Channel 19

Todd Dills

Stiff wind to pay the toll: The 2011 Channel 19 year in review

| January 01, 2012

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.

Trucking smartphone apps continued to proliferate.

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. 

  • Marc Mayfield

    Thank you, Todd. 2011 was also the year you introduced me (and, I hope, many of your readers) to the songs of Noah Collins.

    Looking forward to more Channel 19 in 2012. Cheers, All Best, HNY.

  • Mustang

    Well done Todd, excellent review!!! There were good times and bad times (especially the passing of my puppy dog Fred)and you covered more in a few lines than any of us could have done in two weeks of typing. “Yer a good blogger” You do justice to the truckin industry. HAPPY NW YEAR

  • tdills

    Appreciate it, Mustang! Stay safe out there. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.