Channel 19

Todd Dills

One dispatcher’s public salute to the American truck driver

| August 11, 2011

In case you’ve missed news of this one, which has made the rounds of various email blasts and blogs, it’s one of the best high-profile salutes to owner-operators and drivers I’ve come across in mainstream media of recent memory. Written by Minnesota-based fleet manager Dan Hanson and published last week in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, it seems to stem from a heartfelt appreciation for the difficulties experienced by his drivers in today’s hurry-up climate, particularly as that relates to on-highway interactions with four-wheelers.

It starts this way:

Let me tell you a little about the truck driver you just flipped off because he was passing another truck, and you had to cancel the cruise control and slow down until he completed the pass and moved back over.

His truck is governed to 68 miles an hour, because the company he leases it from believes it keeps him and the public and the equipment safer.

The truck he passed was probably running under 65 mph to conserve fuel. You see, the best these trucks do for fuel economy is about 8 miles per gallon. With fuel at almost $4 per gallon — well, you do the math. And, yes, that driver pays for his own fuel.

He needs to be 1,014 miles from where he loaded in two days. And he can’t fudge his federally mandated driver log, because he no longer does it on paper; he is logged electronically.

Read the full piece here.

And take the time to comment. While many of the comments at the bottom of Hanson’s story appear to be from drivers, the nastiness of many others might well tell a sad tale about the state of the relationship between the trucking world and the general community of motorists. It is the internet, though, where extremity of opinion exists in abundance, of course. All the same, there doesn’t seem to me to be much hope for positive fruit growing from lack of engagement, so keep the lines open.

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  • gary donnelly

    wow that story was so true, my schedule is similar,i run from flint, mi to kansas city twice a week ,my first window is tuesday 0700 in kansas city which can take 2 to 3 hours to unload, then i gotta be back by 0800 in bay city michigan on wed, morning and i have 3 more pickups in michigan. i run around 3300 miles a week,and one wreck, construction, blown tire just ruins my whole schedule. i can run up to 72 mph which sometimes i do to make up some time, except in michigan where i only run 62, thats where i got clipped by a car doing a nascar moveing in and out of traffic. i think they need to raise our speed limit up to 70 where the cars go 70. and slow us back down in the cities.

  • Todd Dills

    Gary, Thanks for the thoughts — that’s exactly what I thought when I read Hanson’s story: I’ve heard this kind of story from so many drivers, whose runs don’t leave much time for error at all. Likewise on the split speed limits. Illinois, at least, finally did away with theirs. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.