Director's Chair

Check out our archive of articles, previously published in various trade and mainstream media outlets. Authors include OBAC executive director, Joanne Ritchie, and guest Directors.

2013 — 2012 — 2011 — 2010 — 2009 — 2008
2007 — 2006 — 2005 — 2004 — 2002


August 1, 2019
Asleep at the ELD Switch
by Joanne Ritchie
Our new ELD mandate fails to address the shortcomings of HoS and leaves us with a prescriptive regime focused more on compliance than on fatigue management and mitigation.

May 1, 2019
Looking Out for Number One
by Joanne Ritchie
If truck comforts are a powerful recruiting tool, and the driver-friendly spec an investment in driver retention, why aren't sanitary facilities in a truck number one and number two on the amenities list?


October 1, 2018
Putting Hours-of-Service to Rest
by Joanne Ritchie
While Hours-of-Service regulations are necessary, they're not sufficient to really address fatigue.

September 1, 2018
Pay It Forward
by Joanne Ritchie
Apart from the obvious benefit of helping others, giving is one of the most therapeutic things we can do for ourselves.

August 1, 2018
Will Owner-Operators Survive the $200,000 Truck?
by Joanne Ritchie
GHG Phase II goals may be laudable from an environmental perspective, but are owner-operators ready for cost and technical complexity of trucks that will meet the demands of greater fuel efficiency?

May 1, 2018
A Fresh Step Forward
by Joanne Ritchie
To start breaking down barriers and creating curiosity in trucking careers, we need to challenge ourselves to think creatively, embracing new ideas while supporting the best of what we're already doing.

April 1, 2018
Women and Trucking: Imagine That!
by Joanne Ritchie
Fresh ways to talk about opportunities, prerequisites, and benefits are needed to get more women excited about a career in trucking.

February 1, 2018
The Perilous Path to Autonomy
by Joanne Ritchie
The conundrum: would unleashing an imperfect automated technology kill or injure fewer people than the current human-controlled driving system?

January 1, 2018
Shaping Up the Shipper
by Joanne Ritchie
There's a growing call to address the issue of shipper responsibility when it comes to safety and compliance.


December 1, 2017
Putting the Boots to Bullying
by Joanne Ritchie
Workplace harassment can be an issue of economic prosperity: companies that foster healthy work environments tend to not only attract the best talent, but to keep it as well.

November 1, 2017
Driven to Distraction
by Joanne Ritchie
There's a growing concern about the distraction caused by bringing a variety of portable devices into the vehicle with us: avoid the irony of stupid death by smartphone.

October 1, 2017
Beep Beep! Too Close for Comfort: ADAS Still Needs Work
by Joanne Ritchie
Advanced technology that can prevent crashes may be a dream come true, but if you're asleep as the wheel, and that technology isn't on your truck, you may never wake up.

September 1, 2017
Overturning Turnover: Better Recruiting = Better Retention
by Joanne Ritchie
Giving potential drivers a realistic view of what they're going to experience should go hand-in-hand with promoting the benefits of the job; in other words, an effective recruitment program is really where driver retention begins.

August 1, 2017
Has Fake News Come to Trucking?
by Joanne Ritchie
Rather than fueling public angst and motorists' fear of big trucks, reliable media reporting could go a long way toward educating "four wheelers" about how to share the road, making it that much safer for all of us.

July 1, 2017
Need Truck Parking? Try Teamwork
by Joanne Ritchie
Governments and industry who are turning their backs on the truck problem could learn from the diverse group of people who put together this year's Salute to Women Behind the Wheel.

June 1, 2017
The Good Old Days?
by Joanne Ritchie
As bad as we think things are today, these days will become the good old days of our children.


July 1, 2016
Onboarding: Turning a Great Hire into a Great Employee
by Joanne Ritchie
Carriers need to develop finishing programs to integrate new drivers into the company; the ultimate payoff of a good onboarding process is increased loyalty and reduced turnover.

June 1, 2016
Board or Bolt? The 90-day Dilemma
by Joanne Ritchie
Getting a new hire "settled in" during the early days is probably the single most important way to impact turnover.

March 1, 2016
The Job of Finding Work
by Joanne Ritchie
Finding the right carrier can take an inordinate amount of time and patience: the homework required is not for the faint of heart.

February 1, 2016
The Nipigon River Bridge Fiasco
by Joanne Ritchie
We're long overdue for a policy change to the Canadian approach of planning, building and paying for highways.


October 1, 2015
Greenhouse Gas Phase 2: Why?
by Joanne Ritchie
There's more coming our way with this reduction proposal that we have ever had to contend with before, some of it so advanced it's barely off the drawing board.

