Rearview: Providing a forum for ‘The Voice’

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Updated Aug 3, 2016

Overdrive‘s Rearview series is a new recurring monthly feature taking a historical look at the trucking industry through the lens of archived editions of Overdrive.

Of note from the Our Readers Write section in the February 1983 issue: Calls for ‘someone who understands the trucking industry’ to run the DOT; a letter from one trucker to his peers asking them to move their trucks from the fuel island when not fueling (‘time is money, and nothing is more aggravating than being held up, especially by a trucker’); and a note titled ‘Starve them,’ in which Steve Davis of Florida urged independents to initiate state-by-state trucker strikes to ‘starve these greedy people so they’ll realize the need for the trucking industry.’ Déjà vu all over again?Of note from the Our Readers Write section in the February 1983 issue: Calls for ‘someone who understands the trucking industry’ to run the DOT; a letter from one trucker to his peers asking them to move their trucks from the fuel island when not fueling (‘time is money, and nothing is more aggravating than being held up, especially by a trucker’); and a note titled ‘Starve them,’ in which Steve Davis of Florida urged independents to initiate state-by-state trucker strikes to ‘starve these greedy people so they’ll realize the need for the trucking industry.’ Déjà vu all over again?

Overdrive’s founding purpose was primarily fighting the “Bigs” looking to squash the independent trucker – Big Labor, Big Government and Big Rail, to name a few – but it didn’t fight alone. Upon its 1961 launch, Overdrive also provided the first real forum for owner-operators to make their opinions known on the Bigs or any other issue that ailed them.

From its first issue, September 1961, Overdrive included the Our Readers Write section, in which truckers wrote letters to the editor, detailed on-highway happenings to their peers and responded to articles in Overdrive and in other national publications.

Though the section has changed names and formats in the 55 years since, Overdrive continues to build its reputation on championing reader representation and the principles they care about. The magazine cover still proudly uses the tagline “The Voice of the American Trucker.”

In addition to the truckers cited throughout the magazine, each issue today leads off with six pages of the Voices section (as well as a regular online presence), devoted to letting readers comment on topics such as burdensome regulations, shady brokers and the etiquette of fellow truck drivers. They also speak out on non-trucking issues such as gun control and health care.

The feedback section of the August 1962 edition had letters from tax collectors perturbed by Overdrivereporting, readers wanting an expansion of the magazine’s distribution and an intriguing note from owner-operator Bob Tappan of New York saying he wasn’t sure his single-truck operation could survive looming tax changes.The feedback section of the August 1962 edition had letters from tax collectors perturbed by Overdrivereporting, readers wanting an expansion of the magazine’s distribution and an intriguing note from owner-operator Bob Tappan of New York saying he wasn’t sure his single-truck operation could survive looming tax changes. Overdrive’s online presence and social media channels have expanded the forum for readers. Topical discussion threads tied to OverdriveOnline.com stories, such as these responses to a story on lawyers exploiting truck-related accidents, and posts on Overdrive’s Facebook page offer new avenues for lively expression.Overdrive’s online presence and social media channels have expanded the forum for readers. Topical discussion threads tied to OverdriveOnline.com stories, such as these responses to a story on lawyers exploiting truck-related accidents, and posts on Overdrive’s Facebook page offer new avenues for lively expression. Modern Overdrive’s feature about six pages each month dedicated to giving a voice to today’s owner-operators.Modern Overdrive’s feature about six pages each month dedicated to giving a voice to today’s owner-operators.
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