guess what, not only are electronic logging devices a cybersecurity risk, but when you let ELD makers pinky promise that the darn things are compliant you’re likely to have some fibbers. I read those two stories and just chuckle to myself and eagerly wait to see what FMCSA will do with that mess.

Things don’t slowdown from there, and it’s not just the federal level slinging everything it can at trucking. Florida is looking a per-mile fees, Rhode Island is battling over truck-only tolls, and the AB5 saga continues in California – just to name a few. Be sure to check out all of the important state news starting on Page 34.

We would be remiss if we didn’t talk about prepping for the upcoming election. Keith Goble does a great roundup on everything you need to know to get the trucking vote out there. It all starts on Page 48.

It’s hard to fathom that this is the October issue. That also means, ready or not, that winter is right around the corner. Our winter prep special section starts on Page 72, and wraps up with our chain law roundup by Staff Writer Tyson Fisher.

Finally, talk about time flying, Land Line is celebrating 45 years of bringing you the trucking news important to you. This year it seems especially important that we stay true to the mission laid out 45 years ago by OOIDA’s then-President Jim Johnston. Staff Writer Wendy Parker brings you the story of our humble beginnings and our commitment to you, our dear readers, on Page 58. 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.