Speakout

Overdrive Staff | June 01, 2012

Young drivers, note the vehicles around you

I had been driving for 30 years before I became disabled in June 2010. I urge younger drivers who love the road as much as I did to drive safely.

My own experience shows the benefits of doing so. Once while driving in the right lane on Interstate 40 in Arizona I observed a police car coming up behind another vehicle. The patrol car did not have his lights on and appeared to be intimidating the vehicle he was behind. As the vehicle passed me, I could see that it was an older gentleman and, I assumed, his wife. I realized he was doing everything he could to move out of the patrol car’s path, so I was prepared when he had to cut me short in his haste.

I avoided a potentially fatal accident because I took the few seconds it takes to look down. Imagine such a scenario with a fully loaded truck going 75 mph and a driver not paying attention. It goes to show that staying aware of the vehicles around you can save lives. Take the time to look around you. You might be saving someone’s life.

WOLFGANG MAHN | Retired owner-operator, previously leased to Landstar Ranger | Salisbury, N.C.

“My problem isn’t with safety violations. [The problem] centers around the increased damage to our roads and bridges by expanding the weight we can haul. I don’t care if they add a third axle to the standard van trailer, but 17,000 more pounds is still more weight on our roads. The additional stopping distance needed is also a concern for the heavier loads, not to mention the increased fuel usage by today’s trucks.”

— Chris Milburn, in response to news that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is analyzing data to see if heavier truckloads bring more safety violations than light ones.

Why did you go into trucking and how long will you stay in it?

“I went into trucking to see the United States and get paid to travel. All of us truckers are like family, too. I’m going to keep on driving till I can’t go anymore.”

MALCOLM LANE | Palmer Gregory and Sons company driver | Westmoreland, Tenn.

“I got laid off in the 2008 recession, and I had worked in trucking on and off. Now I’m full-time over-the-road, and I’ll drive till I’m too old.”

DAVID GREER | Owner-operator leased to FedEx Custom Critical | Lenoir, N.C.

“I was working for Chrysler when it closed, I needed a job, and there are a bunch of truckers in Mississippi. I want to buy my own truck next year, so I’ll stay in it the rest of my life.”

RODRICK ROBINSON | Macon, Miss.

Southeast Logistics company driver

“My father drove for 30 years and showed me the ins and outs. I’m carrying on a family legacy, and I guess I’ll drive till my legs fall off.” MATTHEW BRINK | Dallas

USA Trucking company driver

“I moved to Tennessee after I bought a real estate magazine there, and when that fell through, I needed a job.  Tennessee is the crossroads of the trucking industry. I’ll keep on going till I retire.” BILL THOMAS | Gallatin, Tenn.

Owner-operator leased to Zipp Express

“My wife said, ‘Why don’t you look into trucking,’ so I did. I’ll keep on driving until I can’t anymore.”

MOHAMMED PYARALI | El Paso, Texas

Owner-operator leased to FX Express Trucking

“I’m just glad to be able to help other people. And if someone is putting me in these positions, I wish they’d stop.”

— NFI Industries driver Michael Hawthorne, of Somerdale, N.J., speaking to ABCNews.com after helping deliver an infant on an interstate near Dallas, his third roadside delivery since 1999.

 

 

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