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VOL. 35, NO. 10 | AUGUST 2022 | WWW.THETRUCKER.COM

Linda Garner-Bunch/The Trucker

Walcott Truckers

Jamboree

More than 45,000 people attended

this year’s Walcott Truckers

Jamboree, held at the Iowa 80

Truckstop.

PAGES 3 & 4

The Trucker Trainer................6

Ask the Attorney....................8

Rhythm of the Road...............9

Chaplain’s Corner.................12

iStock Photo

The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on June 20 approved legislation designed to expand truck parking infrastructure across the nation. The bill was

then scheduled to advance to the House floor for discussion.

Courtesy: Wyatt Jepsen

At the Truck Stop

One mile at a time: Arkansas

driver of the year recalls

decades of service to industry,

community.

PAGE 10

In for a Rough Ride..............13

Safety Series.........................14

Fleet Focus...........................15

Mind Over Matter................20

Courtesy: Iowa 80 Group

Feeding travelers

Third generation of the Peel

family continues the tradition

of feeding drivers at Walcott’s

Iowa 80 Truckstop

PAGE 19

Circling the lot

US HOUSE DEBATES BILL TO BOOST TRUCK PARKING AVAILABILITY

THE TRUCKER NEWS STAFF

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure

Committee on July 20 approved legislation designed to expand truck parking

infrastructure across the nation.

Dubbed the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, the legislation was

then advanced to the House floor for further debate.

The legislation was initially introduced in March 2021 by U.S. Reps.

Mike Bost (R-Ill.) and Angie Craig (D-Minn.)

“This is long overdue,” said committee chairman Peter DeFazio (D-

Ore.). “It’s one solution to try to make the lives of drivers safer and less

stressful and perhaps allow for more (driver) retention. This will really

help improve the efficiency of trucking.”

DeFazio added that he hopes the bill is well received in the Senate.

“It may be something that goes into the year-end omnibus (spending

bill),” he said. “I hope we can pass it out of the House unanimously when

we come back after the August break.”

American Trucking Associations (ATA) President and CEO Chris Spear

praised congressional leaders for advancing the legislation.

“The lack of safe and accessible truck parking is an issue that causes

serious concern for our industry,” Spear said.

“Without it, drivers waste hours looking for secure places to park for

an hour or for the night, hurting their ability to rest and adding undo

stress to their days,” he said. “Moving this legislation forward is a tremendous

step toward addressing what has been significant challenge to

our industry’s ability to safely and efficiently move the nation’s goods.”

The legislation would authorize the creation of a competitive grant

program for states to spend $755 million over a four-year period on new

truck parking projects, including capacity expansion and enhancements

such as lighting, restrooms and other security features.

Access to truck parking is routinely highlighted by the American Transportation

Research Institute (ATRI) in its annual list of top issues facing

trucking. ATRI research has found that, on average, drivers spend nearly

an hour — 56 minutes — each day looking for parking. That’s time that

reduces drivers’ wages, adds undue delays to the supply chain and raises

stress on an already taxed workforce.

“The availability of safe and secure truck parking is not just a challenge

for current drivers; it is a barrier our industry must overcome in attracting

new drivers — particularly women. Solving it won’t just help today’s

industry; it will go a long way toward helping trucking recruit and attract

a more diverse workforce,” Spear said.

“This kind of bipartisan solution shows that Congress can still step

up and address real challenges faced by American workers, and I want to

thank bill sponsors, Congressmen Bost and Craig, as well as Chairman De-

Fazio and Ranking Member Graves, for moving this important bill forward

and urge the full House and Senate to quickly to make it law,” Spear said.

The ATA’s newly formed Women in Motion advisory group and ATA’s

Law Enforcement Advisory Board, along with the Commercial Vehicle

Safety Alliance, sent letters to members expressing strong support for the

provision. 8


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THETRUCKER.COM NATION

AUGUST 2022 • 3

DRIVE

THE DIFFERENCE

Linda Garner-Bunch/The Trucker

WITH PRIDE

Marcel Pontbriand of Pahrump, Nevada, took home Trucker’s Choice and Best Overall Theme honors in this year’s

Super Truck Beauty Contest with his 1989 Peterbilt 379 and 2015 Great Dane trailer, dubbed “Cowboy of the Road.”

This is the second year in a row that the Cowboy of the Road has won the Trucker’s Choice category.

