All Roads Back to Trucking
Bison Transport driver Roger Maltman’s passion for trucking can be traced to when he was a teenager. “When I was 13, I started cross-docking trailers and hand-bombing loads at the warehouse of my sister and brother-in-law’s trucking terminal after school and on weekends,” Maltman says. “By the time I was 16, I was driving a truck full-time.”
Maltman, who has logged more than 2 million, accident-free miles over a 34-year career, says even his other jobs at the time, including owning his own construction company, had to do with transportation and ultimately led him back to trucking. “It’s the freedom of the job,” Maltman said. “It’s the next best thing to being your own boss.”
Although he enjoys the freedom, he says it is hard to ignore the dangers that come with it. “This job is 95 percent boredom and 5 percent pure terror,” Maltman says. “There’s not much in between.”
Maltman has spent the past 17 years of his career with Bison Transport, based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. In 2009, he became the first driver to reach 2 million safe miles at the company.
The key to excelling as a driver, Maltman says, is taking the responsibility of making the proper decisions when it comes to safe driving. Maltman says he takes three things into consideration — the load he’s carrying, the traffic around him and the weather conditions.
“After a while, you begin to know what people on the road are going to do before they even know it,” Maltman says. “It also takes drivers looking out for each other on the road.”
Maltman works to protect the environment by recycling plastic bottles and aluminum cans and saving fuel while driving his 2011 Freightliner Cascadia, which is speed-governed at 62 miles per hour at his request. Even though he does not pay for his fuel, Maltman says he thinks saving fuel is better for the environment. “The less fuel I burn, the less gas exhaust goes into the atmosphere,” he says. “To me it’s just common sense.”
Maltman says he has had the opportunity to mentor other drivers and to teach new drivers about laws, policies and procedures needed to move a load from one location to the other.
“I always stress the importance of safety and a positive attitude,” he says.
Q & A
Q: What’s one thing you always carry with you in your truck on the road?
A: I always carry my 2 million mile ring. In reality, it’s just another day, just another number, but when you stand back and look at it at the end of the day — that’s something.
Q: What advice would you give younger drivers?
A: It’s all about keeping a good mind-set for the company for safety and compliance, finding out what works best, watching out for the other guy and following your intuition on reading other drivers’ behavior.
Q: What is your most memorable moment in your years of trucking?
A: The other day I was driving two 50-foot trailers through heavy wind and freezing rain. I looked in my rearview mirror and watched the wind sway the trailers back and forth. In a situation like that, you can’t just stop abruptly. After I caught back up with the rest of the traffic, the trailers were still squirming. Snow, wind and ice just make a terrifying combination.
Editor’s note: Roger Maltman is a finalist for the 2012 Company Driver of the Year, which is sponsored by Truckers News and the Truckload Carriers Association. The winner we be announced at TCS’s annual convention, March 4-7, 2012 in Orlando, Fla.