Roadside Attractions

Overdrive Staff | April 03, 2011

“I won’t say buy our products just because they are made in America. But all things being equal, I think it’s important to put your thumb on the scale for this country.”

— Mack President and CEO Denny Slagle, right, working at the company’s truck assembly plant on CBS’ “Undercover Boss.” Posing as a building contractor making a job transition, Slagle was presented with rumors among Mack workers that production plants were moving south of the border.

Bill Mack’s Live Necklace

Legendary trucking radio host Bill Mack recalls a visit he received from some truck-driving fans, bearing a special gift, years ago during a remote broadcast from the Ft. Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. When Mack went into a commercial, “All of a sudden they came up behind me and… I felt this thing going around my neck.” Check the Overdrive videos at to hear Mack’s account of getting up close and personal with a boa constrictor.

Take a test, win a flatbed

Fontaine is giving away a new Revolution 52 aluminum flatbed on Labor Day weekend. Just who gets it will depend in part on CDL holders’ ability to master online “training.” That includes completing a quiz on the Revolution’s engineering, including questions such as: Did engineers eliminate cross-members in the Revolution to reduce weight? Enter the contest at

Channel 19

‘A situation of heroic proportions’

Long Haul Trucking owner-operator John Crozman, of Blackhawk, S.D., has seen his share of highway rescue action, the most recent of which involved a treacherous South Dakota blizzard on I-29. “We are writing to advise you of a situation of heroic proportions,” wrote Thomas and Mary Lynne Fischer. The retired teachers from Winnipeg, Manitoba, wanted Long Haul CEO John Daniels to know of Crozman’s efforts on Feb. 3 to rescue them from an off-ramp in 50-mph winds at temps well below zero. They were trapped for hours in their car, with their heat failing. “We have always had the utmost respect for those individuals involved in the trucking industry,” they wrote, “and now we owe our lives to one of them.” For the full story, see the Feb. 17 entry on the Channel 19 blog.

Lives lost during driver strike

Striking truck drivers in South Africa attacked fellow haulers who continued running during a weeklong work stoppage during February, which ended with an agreement to boost union driver wages. Broker Robert Olivier, who was a driver there until a knee injury took him off the road in 2005, noted among factors contributing to the violence a deteriorated sense of camaraderie among racially diverse haulers in a country with 11 official languages. After “a whole lot of lives have been lost, many trucks burnt to the ground, stonings, beatings and damage to private property,” he said, “if I ever returned to the road I would keep to myself and only mix with people I already knew.” For the full interview with Olivier, see the Feb. 21 entry on the Channel 19 blog.

“As a driver who owns his big rig, I am frequently frustrated, amazed, disturbed or just plain ticked by those who are uninformed, misinformed, opinionated or just clueless.”

— New Cumberland, Pa., resident Tom Bowers in a letter to the editor of the Harrisburg, Pa., Patriot-News. Bowers was responding to a reader blaming the bulk of energy inefficiencies in transportation on big rigs. For links to Bowers’ letter, as well as a commentary on truck efficiency per pound by Overdrive 2007 Trucker of the Year Henry Albert, see the Dec. 10, 2010, entry on the Channel 19 blog. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.