Stiff wind to pay the toll: The 2011 Channel 19 year in review
One owner-operator was pledging “No Apologies!” to anyone for his business’ success and calling on others to adopt a similar stance in the face of tightening regulations, parking problems along Minnesota highways were made worse with rest area closures as the state government shut down, L.A.’s I-405 “Carmageddon” became a “Truckermaggedon” and American Trucker entered its second season on the Speed Channel with an episode about tornado relief efforts in Joplin.
A car hauler made a mistake.
Trucking smartphone apps continued to proliferate, and long-haul driver Paul Clewis was uninjured and would drive out the remainder of the 2011 season after an attempted right-side pass resulted in disaster for 2009 Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram’s four-door Infiniti — and Clewis’ tractor’s front end.
Not only did I get a new all-time favorite book penned by a highway hauler in Marc Mayfield’s In the Driver’s Seat, a memoir of the trucking life, but the Great American Trucking Show saw a big further push for driver health efforts, even amid 100-plus degree temps in Dallas, just as we were again saying “____” to electronic logs on the blog, given the 2010 EOBR rule’s announced permanent vacation.
A dispatcher paid the American truck owner-operator a compliment, Keys Truckers Jan and James McCarter penned a modest proposal for U.S. lawmakers hellbent on regulating the industry into extinction, fake bull’s testicles were roasting in litigious fire in South Carolina, and Overdrive geared up for its September 50th anniversary with a reader-survey-based top-ten list of the all-time greatest trucking songs.
And, as if the weather hadn’t been bad enough, the East Coast shook.
In Overdrive‘s 50th-anniversary month, other anniversaries were remarked upon at length. Lawyers were continuing to air four-wheeler-baiting anti-truck ads, while other lawyers were advising drivers on novel strategies for dealing with “hot loads.”
The second U.S.-Mexican cross-border program began to much fanfare and backlash, while an Illinois-based driver was making it one of his defining issues in a run for his district’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives and owner-operator Jim Schlise dealt with the price of fuel with some cheeky graphics applied to his fuel tanks.
The commercial vehicle operator texting ban had drivers humming a silly ditty the nation over, a self-proclaimed “bedbugger” was paid $25,000 for writing a story, and floodwaters revealed their wreckage with recession.
A new lobby emerged to gain drivers’ support of National Pork Rind Day.
Drivers danced with their rigs for a chance at money, and the first-annual driver-organized Truck Driver Social Media Convention kicked off in Tunica, Miss. — an independent won a set of side skirts out of the deal, and many others left mobilized to make a real difference for drivers in the industry. It’s this event that sticks out among all the others I attended and/or covered via the blog this year, not the least for its daylong simplicity and the frankness of the discussions. Look for details to emerge about a follow-up in the coming year.