2022 Walcott Truckers

Jamboree attracts more

than 45,000 attendees

THE TRUCKER NEWS STAFF

DRTH

DRTH

WALCOTT, Iowa — More than 45,000 people

— including truck drivers and their families

from 27 states and two Canadian provinces as

well as area residents and other travelers — attended

this year’s Walcott Truckers Jamboree,

held July 14-16 at the Iowa 80 Truckstop.

“The Walcott Truckers Jamboree celebrates

professional drivers and the important work

they do”, said Heather DeBaillie, vice president

of marketing for the Iowa 80 Group. “We thoroughly

enjoy hosting this event each year and

love seeing everyone come together, make new

friends and join in the fun. The trucking community

is amazing. From truckers to our vendor

and sponsor partners to our staff who help

execute this event; we are grateful for everyone

who makes this big parking lot party possible.”

In addition to the Super Truck Beauty Contest

with nearly 100 entries, the event featured

truck light shows and fireworks, the Trucker

Olympics, a pet contest, a 100th birthday party

for a century-old truck, a pork chop cookout,

free live concerts and more than 150 exhibitors.

Turn to Page 4 to see a collection of photos

from the Jamboree.

Marcel Pontbriand of Pahrump, Nevada,

took home Trucker’s Choice and Best Overall

Theme honors with his 1989 Peterbilt 379 and

2015 Great Dane trailer, dubbed “Cowboy of

the Road.” This is the second year the Cowboy

of the Road won the Trucker’s Choice category.

The rig also took first place in the Working

Truck category for Company Truck-Combination.

Other first-place winners include:

Working Truck/Cabover: Dylan Bladders of

Parowan, Utah, with “Cliff,” a 1994 Freightliner.

Working Truck/Company Truck-Bobtail: Eva

Knelsen of Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada, with

“Ken Worth Jr.,” a 2021 Kenworth W900L. Ken

Worth Jr. also took first place in the Lights at

Night/Bobtail-Theme category.

Rat Rod: Tim Feidt of Maplewood, Minnesota,

with a 1980 Mack Army Truck.

Working Truck/2022-2019 Bobtail Conventional:

Kurtlin Thuet of Joplin, Missouri, with

“Noggie,” a 2019 Peterbilt 567.

Working Truck/2018-2012 Bobtail Conventional:

Bret Chastain of Flora, Indiana, with

“Voodoo Ranger,” a 2017 Volvo VNL 730.

Working Truck/2011-2004 Bobtail Conventional:

Christina Busto of Bernalillo, Minnesota

with “Baby Blue,” a 2008 Freightliner Century.

Working Truck/2003-1998 Bobtail Conventional:

Terry Littlefield of Rapid City, South Dakota,

with a 2001 Kenworth W900L.

Working Truck/1997 & Older Bobtail Conventional:

Justin Congdon of Davenport, Iowa, with

a 1974 Kenworth A model.

Working Truck/2022-2017 Combination:

Richard Rukstalis of Morton, Illinois, with

“Snoopy,” a 2018 Kenworth T680 and 2013

Great Dane trailer.

Working Truck/2016-2008 Combination: Eddie

Telles of La Puente, California, with “Couples

Therapy,” a 2015 Peterbilt 389 and 2023

Great Dane trailer.

Working Truck/2007 & Older Combination:

Michael and Jackie Wallace of Ashville,

Alabama, with “Semper Fi,” a 2007 Freightliner

Coronado and 2014 Great Dane trailer. Semper

Fi also took first place in the Lights at Night/

Combination-Overall Presentation category.

Show Class: Dan Brubaker of Sigourney,

Iowa, with “Low Life,” a 1996 Peterbilt 379. Low

Life also took first place in the Custom Paint/

JOIN OUR DRIVING TEAM

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our team of safe, professional drivers.

Bobtail, Interior/OEM Conversion Sleeper and

Lights at Night/Bobtail-Overall Presentation

categories.

Custom Paint/Combination: Logan Shaw of

Dyersville, Iowa, with a 2022 Kenworth W900 &

2022 Wilson trailer.

Custom Graphics/Bobtail: James Nalin of

Marana, Arizona, with “American Patriot,” a

2022 Freightliner Cascadia.

Custom Graphics/Combination: Jonathan

Alley of Raphine, Virginia, with “Wicked Sensation,”

a 2017 International Lonestar & 2019

Great Dane.

