It’s no secret that the trucker stereotype has been fading for years. A woman climbing out of a cab no longer draws stares. Radios are often tuned to stations that don’t play country music.
At the same time, I’m often struck by how fast and diverse the changes are. Three examples, all covered in this issue of Overdrive, show how today’s truckers don’t fit preconceptions.
You won’t find Trucker of the Year Robert Jordan joining any truck stop idling fest, even in February. He designed two systems that allow his Mack to run idle-free, launched an idle-reduction equipment and installation service, and keeps a fold-up bicycle in his truck.
Leona Dittman is hardly the first female Trucker of the Month, but to start her trucking career after 40 years in nursing, then log more than 1 million safe miles with Marten Transport, is something else. Topping that by purchasing a second truck and hiring her husband as a driver, she’s a far cry from yesterday’s small fleet owner.
Then there’s the Truckers’ Ball, Feb. 18 at the Antique Automobile Museum in Hershey, Pa. Organizer Sheryl Youngblood, host of the KnightTime radio program, wisely arranged for convenient rentals of tuxes and gowns for this black-tie event, which she plans to hold annually. In a day when “business casual” rules the corporate world, having truckers in formal attire truly breaks the mold.
The skills and maturity required to succeed in this profession have steadily increased. Pay rates are starting to reflect that. It’s no surprise, then, that the definition of “trucker” is being stretched in healthy new ways. Look for more to come.
–Brad Holthaus, Publisher