September 1, 2015
Vote For, Vote Against, But Vote
by Joanne Ritchie
Voting in a Canadian federal election is one of the few things that's actually easy for truck drivers to do.

August 1, 2015
Who's Watching Who's Watching You?
by Joanne Ritchie
There's no reason drivers shouldn't be completely aware of every bit of information that  carriers, insurance companies, and others have on them.

June 1, 2015
Fun with ELDs
by Joanne Ritchie
If reward is more effective than punishment in changing behaviour, why not promote voluntary adoption of ELDs, combined with incentives for their use? 

February 1, 2015
My Winter's Tale: Look Ahead and be Prepared
by Joanne Ritchie
Some might think winter emergency kit is a little over the top, but I'm not taking any chances.

January 1, 2015
60-foot Containers: Here We Grow Again
by Joanne Ritchie
Increased productivity, plus a healthy measure of emissions reduction, is a success formula for smart carriers. Smart drivers deserve a share of the spoils too.


December 1, 2014
Weighing in on MELT
by Joanne Ritchie
While the mandatory training debate continues, we shouldn't let provincial licensing authorities off the hook when it comes to more rigorous procedures for granting Class A licenses.

October 1, 2014
Technology: Scourge or Saviour?
by Joanne Ritchie
As trucks become more complex, their reliability is suffering, making more than a few leery of anything associated with the T-word.

July 1, 2014
Finding the Right Fit (Part 2)
by Joanne Ritchie
Armed with the right information, you'll be in a better position to make apples-to-apples comparisons and find a carrier that fits.

June 1, 2014
Finding the Right Fit (Part 1)
by Joanne Ritchie
More than ever, the relationship between a carrier and its drivers and owner-operators has to be based on openness and fairness.

May 1, 2014
Sorry, What Did You Just Say?
by Joanne Ritchie
How trucking's vocabulary has changed! Today's jargon is mostly technology driven, and to a great extent, furthered by the product marketing people.

April 1, 2014
The Six-Point Plan to Achieving Success
by Joanne Ritchie
It's more important than ever that owner-operators are up to the challenge and ready to bring their best business practices to the table.

March 1, 2014
A SWIFT Solution to the S-Word?
by Joanne Ritchie
If trucking is serious about recruiting women, it has miles to go to make trucking an appealing career choice.

February 1, 2014
At the table or on the menu?
by Joanne Ritchie
If you have a point of view and some territory to protect, you need to be at the table. You can rest assured others will be there protecting their interests, perhaps at your expense.

January 1, 2014
My 2014 Wish List
by Joanne Ritchie
If my wishes for a safe workplace, a decent wage, and good work/life balance came true, there might be a lot more folks looking for a job behind the wheel of a truck.


December 1, 2013
Working OT on Overtime
by Joanne Ritchie
To start clarifying many of the misconceptions about overtime for truck drivers, one huge myth-busting exercise is in order.

September 1, 2013
Are We Overdue For a Look at Overtime Pay for Truck Drivers?
by Joanne Ritchie
Complexities of pay packages aside, nothing lets an employer off the hook from compensating employees for all the work they do, driving and otherwise.

August 1, 2013
Yanks, Canucks and Hours-of-Service
by Joanne Ritchie
Fatigue doesn't discriminate. So why the difference in HOS rules?

June 1, 2013
Running Compliant: a Weighty Problem
by Joanne Ritchie
Next to finding a place to park your truck at the end of the day, the most challenging thing is figuring out where you can operate it legally in the first place.

May 1, 2013
There Actually is a Free Lunch with Fuel Economy
by Joanne Ritchie
Fuel efficiency may not be easy, but diligence, determination, and a bit of creativity can produce dramatic results.

April 1, 2013
The Path of Least Resistance
by Joanne Ritchie
Are carriers serious about coming to grips with the root causes of the driver shortage, or will they drop the problem on someone else's doorstep?

February 1, 2013
Walk this Way
by Joanne Ritchie
As little as 150 minutes of brisk physical activity a week, broken down into 10-minute increments, leads to noticeable health benefits. Get walking! 

January 1, 2013
Ready or Not, Here Comes 2013
by Joanne Ritchie
New regulations: doomsday looming or an opportunity for more sleep, higher pay, and cleaner air?


November 1, 2012
Driver Health and Wellness: A Fine Balance
by Joanne Ritchie
More than ever, drivers are adding healthy lifestyle and good work-life balance to the list of "must haves" in their job.

September 1, 2012
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
by Joanne Ritchie
DoT should reward - not punish - drivers who report carriers that refuse to fix mechanical issues.