Polish & Detail/Bobtail: Conrad Shada of

SEE JAMBOREE ON PAGE 6

JOIN OUR DRIVING TEAM

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world’s biggest brands, we want you to join

our team of safe, professional drivers.

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4 • AUGUST 2022 NATION

THETRUCKER.COM

Scenes from the Walcott Truckers Jamboree

For those who were unable to stop by the Iowa 80 Truckstop in

Walcott, Iowa, during this year’s Walcott Truckers Jamboree,

here are a few photos from the event. held July 14-16.

1

3

2

4

USPS 972

VOLUME 35, NUMBER 10

AUGUST 2022

The Trucker is a monthly, national newspaper for the

trucking industry, published by The Trucker Media

Group at 1123 S. University, Suite 325

Little Rock, AR 72204-1610

EDITORIAL

Managing Editor

Linda Garner-Bunch

Staff Writer &

Social Media Coordinator

John Worthen

Staff Writer

Joseph Price

Production Coordinator

Christie McCluer

Graphic Artists

Leanne Hunter

Kelly Young

Special Correspondents

Cliff Abbott

Hannah Butler

Lyndon Finney

Dana Guthrie

Dwain Hebda

Kris Rutherford

ADVERTISING & LEADERSHIP

Chief Executive Officer

Bobby Ralston

General Manager

Megan Hicks

Director of Technology

Jose Ortiz

For editorial inquiries,

contact Linda Garner-Bunch at

editor@thetruckermedia.com.

5 6 7

For advertising opportunities,

contact Meg Larcinese at

megl@thetruckermedia.com.

Telephone: (501) 666-0500

E-mail: info@thetruckermedia.com

Web: www.thetrucker.com

Single-copy mail subscription available at

$59.95 per year. Periodicals Postage Paid

at Little Rock, AR 72202-9651.

POSTMASTER/SUBSCRIBERS:

Mail subscription requests and

address changes to:

The Trucker Subscriptions

P.O. Box 36330

Los Angeles, CA 90036

Photos by Linda Garner-Bunch/The Trucker

Here are a few scenes from the 2022 Walcott Truckers Jamboree: 1. Both Thursday and Friday nights of the event featured a truck light show and fireworks. 2. The Trucker staff

members and Super Truck Beauty Contest judges John and Megan Hicks examine “Jokes on You,” a 2022 Peterbilt 389 owned by Kelly Richardson of Tallahassee, Florida. 3. Tobias

Owen, a driver for Kidd Transport of Rockford, Illinois, and his wife Shelby, won the CAT Scale Weigh to Win Sweepstakes and is now the proud owner of a new Ford F-150 Raptor.

4. This 1980 Mack Army Truck, entered by Tim Feidt of Maplewood, Minnesota, won the Rat Rod category of the Super Truck Beauty Contest. 5. The Trucker Olympics include a

“Strong Pull” event, where contestants attempt to pull a 12,000-pound antique cement mixer. 6. Delia Moon Meier, senior vice president of the Iowa 80 Group, and Eric Harley,

co-host of Red Eye Radio, prepare to announce winners of the Super Truck Beauty Contest. 7. The Iowa Pork Chop Cookout is a popular place to grab a bite during the Jamboree.

Publishers Rights: All advertising, including artwork

and photographs, becomes the property of the

publisher once published and may be reproduced in

any media only by publisher. Publisher reserves the

right to refuse or edit any ad without notice and does

not screen or endorse advertisers. Publisher is not

liable for any damages resulting from publication or

failure to publish all or any part of any ad or any errors

in ads. Adjustments are limited to the cost of space

for the ad, or at Publisher’s option, republication

for one insertion with notice received within three

days of first publication. Copyright 2022 of Wilshire

Classifieds, LLC. Subject also to Ad and Privacy Policy

at www.recycler.com.


THETRUCKER.COM NATION

AUGUST 2022 • 5

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®

EVERY DIESEL, HEAVY OR LIGHT DUTY, DESERVES HOWES DIESEL DEFENDER.

USE IT AT EVERY FILL-UP.


6 • AUGUST 2022 NATION

THETRUCKER.COM

Practice preventative maintenance to protect skin from damaging UV rays

THE TRUCKER

TRAINER

BOB PERRY

If you read my monthly column, then by now

you know how importance prevention is when

it comes to managing your personal health. But

health prevention is not just about the inside

— making sure your body’s “engine” is running

smoothly — it’s about the outside as well.

