Todd Dills

Interviewing Overdrive 2010 Trucker of the Year Mike Crawford

Always a pleasure, it is, to get a call from Mike "Mustang" Crawford (pictured), the Prime-leased owner-operator who is Overdrive's 2010 Trucker of the Year (follow that link for my story about him in our February edition). I got one such call just last week. Crawford told me about his truck's recent inadvertent inclusion in preparation festivities for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade along 54th Street in Miami. "I got down there on ...

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Wild game cooking classes spawned by ice-roads coincidence

As Todd L. Disher quipped last week in the lead of his piece for Alaska's Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman newspaper about Carlile Transportation driving instructor Phil Kromm, "it’s only natural an episode of 'Ice Road Truckers' would spawn a series of culinary classes focused on gourmet wild game." Kromm, see, is an avid propane griller of wild caribou and other Alaskan delicacies, which he butchers and dresses himself. Kromm ended up, in his words, as a "secondary character" in the Ice Roads season ...

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Truckers key in averting mix-up in Granite Falls, Wash., bypass

In the Everett, Wash., Daily Herald newspaper late last week a story appeared about two roundabouts being constructed on a new bypass of the growing Granite Falls, Wash., community in the central part of the state, very near vast National Forest areas. According to the story's writer, Bill Sheets, truckers were instrumental in pointing out a fatal flaw for any bypass route, for certain -- "they were too narrow for some trucks" -- well after construction had already begun. At ...

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Fillmore, Ill., trucker carves wooden truck models with lifelike detail

Profiled in the Dectaur, Ill.-based Herald-Review, Jeff Miller is a truck driver who wields a wood-carving knife with considerable skill, building wooden models of classic truck-tractors.

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Satirical news mag picks up on texting ban ironies

Humor mag The Onion is known for picking apart the news of the day, and the news business, in often satirically cutting fashion -- in a story published years ago in its pages it ran a picture of an orange-jumpsuited prisoner wearing a crown of thorns with the headline "Christ kills two in abortion-clinic bombing." It picked up on the ironies inherent in last week's ban on the practice of texting while driving in this faux man-on-the-street series ...

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Conway Truckload VP Randy Cornell jumps out of plane

Though it's unclear how exactly this is a safety-improvement motivator, Randy Cornell, safety VP with Joplin, Mo.-based Con-way Truckload, sky-dived from 10,000 feet after the fleet's drivers met a safety challenge to get its "accident rate down by a creditable 34 percent in just five years," as reported at HandyShippingGuide.com and elsewhere. "The figure equates to less than 8 accidents per million miles driven according to the company’s strict definition -- any incident when a truck connects with people or property and ...

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More local fame for driver/songwriter Larry Morris

The Missouri-based Daily Dunklin Democrat newspaper once again featured a driver I had the pleasure of meeting in Nashville late last year. Campbell, Mo.-based Double G Trucking hauler Larry Morris's "Cotton Fields to Nashville" song was selected as the title track for a Johnny Cash tribute record, a coproduction of TRS Music Group and Plush Records. The companies' heads, A.J. Siegler and Charlie Ray, respectively, showed up unexpectedly at Morris's Campbell home to present him ...

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Ban eating while driving too?

Though the writer played it as an example of distracted driving, could it be an argument for more flexibility in the hours of service? Whatever the case, given today's news that a nationwide texting-while-driving ban is in the offing, I guess it couldn't be helped that Joseph Rose of the Oregonian newspaper wrote on the Hard Drive blog of 45-year-old Los Angeles-based trucker Andrew Quintero's accident on I-5. Quintero's truck and trailer crossed the median and came to rest ...

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Blow dealt to industry ‘bad actor’

As someone who talks to proud and professional owner-operators and company drivers on a daily basis, I'm no stranger to a particularly common sentiment: the notion that the actions of a very few within the trucking industry strike huge blows to the collective image of the many. Whether it's a criminal broker-fraud scheme, a big mistake that leads to a deadly accident or just a bad joke at the expense of an industry newbie we're ...

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25-year-old trucker makes it past ‘American Idol’ judges

At American Idol auditions in Orlando, Fla., 25-year-old Matt Lawrence breezed past the judges with a soulful rendition of Ray LaMontagne's "Trouble." What most viewers might not have noticed was Lawrence's occupation -- he's a manager with his father's trucking company in Starke, Fla. Less sanguine, perhaps, is the fact that he's also done time for bank robbery (at age 15). In any case, below is the interview Idol interview conducted with him after judges ...

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