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FMCSA chief honors safe drivers at OOIDA celebration

| October 18, 2013

Trucking’s top regulator said Friday that she was “grateful and honored” to call the names of 35 “remarkably impressive owner-operators” in recognition of their accident-free years.

FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro talks with OOIDA member John Taylor, who was recognized for 42 years of accident-free driving.

FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro talks with OOIDA member John Taylor, who was recognized for 62 years of accident-free driving.

Anne Ferro, head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, did the honors on behalf of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. The Truckers for Safety recognition was part the Heart of America Trucking Show, held in Kansas City, Kan., for OOIDA’s 40th anniversary celebration.

Ferro also credited OOIDA with driving home the safety message to its membership.

Despite persistent cold rain seasoned with a little sleet, the mood was a warm one as honorees expressed mutual respect for fellow veteran truckers.

When the honor roll had been called, Ferro quickly sought out John Taylor of Cross Junction, Va., who has racked up 62 accident-free years at the wheel of a big rig. Other drivers, even those with 20 or 30 safe years, likewise quizzed him on his career success and longevity. Despite the weather, many lingered on the stage for nearly 30 minutes, talking about the business.

“I haven’t cashed a paycheck that didn’t come from trucking since I was 15,” Taylor told Overdrive.

Lean, rugged and bright-eyed at 79, Taylor spent much his long career pulling a reefer, and still runs every now and then with a trusty Kenworth W900.

He emphasizes the importance of road awareness and says a driver’s skills develop with experience. But the secret to being happy in trucking is in being able to understand people and get along with them. He also suggests that driver distraction – in both automobiles and trucks – has become a serious problem.

And he even admits that he started driving, unlicensed, at 13 – so his crashless record is actually longer then the official mark.

“I’ve never met a professional driver who wasn’t proud to do the job, every day, without running into folks,” said Todd Spencer, OOIDA’s executive vice president. “And, you know, it’s not easy. To be a safe driver you not only have to know what you’re doing, you have to anticipate what other people are going to do. That only comes with having your mind right, having the experience, and continuing to learn.”

The show continues Saturday at the Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.



  • MercenaryMan

    Thank You John Taylor for showing us all how its done, Good job Sir…

  • kevin

    A truly remarkable feat that will be hard to match.

  • Kevin J. Reidy

    John Taylor runs into his first wreck…Anne Ferro.

  • William McKelvie

    Oh so that was the catch with Ferro, giving out awards. While the number of years of driving safe is commendable, I think of the words that Rush Limbaugh said to that young 14 year old just the other day “Because when you want to be liked — everybody, not just a teacher. When you want to be liked, you’re automatically making yourself subservient or subordinate.” So giving out the trophies was the bait for her to be everybody’s friend. smdh

  • Daniel Kupke

    Before I would have accepted anything from Fiero I would have liked to have asked her “”WHY”” there hast to be these never ending regs passed on the trucking industry makeing it so misserable to just haul from point to point to earn a decent liveing ??

  • Stormy

    Anne Ferro probably made an emergency exit to call her office to start regulations on age of drivers.

    Come on OOIDA we know all know exactly where we stand with Queen Anne. I can’t believe you could possibly think anybody in trucking would feel honored to get an award or any mention or attention from Anne Ferro.

    Her main goal in life is to put small O/O’s out of business. I am sure everybody made her feel warm, cozy and welcome.

  • Gary

    Ya how many hit and runs did he have ?????I say bullshit lier !

  • Gary

    KISS ASS OOIDA your about as worthless as the ATA ! Grow some balls and start working for the membership you have!!!!!!

  • MarsRiver

    Mr. Taylor pointed out to a crowd and Ms. Ferro why we keep getting hammered with regulations. The Federal Regulations started in the 1930’s. The DOT or USDOT started in 1967. However, when Mr. Taylor started driving there were not the numbers of people nor an Interstate System on which to drive. Whether he did or did not drive this many years without bumping into something is determined by a definition at the time. What was known as an incident is now called an accident. Now we scrutinize Preventability. Overdrive has a column asking you to determine the answer after you read a story. ( Brain training you ). Mr. Taylor, I would like to thank you for serving our country and her people as I do All the men and women that do likewise. This is what sets us apart from the rest of the world, determination and the ability to persevere ( CSA or Not )!

  • lastgoodusername

    A complaint or a complement has the same value coming from a fool.

  • HHC

    William, the ceremony was not private, the entire show, including that, was open to the public.

  • William McKelvie

    I was told someone wanted to get into the ceremony and was not allowed? Maybe the information we got was wrong. I was not there, so I cannot honestly state either or. But I still say it was a bad move. Ferro is the farthest from safety. It is about control. If she was about safety, there would be flexibility in the new HOS. The 168 hour rule would not even be a start of a thought much less an actual regulation. And the break would be flexible itself.

  • Albertus Caritas

    The reality of the matter is this: “Taking (1) ride-along with an owner operator as a side kick from MD to MO doesn’t make anyone an expert on FTL & LTL transportation matters”. Waiting to do so 4+ years into the job, is a “Day Late & a Dollar short”, reckless and irresponsible from where I see it.

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