July was National Ultraviolet Safety Month,

which focuses on the importance of protecting

our eyes and skin from the effects of UV (ultraviolet)

rays.

Did you know professional drivers report a

higher rate of skin cancer than people in other

professions? Or that 75% of melanoma (the most

aggressive form of skin cancer) occurring on the

left side of the body? Not coincidentally, the left

side is subjected to the highest amount of UV

rays when driving.

Here are three important facts from The New

England Journal of Medicine that all drivers

should know:

1. Not all sides of your body are treated equally.

While front windshields block an average of

96% of UV rays, side windows block as little as

44% of these rays. Since UVA light can penetrate

through glass, and Americans drive on the right

side of the road, our left sides are more at risk of

developing skin cancer.

2. When it comes to the SPF (sun protection

factor) of a sunscreen, double the number does

not always mean double the protection. Many

may naturally believe that the highest SPF offers

the highest level of protection from the sun.

3. You should apply sunscreen every day —

iStock Photo

Truck drivers report a higher rate of skin cancer than people in other professions. Many cases of melanoma occur on

the left side of a driver’s body, which is the side that receives the highest amount of UV rays while behind the wheel.

even when the sun isn’t visible. Although it may

be cloudy, clouds are not magical, supernaturallike

forces blocking the sun’s rays. In fact, clouds

filter less than 25% of the UV rays that penetrate

your skin and cause skin cancer.

In case you’re wondering, I’m writing this

column from personal experience. After years

of driving, I have three spots on the left side of

my face that I must monitor on a regular basis.

Please, I urge you to wear sunscreen protection.

Just as you take a look under your personal

hood by visiting the doctor regularly and work to

maintain your “engine” with a healthy diet and

exercise, you should also be aware of your body’s

largest organ, the skin.

Early biometric detection of skin cancer can

protect your livelihood — and it could also save

your life.

Known as The Trucker Trainer, Bob Perry

has played a critical role in the paradigm shift

of regulatory agencies, private and public sector

entities, and consumers to understand the

driver health challenge. Perry can be reached at

truckertrainer@icloud.com. 8

JAMBOREE cont. from Page 3

Anamosa, Iowa, with “Class of the Past,” a 2020

Peterbilt 389. Class of the Past also took first

place in the Lights at Night/Bobtail-Most Unique

category.

Polish & Detail/Combination: Daniel &

Phyllis Snow of Harrison, Arkansas, with “The

Goose,” a 1996 Freightliner Classic XL and 2019

Utility trailer. The Goose also took first place in

the Interior/Custom Sleeper and Lights at Night/

Combination-Theme categories.

Interior/OEM Sleeper-Bobtail: Kelly Richardson

of Tallahassee, Florida, with “Jokes on You,”

a 2022 Peterbilt 389.

Interior/OEM Sleeper-Combination: Kendall

Weaver of Wooster, Ohio, with a 1996 Kenworth

W900L and 2022 XL Specialized trailer.

Lights at Night/Combination-Most Unique:

Douglas Prier of Dyersville, Iowa, with a 2022

Kenworth W900L.

For a complete list of winners and more

information about the annual Truckers Jamboree,

visit iowa80truckstop.com/truckerjamboree.

Next year’s Jamboree is set for

July 13-15, 2023. 8

Courtesy: Iowa 80 Group

The Trucker Olympics included events such as a Coffee Relay, Water Balloon Toss, Strong Pull, Tire Roll and Strap Winding.


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8 • AUGUST 2022

FROM THE EDITOR:

Open for

discussion

BETWEEN

THE LINES

LINDA GARNER-BUNCH

editor@thetruckermedia.com

If there's one thing I've discovered since

joining the team at The Trucker, it’s that the

trucking industry is never boring. There’s always

something to discuss and debate, and

very rarely does everyone agree.

I suppose that’s true of any industry. Heck,

it’s true of life in general.

Politics and legislation are generally

the top topics in trucking (see what I did

there?), but I’ve discovered that drivers are

just as passionate about their favorite (and

least favorite) tractor manufacturer, standard

versus automatic transmissions, fuel

prices, driver-assist software ... the list goes

on and on.

Last month, skyrocketing diesel prices

were top of mind for most truck drivers and

carriers. At the time of this writing, however,

prices seem to have begun a downward

trend. That’s good news.

However, there are always other issues on

the horizon.

