Blogs

Owner-operator’s record hits Roots Music charts

I'll bet Overdrive October 2009 Trucker of the Month Howard Salmon, an independent you may likewise remember from a couple posts (here and here) late last year about his part in the Convoy for a Cure festivities in Texas, is having a good old time watching news of all the snow folks all over the country are suffering through. He is, after all, out in Hawaii with his wife where he lives before coming back to the continental U.S. to ...

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‘Ice Road Trucker’ comes home to thaw

When I rode with Alaskan Haul Road driver George Spears in the summer of 2006, he was planning to retire in the next year or so. However, he kept postponing the day. Then he was asked to stay for production of the third season of the History Channel's "Ice Road Truckers" during the 2008-2009 winter. It was the first time the show was done on the Dalton Highway, known as the Haul Road, between Fairbanks and ...

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Uncle Sam wants a closer look at your 1099

Your status as an independent contractor will face greater scrunity in the coming years if the federal government has its way. Several states are already strengthening their classification laws for workers. Now the Obama Adminstration would like give the movement more firepower. In his proposed 2011 budget is a $25 million "Misclassification Initiative." It would allow the Department of Labor to hire more personnel to investigate classification cases, as well as seed grants for states to address ...

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OO dispatcher takes on truck brokerage industry

Straight into battle with a large piece of the trucking world goes Mr. Paul Todd, an Augusta, Ga.-based owner-operator dispatching service provider and the subject of my February Exit Only column "Surrounding the Middleman" in Truckers News (follow that link for the story). Todd's the author of the Industry of Thieves book. Released last year, Todd's book makes the case for excessive truck brokerage charges adding hundreds in costs yearly to consumers' balance sheets, and proposes a pretty particular bit ...

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FMCSA finally listening to drivers?

On the subject of the hours of service, my entire time covering the trucking industry has been to the ever-more-visible backdrop curtain of calls (to really mix metaphors) to introduce some sort of flexibility into the current, rigid 14-hour window for drivers to take short sleeper berth periods and not risk losing valuable driving hours. The current FMCSA administrator, Anne Ferro, in her remarks to the Mid-West Truckers Association convention in Peoria, Ill., over the weekend, highlighted her ...

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Interviewing Overdrive 2010 Trucker of the Year Mike Crawford

Always a pleasure, it is, to get a call from Mike "Mustang" Crawford (pictured), the Prime-leased owner-operator who is Overdrive's 2010 Trucker of the Year (follow that link for my story about him in our February edition). I got one such call just last week. Crawford told me about his truck's recent inadvertent inclusion in preparation festivities for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade along 54th Street in Miami. "I got down there on ...

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Is it recovery yet?

It’s hard some weeks to stack up the economic reports and figure if things are getting better or worse. This week was no exception.

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Wild game cooking classes spawned by ice-roads coincidence

As Todd L. Disher quipped last week in the lead of his piece for Alaska's Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman newspaper about Carlile Transportation driving instructor Phil Kromm, "it’s only natural an episode of 'Ice Road Truckers' would spawn a series of culinary classes focused on gourmet wild game." Kromm, see, is an avid propane griller of wild caribou and other Alaskan delicacies, which he butchers and dresses himself. Kromm ended up, in his words, as a "secondary character" in the Ice Roads season ...

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Online Interface Makes it Easier for Drivers to Find Need-it-Now Parts

Truckers key in averting mix-up in Granite Falls, Wash., bypass

In the Everett, Wash., Daily Herald newspaper late last week a story appeared about two roundabouts being constructed on a new bypass of the growing Granite Falls, Wash., community in the central part of the state, very near vast National Forest areas. According to the story's writer, Bill Sheets, truckers were instrumental in pointing out a fatal flaw for any bypass route, for certain -- "they were too narrow for some trucks" -- well after construction had already begun. At ...

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Reflections from the HTAA summit

I'm sitting in a hotel room in Atlanta right now, fresh off a full day of educational sessions at the Healthy Trucking Association of America's Health Trucking Summit. It's been a long day, so forgive me if my thoughts are a little, well, all over the place. But I did want to share a few personal reflections from the day. The most frequently recurring thought today has been the impression that there really are people who ...

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