Todd Dills

One driver’s war: Taming CSA and the DataQs challenge process

I finally got the the opportunity to meet Boonville, Ind.-based driver Ed Webb (pictured) in person yesterday afternoon at the newly reopened downtown TA here in Nashville (speaking of which, Aaron Tippen's performing tomorrow morning there at 10 a.m. and 12 noon if you're headed down Tennessee way today). Webb was a source in my reporting for the Truckers News cover story this month, just released, about the new CSA compliance program. Before and since ...

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Truckstops = Coffeehouses with copious rig parking?

A new index tracking sales of goods and services at highway truckstops, the McLane-NATSO quarterly index, recently tracked an interesting rise in the sale of hot beverages like coffees, cappucinos and teas at truckstops. That category of sales jumped 34 percent in 2010 compared to the previous year, suggesting to me at least a little more than freight picking up. Turns out NATSO thinks so, too -- in some sense, anyway. "Truckstops ... are continuously diversifying ...

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‘American Trucker’ rebroadcasts; my interview with the host

If you missed the debut episodes of the "American Trucker" series last Thursday on the Speed Channel, it's being rebroadcast tonight at 8 and 11 p.m. ET, and 8 a.m. tomorrow. The next new episodes follow on Thursday, with "Bandit and the Snowman" and "Robb and the Bear," the latter likely to include sneak-peek material about Paul Sagehorn's B.J. and the Bear rig I've written about so much here. Catch a clip from the sneak-peek ...

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Notable independent Colorado truck stop closes shop; chance encounters on the road

The Rocky Mountain Travel Center just north of Pueblo, Colo., on I-25 exit 110 closed up shop yesterday, reported Carlos Mora of the Pueblo Chieftain newspaper. According to Mora's report, the owner cites a confluence of factors for the demise of the near-half-century-old family business that was the truck stop and travel plaza. Chief among them appeared to be large bank loans structured in such a way as to become untenable in repayment, owner Grant ...

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Correcting the ‘B.J. & the Bear’ truck replica record

When I wrote about the new "American Trucker" TV series, premiering tonight on the Speed Channel, I mentioned their sample episode, in which host Robb Mariani runs through the build/restoration process on Paul Sagehorn's original "B.J. & the Bear" Kenworth K100 and matching trailer, and included a photo of Paul with his other, 1984 Kenworth K100 painted as a replica of the B.J. tractor and used in his owner-operator business. I'd taken the picture in ...

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Mack CEO shined as plant worker on ‘Undercover Boss’

This past Sunday, as we wrote here last week, Mack Trucks CEO Denny Slagle appeared on the popular CBS show Undercover Boss disguised in a mustache, cap, and toupee. Slagle (pictured, right) struggled to install front covers straight on 11-liter engines at the Hagerstown, Md., engine plant, took corners too fast driving a high-lifting fork truck while picking parts at a parts distribution facility near Baltimore, and managed to put a small nick in an ...

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South African driver strike approaching closure after a violent week

Always a shame to see haulers around the world taking out their on-road frustrations on their peers. The news in South Africa this morning (photo of striking drivers by Lerato Maduna) is that, after a week of work stoppage by drivers' unions in that nation that saw more than a little violence perpetrated on haulers who kept running during the strike, the unions leading it have come to an agreement for a two-year phased-in 17.5 ...

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Have you seen your CSA scorecard?

Back just before the new CSA Safety Measurement System went live in December, I reported on a driver-focused CSA scoring service upcoming from the folks at CSA data mining firm Vigillo, which has been working with carriers for a long time now to develop in-house systems for tracking the progress of their efforts at improving and managing their SMS percentile rankings, in the run-up to and since the release of publicly available data on carriers. ...

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Owner-operator John Crozman emerges from Dakota blizzard hailed a hero

"I’ve been doing this a long time, 30 years," says owner-operator John Crozman (pictured) of his long trucking career, for the past two years leased to Albertville, Minn.-based Long Haul Trucking. Over those three decades, like so many haulers, he's seen his fair share of on-highway rescue action. "It’s not a problem. You come upon accidents and try to maybe help somebody out. I think all truckers have all been in this situation. We’ve all ...

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Interviewing Dan Heister, Overdrive’s Trucker of the Year

In this month's issue of Overdrive, I wrote about the recession-surviving prowess of Boyd Bros.-leased owner-operator Dan Heister (pictured), whose mastery of his short-medium haul niche in Boyd's self-dispatch/percentage-pay Independent Express program brought him through the really bad times in 2008 to ever-greater success this year. In addition to recently purchasing what amounts to a small farm in Erin, Tenn., where he'll move the family later this year, he's Overdrive's 2011 Trucker of the Year, ...

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