One issue that’s actually not so new is

California’s AB5 rule. On June 30, the U.S. Supreme

Court declined to review challenges

to the state’s controversial legislation that

changes the definition of “independent contractor,”

to the detriment of many gig workers,

including truckers. Check out Brad Klepper’s

take on the issue on this page.

Another “new” topic is the lack of safe,

secure truck parking (see the story on Page

1). On July 20, the U.S. House Transportation

and Infrastructure Committee took a step —

hopefully in the right direction — to expand

the nation’s truck-parking infrastructure.

The Trucker will be keeping a close eye

on both of these issues and working to keep

readers updated with the latest news.

Finally, on a purely positive note, I had

the privilege of attending this year’s Walcott

Truckers Jamboree, held at the Iowa 80

Truckstop in Walcott, Iowa, July 14-16.

What an amazing event!

Nearly 100 trucks were entered in the Super

Truck Beauty Contest, and I did my best

to check out every single one. If you were

there and I didn’t get to meet you personally,

it wasn’t for lack of effort!

I love meeting and visiting with drivers.

Each one has a story to tell, whether it’s about

what drew them into the industry, how being

a trucker has changed their life, or their adventures

on the road. Please feel free to reach

out to me with your personal story. You can

email me at lindag@thetruckermedia.com.

And, until next time, keep those rigs between

mustard and mayonnaise! 8

ASK THE

ATTORNEY

BRAD KLEPPER

I am wrong about a lot of things. By “a lot,”

I mean an obnoxiously large number of things.

So, I guess I should not have been surprised

when the Supreme Court of the United States

(SCOTUS) denied cert on the California Trucking

Association case challenging AB5.

I know I shouldn’t have been, but damn,

was I surprised.

I know I am supposed to be neutral in these

things, but I truly thought the court would

grant cert on this case. There was, in my opinion,

sufficient confusion among the courts,

and SCOTUS now leans toward the conservative

side (by a count of 6-3).

Honestly, I would have bet you $1,000 that

SCOTUS would hear the case. And I would

have been wrong.

Now, as background — and in case you

have forgotten — California adopted AB5 to

deal with wrongly classified employees. The

bill was originally directed toward the “gig”

economy (think Uber and Lyft) but found a

home in the trucking industry. In essence,

when the bill was signed into law it basically

made the independent contractor business

model for trucking companies extinct in California.

How can that be, you ask? Simple. In passing

the bill, the legislature adopted the test

handed down by the California Supreme court

in the Dynamex case. As a result, companies

will now be required to use the ABC test set

forth in Dynamex to determine independent

contractor status.

PERSPECTIVE

What does implementation of California’s

AB5 mean for the trucking industry?

Trucker

TALK

According to the ABC test, for a person to

be classified as an independent contractor, the

ABC test requires:

A. That the worker is free from the control

and direction of the hiring entity in connection

with the performance of the work and in fact;

B. That the workers perform work that is

outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s

business; and

C. That the worker is customarily engaged

in an independently established trade occupation

or business of the same nature as the work

performed.

Now, you don’t have to be a genius to understand

that part B of the ABC test is basically

an impossible standard for a carrier to meet.

Any independent contractor hauling freight

for a carrier will now be classified as an employee.

So … where does this leave us? Well, it

means AB5 is the law of California and is retroactive

to Jan. 1, 2020. It also means that the

independent contractor business model is basically

dead in California. While the adoption

of AB5 will definitely put some money into the

state’s coffers, I think it is bad law, as it hurts

small business in California.

The last data I saw showed there are about

136,950 small businesses with small fleets in

California. Many of these use the independent

contractor business model. Sure, there are

some small businesses that take unfair advantage

of the independent contractor business

model, but I believe there are more that don’t.

I also believe there are a lot of independent

contractors who do not want to give up the

freedom to control the “who, what, when and

where” of how they work, not just in the trucking

industry but throughout all businesses in

California. This law impacts freelance writers,

photographers, medical professionals,

accountants, etc. The impact, I believe will be

far-reaching.

To my point, I know of several carriers that

stopped hiring independent contractors domiciled

in California when AB5 was first passed.

In addition, I know that some independent

contractors who wish to maintain that status

have moved their “residence” across state lines

to avoid the issue.

I also know that other states have been

watching the outcome of this case and have

either proposed legislation ready or are planning

to push for a similar law in their state. To

be honest, I think you can look to “blue” states

where the Democrats control all branches of

the state government. I believe this presently

includes states such as Colorado, Connecticut,

Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Nevada,

New Mexico, Oregon and Virginia.