August 1, 2012
B.C. Truck Inspectors Throw Drivers Under the Bus
by Joanne Ritchie
When commercial vehicle inspectors are complicit in promoting the "killer truck" image, it's pretty hard to take.

July 1, 2012
A Cautionary Tale, Down Mexico Way
by Joanne Ritchie
Awareness and vigilence in the Mexico/US border zone can lessen the risk of being caught up unawares in the crime of human smuggling.

June 1, 2012
Watch for the Signs
by Joanne Ritchie
TruckSTOP campaign gives drivers the tools to help put the brakes on human trafficking.

May 1, 2012
Wellness News You Can Use
by Joanne Ritchie
If there's one top-of-mind issue for drivers today that almost no one was talking about 10 years ago, it's driver wellness.

April 1, 2012
An MTO Senior Moment?
by Joanne Ritchie
Are we so elated that Ontario is changing its descriminatory testing of senior drivers that we're overlooking the shortcomings of the proposal on the table?

February 1, 2012
Ontario Seniors Drivers Deserve Better
by Joanne Ritchie
OBAC to Minister: the number 65 as an arbitrary line between safe and not safe has got to go.

January 1, 2012
Oversized Loads, Undersized Rules
by Joanne Ritchie
Pilot car drivers deserve better and harmonized rules for loads requiring an escort, and more enforcement of existing regs.


November 1, 2011
Show Them the Money
by Joanne Ritchie
A revamped, trucking-friendly student loan program might be a worthwhile investment.

October 1, 2011
What's in a Name?
by Joanne Ritchie
Maybe we need to re-think just what we're asking for; perhaps it's not an EOBR after all.

September 1, 2011
Ontario Transport Minister Takes a Wrong Turn
by Joanne Ritchie
New rule for RVers is as pure and clear a double standard as you're ever likely to see in driver licensing. 

August 1, 2011
Will Trucking Get Thrown Under the Bus?
by Joanne Ritchie
A handful of poor drivers have put the U.S. bus industry under intense scrutiny lately; could trucking be next?  

July 1, 2011
Sweat the Small Stuff
by Joanne Ritchie
Look after the nickels and dimes and the dollars will take care of themselves.


December 1, 2010
Finding a Work-Life Balance That Works
by Joanne Ritchie
Understanding how work-life imbalance manifests itself in truck drivers is not only a key recruitment and retention strategy, it makes sound business sense.

November 1, 2010
Just Give'er
by Joanne Ritchie
PM and lifestyle choices can reduce risks of illness, but it's going to take all of us working together to "git 'er done."

October 1, 2010
For the Health of It
by Joanne Ritchie
There's a growing group of drivers out there bent on making their own health and well-being a priority. 

September 1, 2010
CSA 2010 - Shape Up or Ship Out
by Joanne Ritchie
Once a safety profile starts to sour, it'll be like having a target painted on the truck, so check out potential carriers before signing on.

August 1, 2010
Change is Good...in the Right Direction
by Joanne Ritchie
Historically, drivers have taken what's handed to them - but now it's time to kiss that old paradigm good-bye.

July 1, 2010
Clause for Concern
by Joanne Ritchie
Fundamental to negotiating a good contract is arming yourself with the business savvy to know what your best interests are.

June 1, 2010
Gauging Fuel Efficiency
by Joanne Ritchie
Simple fuel economy standards aren't the way to go - especially if the measurement tools aren't even our own.

April 1, 2010
EOBRs? Let’s Fix What’s Really Broken
By Joanne Ritchie
If we’re looking at an EOBR mandate, let’s at least be up-front about the motives.

March 1, 2010
Well Enough to Face the Future?
By Joanne Ritchie
Wellness should top the list of concerns in any discussion on the future of trucking.

February 1, 2010
CSA 2010: Learn the Rules
By Joanne Ritchie
It's a sea-change in the way US DOT rates and measures driver performance.

January 1, 2010
If You Aren't at the Table, You're on the Menu
By Joanne Ritchie
Others will be there protecting their interests – perhaps at your expense.


December 1, 2009
Fifteen Years and Counting
By Joanne Ritchie
Will another two years give us HoS everyone’s happy with?

October 1, 2009
Depressed and Drowsy
By Joanne Ritchie
Is it the driver’s fault, or is the job to blame?

September 1, 2009
Big Brother is Already Watching
By Joanne Ritchie
We need to be mindful of the footprint we leave after we log off.

August 1, 2009
Civil Libertarian?
By Joanne Ritchie
Why governments are mandating speed-limiters is a question they won't -
or can't - answer.

