Fleet insider

Atlas’ King of the Road Survey
Results of the annual King of the Road survey show the preferences of Atlas Van Lines owner operators, or Professional Van Operators, for everything from spots for coffee (Dunkin’ Donuts) to antacid (Tums).

Other results include:

  • The opportunity to advance was the second-highest reason a van operator would recommend Atlas to a friend.
  • Subway became the choice fast-food restaurant in 2005 and maintains its commanding lead over second-place Wendy’s.
  • Super 8 continues to be the favorite hotel chain of van operators with 41 percent singling it out; Days Inn followed at 24 percent.
  • Nearly 100 percent of van operators use a cell phone, 44 percent a CB radio and 32 percent a computer while on the road. Half of all respondents access a computer at least several times a week.
  • I-70 was voted the most scenic highway, while I-10 was named safest highway.
  • Petro and Flying J are the most popular truckstops, with Petro at 40 percent and Flying J at 26 percent.

Atlas also anonymously asked whether Atlas van operators would recommend the company (95 percent said yes); what the best part about being a van operator is (50 percent say meeting and working with people from across the country); and whether they are happy with their jobs (more than 75 percent are extremely or reasonably satisfied).

In a unrelated matter, the 21st annual ROAD Day, or Recognizing Our Atlas Drivers Day, was held Sept. 9. More than 200 Atlas agencies paid tribute to the company’s owner-operators by participating. ROAD Day sponsors included Windfall Systems, Kentucky Trailer, Freightliner-Western Star of Evansville, Maxon and Melcher.

Frito-Lay Million Milers
Frito-Lay North America is recognizing nearly 90 over-the-road drivers who this year have reached the career milestone of more than a million, 2 million or 3 million miles driven accident free.

On average it takes a Frito-Lay OTR driver about 10 years to reach the million-mile mark. The company now has more than 300 active million milers, and Frito-Lay has seen a 64 percent decline in collisions over the past 10 years.

This year’s honorees, along with their families, were recognized earlier this year by Frito-Lay’s top executives at an annual gala at the company’s national headquarters in Plano, Texas. Ninety-five drivers were recognized for their achievement.

2 Million Milers: Denny Paffel, Beloit, Wis.; Richard Eaves, Casa Grande, Ariz.; Henry Sales, Casa Grande, Ariz.; Jeffery Mark Billingsley, Frankfort, Ind.; Letteer Lewis, Frankfort, Ind.; Charlie Winstead, Jonesboro, Ark.; Lynn Hirsche, Lethbridge, Alberta; Lawrence McInnes, Lethbridge, Alberta; Don Jordan, Topeka, Kan.

3 Million Miler: Bob Schneider, Denver, Colo.

Boyd Bros. Ups Owner-Operator Pay
In an effort to increase owner-operator profitability in times of economic uncertainty, Boyd Bros. Transportation of Clayton, Ala., has increased its owner-operator pay package from 68 to 70 percent for those hauling a Boyd trailer and from 75 to 77 percent for those hauling with their own trailer.

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“We felt this type of financial commitment would assist with the rising cost of operating and general living expenses more than any other solution,” said Betty Nix, Boyd recruiting director. “It is challenging to be successful in such fluctuating conditions. We employ some of the best owner-operators in the industry. Their success is one of our top priorities because they are an important extension of our own success.”

FFE Recognizes Million-Mile Drivers
As part of their Driver Appreciation Week ceremonies, held during the week of Aug. 24-30, FFE Transportation Services celebrated at all its terminals and honored its million mile drivers in a special ceremony at the FFE home terminal in Lancaster, Texas.

Drivers achieving the million-mile mark included FFE owner-operators Terri and Tommy Crank, American Eagle drivers James Cavezza and James Ellard and FFE drivers Donald Grashot and Thomas Holibaugh.

Lester Johnston, a 42-year FFE veteran, who announced his retirement, was honored along with Wendy Wilborn for achieving more than 4 million accident-free miles. Wilborn, a former president and current vice president of the FFE Trucker’s Association, has been with the company since 1971.

Decker Honors August Drivers of the Month
Decker Truck Line named Lyle Grate as the August 2008 driver of the month for the Reefer/Van division.

Grate has three children and three grandchildren. In his spare time, he enjoys air shows and reading.

Ron Nielsen was selected as Decker Truck Line’s August 2008 Owner/Operator of the Month for the Flatbed Division. Nielsen and his wife, Donna, have been married for 39 years and have two children and four grandchildren. Nielsen likes to farm, ride motorcycles and spend time with his family when he’s not driving for Decker.

Transport America Recognizes August Drivers of the Month
Transport America recently announced its August 2008 Drivers of the Month. Each driver was recognized for his or her outstanding service to Transport America and the company’s customers. Professional company drivers selected for August include the following: Dan Becker, Earl Stout, Ronnie Reed and Jaime Diaz. Professional contractors selected for August include the following: Thomas Barstow and Dorothy Ivery.