So, what can trucking companies do to address

AB5 in California?

They can simply agree to treat the contractors

as employees. However, this may not be

the best solution, as many of the drivers have

their own trucks and WANT to be independent

contractors.

In theory, a carrier could also change its

structure to be a logistics company, using independent

carriers to deliver goods. This would

arguably get past the part B of the ABC test:

The independent contractors would no longer

be working for a trucking company, so the job

they perform would be outside the course of

the hiring entity’s business. The only way to

know for sure whether this would work would

be for the courts to hear the matter. And there

is no guarantee that the courts would agree.

At the end of the day, I think AB5 will have

a huge impact on business in California — an

impact that I don’t think was anticipated.

Brad Klepper is president of Interstate

Trucker Ltd. and is also president of Driver’s

Legal Plan, which allows member drivers access

to services at discounted rates. For more

information, contact him at 800-333-DRIVE

(3748) or interstatetrucker.com and

driverslegalplan.com. 8

Every month, The Trucker news staff conducts an informal driver poll on or Facebook page

(www.facebook.com/TheTruckerNewspaper). The latest poll asked the question, “Do

you prefer a tractor with a standard transmission or an automatic transmission? Why?” The

overwhelming response was in favor of standard trannies, but there are also a number of drivers

who love their automatic shifts. Some of the responses are listed below (edited for clarity and

length). If you have a question you’d like to see in the poll, email editor@thetruckermedia.com.

“Depends. For certain applications, I find

manual is better than auto on icy/slippery

winter roads, and in other situations, auto

is sure a lot easier on the clutch knee. Really,

though, there’s nothing finer than running

through the gear pattern on a cool morning just

starting out.”

— Susan Zenker

“I prefer a manual. I feel that I have much more

control over the truck with a manual transmission.

THETRUCKER.COM

I also despise all this auto-braking technology.”

— Scott Cumerlato

“I like to keep the RPMs low (short shift). I like

to have a clutch I can feather while backing into

a dock. I like being able to throw it in neutral

going down a hill. I like an 18-speed manual

transmission. I’m sure newer automatics are

better. I drove an ’06 with one before. Didn’t like

how the RPMs go so high before shifting.”

— Ryan Forrest


THETRUCKER.COM PERSPECTIVE

AUGUST 2022 • 9

Ricky Skaggs’ ‘Highway 40 Blues’ tells

a familiar story of the long journey home

RHYTHM OF

THE ROAD

KRIS RUTHERFORD

krisr@thetruckermedia.com

Of the countless miles I spent in the back

seat of a Chevy station wagon, traveling along

the interstates of America during the 1970s, I

recall four things in particular — roadside litter,

country music on the radio, big trucks and

hitchhikers.

Thanks to a PSA featuring a crying Native

American, the litter pretty much disappeared

by the mid-70s. Country music and big trucks

remain a staple to this day. And hitchhikers …

well, they are an endangered species some 50

years later.

There was a day when hitchhikers shared the

nation’s highways with vehicles of all sorts, and

no one gave it much thought. Those hoping for

a ride came in all forms — college kids, locals

who didn’t want to walk a mile to the store, and

cross-country trekkers with no real destination

in mind. All held out their thumbs and signs to

show those passing in luxury that they’d sure appreciate

a ride.

Things were different in the ’70s. A lift was

gladly offered by a passing driver and genuinely

appreciated by the hitchhiker. At some point, that

aspect of hitchhiking changed. Today, for the protection

of both the driver and the thumber, hitchhikers

are an endangered species, if not outright

illegal.

While it may be a rarity today, in its time,

hitchhiking was a ritual of sorts in the ’70s. Countless

country songs have been recorded about the

practice, both from the point of view of truck drivers

(the most generous of motorists) or from those

begging for a lift.

In fact, country music road songs have kept

the spirit of hitchhiking alive for decades.

Tunes about those walking along the roadsides

have been around since the earliest days of

country music. The list of songs about the subject

is almost too lengthy to fathom.

Starting in the 1960s, Kris Kristofferson wrote

and recorded “Me and Bobby McGee,” the quintessential

song of a couple on the road who were

fortunate enough to catch a ride with a truck

driver. In “Smoky Mountain Rain,” Ronnie Milsap

did the same, and Charley Pride tried his hardest

in “Is Anybody Going to San Antone?” And who

can forget Red Sovine’s ride one cold, rainy night

in “Phantom 309”?