July 1, 2009
What Keeps me Awake at Night?
By Joanne Ritchie
How well will we adapt to the new paradigm when the economy get rolling again?

June 1, 2009
Membership Has Its Privileges
By Joanne Ritchie
LCVs are coming to Ontario, but you'll only get the chance to haul 'em if you belong to the right club.

May 1, 2009
Roadside Blitzes
By Joanne Ritchie
Since when did truck inspections become a spectator sport?

April 1, 2009
Shock Value?
By Joanne Ritchie
When a headline sacrifices truth for punch, it’s time to fight back.

February 1, 2009
One Badly Skewed View of the World
By Joanne Ritchie
MTO needs to get its house in order before focusing on speed-limiters.

January 1, 2009
Green is Pricey and Heavy Too
By Joanne Ritchie
It's about time governments came to the table with some help.


December 1, 2008
Preventive Maintenance
By Joanne Ritchie
Many drivers take better care of their trucks than their own bodies.

November 1, 2008
Take it to the Bank Green is the New Gold
By Joanne Ritchie
There are serious gains to be made in adopting an aggressive fuel conservation strategy.

October 1, 2008
Vote For, Vote Against...But Vote
By Joanne Ritchie
Don't give up your power by thinking you don't have any.

September 1, 2008
Turning the Tide
By Joanne Ritchie
Public opinion is a fickle thing, and it will sway faster in our favour if we take advantage of the best tools we have.

August 1, 2008
Told You So
By Joanne Ritchie
There's little in TC studies to suggest risks of mandating speed-limiters outweigh the benefits.

July 1, 2008
Welcome to Democracy
By Joanne Ritchie
It's a great system, if you happen to be in the right place at the right time.

June 1, 2008
Stormy Seas, Uncharted Waters
We should have seen it coming, but the perfect storm hit harder and faster than anyone expected.

May 1, 2008
My Muffins and the Missing Millions
By Joanne Ritchie
What's happening to all the surcharge money paid out by shippers?

March 1, 2008
Grey Matters
By Joanne Ritchie
When will trucking recognize the value older workers bring to the labour force?

January 1, 2008
Gimme Empty Acres
By Joanne Ritchie
Truck parking in Canada is pathetic: the message might finally be getting through.


November 15, 2007
The Need to Know
By Joanne Ritchie
Nothing's going to replace good old-fashioned know-how.

November 1, 2007
The Tipping Point
By Joanne Ritchie
It took a lot of deaths to get some action on high-speed car crashes in Ontario. But will it last?

October 1, 2007
Every Call, Every Vote Counts
By Joanne Ritchie
Ignore them, and they'll ignore you.

August 15, 2007 
The Six Point Plan
By Joanne Ritchie
Success doesn't happen by accident: plan your work and work your plan.

August 1, 2007
Get up to Speed, Ministers
By Joanne Ritchie
There's a lot of smoke blowing around the speed-limiter issue, and it's not coming from speeding trucks.

July 1, 2007
Good for the Goose, But Not the Gander
By Joanne Ritchie
We agree. It's hard to accept any policy that's not supported by numbers and hard evidence.

June 1, 2007
You Gotta Go, But Customs Says No
By Joanne Ritchie
Denial of the most basic of human necessities under the guise of protecting our national interests might work with suspected terrorists . . . but with law-abiding truckers?

April 1, 2007
The Power of the Pen
By Joanne Ritchie
A brief, well written letter – on good old fashioned paper – is the most effective way to communicate with an elected official.

March 1, 2007
What's Another Twenty-One Inches?
By Joanne Ritchie
Canada's 244-inch wheelbase restriction may have to be re-evaluated in 2010.

February 1, 2007
A Cure for the Symptom, Not the Disease
By Joanne Ritchie
Black Boxes for bad guys don't get to the root of the HOS compliance issue.

January 1, 2007
No Parking? No Kidding!
By Joanne Ritchie
When sleeping drivers are rousted by police and sent packing in a snowstorm, it's time to deal with our parking shortage.


December 1, 2006
The Need to Know
By Joanne Ritchie
The onslaught of technology vs. the need for good old-fashioned knowledge and understanding.

November 1, 2006
Still Wondering What You’ll Get?
By Joanne Ritchie
There is no substitute for strength in numbers, and no excuse for the lack of it.

November 15, 2006
Made-in-Canada Truth in Leasing
By Joanne Ritchie
Full disclosure of terms and conditions of the carrier/owner-operator contract is one way of leveling the playing field between the good and bad carriers.

October 1, 2006
Two in a Tango – Part II
By Joanne Ritchie
It all depends how carefully you choose your partner.

