Channel 19

Updated Feb 11, 2010

Channel-19Lending a helping rig


In Overdrive’s home base of Tuscaloosa, Ala., in September, truckers pitched in to help police foil a suicide attempt. As a man stood on the ledge of the I-20/59 bridge over McFarland Boulevard, police enlisted haulers with van trailers to build a platform under the bridge. A gallery of Tuscaloosa News photos (, search “Interstate standoff”) show, among other images, police unrolling an inflatable catch device atop two vans. The man ended up walking away from the edge.


Driving by sonar


Next time you want to scream “Are you blind?” at a reckless four-wheeler, be prepared for an affirmative answer. Technology is enabling blind and other low-vision drivers to navigate road courses in a modified four-wheel buggy developed by Virginia Tech’s Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory, the university’s Transportation Research Institute reports. The buggy features a laser sensor mounted at the front that functions similarly to sonar. It maps the terrain and sends signals to a computer, which provides drivers voice commands and vibrations to help them respond to obstacles.


The voice heard down under


Australian Truckin’ Life founder Malcolm Johnson was inspired by none other than Overdrive, the Voice of the American Trucker, when he launched the magazine in 1976, according to former Managing Editor Jim Gibson’s obituary on Johnson published in Truckin’ Life this summer: “Malcolm got the idea for the magazine while enjoying several large drams of amber fluid at a Brisbane Truck Show. He was leaning on the bar at the show listening to drivers’ beefs. A few days later he got his hands on some copies of [Overdrive] … and found the conditions Australian drivers worked under were similar to those of their U.S. counterparts.” From the beginning, Truckin’ Life’s tagline has been “the voice of the Australian trucker.” n


From the blog — Issues here and yonder


Have cell, won’t text


“Just for giggles I took my truck to an empty industrial park … got up to a roaring 5 mph, and tried texting,” wrote an owner-operator posting as “Mark’s Moving Corner” on the Channel 19 blog. “Peeled off the right mirror on a phone pole. Think I’ll stick to Bluetooth headset voice calls. Running my mouth and the truck at the same time I can do … just ask my wife.”


How about some detention pay?


If you think the delays at our border crossings are bad, consider Bahrain, where waits of longer than a week are common. Abdulhakim Shammary, chair of a Bahrainian transport service, proposed to the Gulf Daily News that drivers crossing the King Fahd Causeway into or out of Saudi Arabia should have “24-hour fast lanes for empty trucks” to focus inspectors’ efforts on their loaded counterparts.

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