Yes, country singers have spent a lot of time

sharing the cab with a bunch of unknown truck

drivers.

Perhaps hitchhiking is so popular in country

music because it can fit into two of country’s subgenres

— trucking songs and road songs. In so

many country tunes, trucking and road themes

iStock Photo

Decades ago, it was common for travelers to hitch a ride with a friendly stranger along the nation’s highways.

blend, often making it hard to distinguish between

the two. In fact, even when a truck isn’t

mentioned, road songs typically conjure up images

of a generous truck driver somewhere in the

background.

Ricky Skaggs’ 1983 No. 1 hit “Highway 40 Blues”

is just one song with lyrics that can’t help but offer

the roar of an 18-wheeler in the background.

In the years since the song’s release, Skaggs has

mentioned that most listeners interpret “Highway

40” as Interstate 40, the road that stretches coast

to coast across the southern tier of the U.S. The

reality, Skaggs says, is that Highway 40 is simply a

roadway in Skaggs’ home state of Kentucky.

After all, by 1983, interstate hitchhikers were

becoming rare. But “Highway 40 Blues” offers

no clue about the time frame; someone could

have recorded the song any time over the past

SEE RHYTHM ON PAGE 12

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10 • AUGUST 2022 PERSPECTIVE

THETRUCKER.COM

at the TRUCK STOP

PRESENTED

BY CAT SCALE.

VISIT WEIGHMYTRUCK.COM

One mile

at a time

ARKANSAS DRIVER OF THE YEAR

RECALLS DECADES OF SERVICE TO

INDUSTRY, COMMUNITY

BY DWAIN HEBDA | SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

Ask Wyatt Jepsen what led him into the

trucking industry, and he’ll tell you getting

behind the wheel was a move made out of

necessity.

“I was working construction, and it just got

to be ‘hit and miss.’ I saw an ad to become a

truck driver and I signed up for it,” he said. “I

went and took their course and away I went.

I’ve been pretty much driving ever since.”

The reasons behind Jepsen’s entry into the

business might not have been particularly

dramatic, but today — almost four decades

and millions of miles later — he’s got quite a

few stories to tell.

The latest story is the one about the time,

back in May, when he was named 2021 Driver of

the Year by the Arkansas Trucking Association.

“It was extremely moving,” he said. “It was

such a neat experience. It was just a lot of fun,

and it meant the world to me to be honored

with that.”

Jepsen, who now lives in Arkansas with his

wife Vicki, grew up on a cattle ranch in Utah.

Truth be told, ranching was his first love in

Courtesy: Wyatt Jepsen

Wyatt Jepsen was honored this spring as the 2021

Driver of the Year by the Arkansas Trucking Association.

life. However, he says, his parents discouraged

him from carrying on the family operation,

citing the hard work and uncertainty of a life

in agriculture.

“I grew up on a ranch with horses and cows

and absolutely loved that lifestyle, but when

my parents grew up in it, it was a rough living

for them,” he said. “They discouraged me from

continuing that, so I left home and went to

college for a little while — and that wasn’t for

me. So, I started working construction; then

from there (I went) to driving.”

Jepsen started his driving career with North

American Van Lines; then he “bounced around a

little” between company driver gigs and being an

owner-operator before taking a job with Arkansas-based

Walmart Transportation. Nearly three

decades later, he’s still driving for Walmart.

“What has changed the most is our size.

We are so big now. When I started, we were

a real small distribution center. We only had

about 30, maybe 40, drivers out in Utah,” he

said of his time with the giant retailer.

“We have worked extremely hard on the

transportation side to maintain the culture —

which, if you know anything about Walmart,

the culture that Mr. Sam (Walton) built was so

important,” he continued. “I think the transportation

side of Walmart has worked harder

at maintaining that culture than any other

division, and it is extremely hard to do when

you’ve got over 11,000 drivers.”

Two elements of that Walmart culture —

innovation and thinking like an owner — are

exactly what Jepsen and his cohorts employed

a few years back to improve fuel efficiency.

“Fuel (prices)got so high back in 2008 our

boss asked us to take on a project,” Jepsen

said. “He wanted to get the guys that had the

bottom fuel mileage to just bring it up a little

bit, and so we started doing research.

“The only way we could get the information

was download right off the ECM of the trucks

to get an accurate reading, and we started giving

that information to the drivers,” he shared.

