Rearview: Organized independence

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Overdrive‘s Rearview series is a new recurring monthly feature taking a historical look at the trucking industry through the lens of archived editions of Overdrive.

This photo, from the July 1979 issue of Overdrive shows truckers affixing a banner to an ITA member’s trailer.This photo, from the July 1979 issue of Overdrive shows truckers affixing a banner to an ITA member’s trailer.

Founding Overdrive editor and publisher Mike Parkhurst wasn’t shy about employing theatrics, especially when it came to fighting against Teamsters, lawmakers or the rail industry.

The photo hereo shows ITA members picketing on the U.S. Capitol steps. The photo ran in the July 1979 Overdrive.The photo hereo shows ITA members picketing on the U.S. Capitol
steps. The photo
ran in the July 1979
Overdrive.

In 1962, a year after Overdrive began publication, Parkhurst formed the Independent Truckers Association as a means to rally the magazine’s readership around common causes. ITA state chapters worked to assert truckers’ views into policy discussions across all levels of government.

Parkhurst used the group to initiate trucker rallies and shutdowns, form national meetings and promote ITA-backed policies with truck banners, among other activities. The group also offered members discounts on trucking equipment and services.

ITA’s protests are partially credited with deregulating the industry in 1980, along with reducing Teamster influence within trucking.

Parkhurst also launched the similar grassroots-level Roadmasters, whose goals were akin to ITA. It fizzled out in the mid-1980s when Overdrive ownership changed hands and Parkhurst was no longer affiliated.

This photo from the January 1974 issue shows an Overdrive/ITA-led shutdown at Mile 120 of the Ohio Turnpike. The accompanying article details a conversation between Overdrive editors and those at other trucking publications. The fleet-focused periodicals “denied any knowledge of the shutdowns,” Overdrive wrote. “Such is the close ties these organizations keep with the men behind the wheel.”This photo from the January 1974 issue shows an Overdrive/ITA-led shutdown at Mile 120 of the Ohio Turnpike. The accompanying article details a conversation between Overdrive editors and those at other trucking publications. The fleet-focused periodicals “denied any knowledge of the shutdowns,” Overdrive wrote. “Such is the close ties these organizations keep with the men behind the wheel.”
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