September 1, 2006
Two in a Tango – Part I
By Joanne Ritchie
It all depends how carefully you choose your partner.

August 1, 2006
Seven Habits of Successful Owner-Operators
By Joanne Ritchie
Success doesn't happen by accident: plan your work and work your plan.

July 1, 2006
To Tell The Truth
By Joanne Ritchie
Full disclosure of terms and conditions of the carrier/owner-operator contract is one way of leveling the playing field between the good and bad carriers.

June 1, 2006
A Culture of Compliance
By Joanne Ritchie
Run legal, make a decent living; what's wrong with that?

May 1, 2006
Money for the Picking?
By Joanne Ritchie
Industry leaders are saying these are boom times for trucking.

April 1, 2006
Closing the Gap
By Joanne Ritchie
It's a long and pricey road from Class A license holder to professional truck driver.

March 15, 2006
How Do We Close the Gap?
By Joanne Ritchie
Carriers need to invest more in the development of their future workforce.

March 1, 2006
The Cost of Speed
By Joanne Ritchie
More fuel-efficient driving is money in your pocket – no money down, no monthly payments, and nothing to install.

February 1, 2006
Priced Out of Existence?
By Joanne Ritchie
Costs aren't coming down, so something else has to change.

January 1, 2006
Wasted Days and Wasted Nights
By Joanne Ritchie
Thirty hours a week. Fifty working-weeks a year. Do the math; what are you waiting for?


December 15, 2005
Same Old, Same Old
By Joanne Ritchie
Of all our problems, the one that confounds us most is short-term thinking.

December 1, 2005
Mileage or Percentage?
By Joanne Ritchie
Either way, make sure you're getting your fair share of what the customer is paying.

November 1, 2005
Leveling the Playing Field?
By Joanne Ritchie
If a level playing field is what OTA is after with speed limiters, let's go all the way.

October 1, 2005
The $21,000 Question
By Joanne Ritchie
Fatten the margin between what you make and what it costs to make it: that's what you take to the bank.

September 1, 2005
Daycare for Truckers
By Joanne Ritchie
Is spoon-feeding owner-operators the best approach to a successful partnership?

September 1, 2005
Spoon-feeding Owner-Ops: Hardly a Favour
By Joanne Ritchie
Getting in should be a lot harder than staying in.

July 1, 2005
Get a Real Job
By Jon Summers
With so many experts telling us what to do, how can we go wrong?

June 1, 2005
Say 'No' to Cheap Freight
By Joanne Ritchie
Rates that don't cover costs are the problem, not high fuel prices.

May 15, 2005
What Are We Waiting For?
By Joanne Ritchie
We've the got the influence, let's put it to good use.

May 1, 2005
City By-Laws, Part II
By Don Robertson
There's a general willingness to better understand the issues.

March 15, 2005
Show ‘em the Money
By Joanne Ritchie
Owner-operators don't work for goodwill alone. They too need to make a profit to stay in business.


December 15, 2004
It’s a Cryin’ Shame
By Joanne Ritchie
Tony Leckie may be small potatoes in the Martha Stewart world of corporate crime, but his clean sweep of OBAC's bank account was not a good thing.

October 15, 2004
Just Who is this OBAC Crowd?
By Joanne Ritchie
With all the confusion surrounding various owner-operator associations – past and present – it's time we shed some light on OBAC's agenda.

October 1, 2004
No Rest for the Weary Trucker
By Joanne Ritchie
Canada's national highway system doesn't seem to include rest areas. Why not?

August 1, 2004
National Owner-Operator Month – August 2004
By Mike Smith
Maybe it's time we applauded Canada's hardest working men and women.

July 1, 2004
OBAC Meets, Joins with NL Group
By Mike Smith
Partnership forms the cornerstone of OBAC's strategic alliance plan.

June 1, 2004
It Takes Respect & Resolve
By Mike Smith
Partnering with a carrier can produce better results than banging heads with one.

March 1, 2004
Establishing the Real Value of Drivers
By Mike Smith
By hiding much of our on-duty time on Line 1 of the logbook, we're really diminishing the value of what we do.


December 1, 2002
Clearing the Air: OBAC's Position Regarding the Missing Accountant
By Mike Smith
This article first appeared in the December 2002 issue of Truck News and Truck West magazines.

November 1, 2002
Doing Time; Waiting Time, That Is
By Mike Smith
This article first appeared in the November 2002 issue of Truck News and Truck West magazines.

October 1, 2002
Introducing the Owner-Operator's Business Association of Canada (OBAC)
By Mike Smith
This article first appeared in the October 2002 issue of Truck News and Truck West magazines.


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