“Every month we would give our drivers what

Courtesy: Wyatt Jepsen

Wyatt Jepsen, a driver and trainer for Arkansas-based Walmart Transport, has been in the trucking industry for

nearly four decades.

their mileage was and it challenged them to

do better. Nobody wanted to be on the bottom

of the list”

In today’s world that strategy doesn’t

sound like much, especially with all of the

data at one’s fingertips. But 14 years ago, it

was a laborious, analog project.

“On my truck today, I can tell you my mileage

for a long period of time or I can tell you

what it was for today. I can keep track and tell

you exactly on my tablet how many gallons of

fuel I use in a day,” he said. “The way we were

getting it before, we would plug into the ECM

and download the data off the truck and when

we came back here to a meeting, we brought

stacks of data from the downloads. We had a

stack of them probably a foot high.”

The effort paid off locally: The team gained

more than a mile per gallon, enough to catch

the eye of the home office.

“After that, Walmart started sending us

around to other locations getting other people

involved in it,” Jepsen said. “It was just a fabulous

time to be involved with that.”

The other aspect of company culture

and personal ethics Jepsen has carried with

him is serving those in need. As a member

of Walmart Transportation’s emergency response

team, he’s traveled to areas of crisis to

deliver critical supplies. In the past year, he’s

supported relief efforts in Louisiana following

Hurricane Ida by delivering and manning

a mobile pharmacy, allowing locals access to

medications. He also delivered food to Mayfield,

Kentucky, in the aftermath of tornadoes,

remaining there for several weeks to help cook

for people in the community.

“Hurricane Ida was my first long deployment,”

Jepsen said. “It was quite an experience

to see the devastation. What stood out to me

was the resilience of the people in Louisiana.

Those people live down there knowing eventually

they’re going to face a hurricane. They knew

a week ahead of time it was coming and had a

little bit of time to prepare — and they did.”

Victims of natural disasters are not always

fortunate enough to have prior warning.

“Those poor people in Kentucky, when

they woke up Friday morning, they had no

idea that they were going to lose everything

that night,” he said. “They were in shock when

we got there.”

Jepsen still drives for Walmart, he but has

other roles with the company, including serving

as a driver trainer and testing new onboard

equipment. The pace has slowed since

the days he touched all the lower 48 states,

and he has racked up 3.5 million miles without

an at-fault accident.

But he’s just as proud of a job well done as

he ever was.

“I’m extremely proud of my record,” he

said. “The traffic and everything, the way it is

now — there’s so much more of it, and there’s

so much more distraction. The people who are

driving, it’s really getting hard. I feel sorry for

the new drivers coming in because it is quite

unforgiving out there compared to 30 years

ago. But as I like I tell them: One mile at a time

is the only way you can drive.” 8


CATTheTruckerWon 071822.qxp_Layout 1 7/18/22 2:14 PM Page 1

THETRUCKER.COM PERSPECTIVE

AUGUST 2022 • 11

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Play ball! Overcome ‘strikes’

and make a ‘home run’

CHAPLAIN’S

CORNER

REV. MARILOU COINS

How many of you enjoy baseball? I enjoy

watching and cheering for my favorite team.

But have you ever really WATCHED the game

and thought about how it relates to life?

I’m going to explain a few things I found in

baseball that can be related to our lives with

Christ.

First, I found the umpire is like God. He’s

always watching to see what life throws at us

and how we respond by batting it back. Do we

hit a home run, a base hit or strike out? If we

hit a home run, we score a “win” in our life. If

we get a base hit, we still are in the run to get

home. Getting home (heaven) is what we all

strive for.

But if we strike out, do we give up or do we

go back to bat and try again? If we give up then

Satan wins. We have three strikes before we

are out in baseball, but with God we are able

to go back to bat and try again, even after the

third strike.

Aren’t you glad God gives us that chance to

go to bat again and again? He doesn’t want us

to strike out, so he gives us many chances to

get on base and finally get home. He doesn’t

care if you try several times, just as long as you

try. Don’t feel like a strike out is the end. Just

pick yourself up, go back to bat and try again

for a base hit or a home run.

Life is our baseball field. It is always changing,

depending on what is thrown at us, but

we need to keep batting at it and score a win.

Don’t give up just because you failed a few

times. God doesn’t give up on us, but is ready

to forgive our strike out and let us keep batting

until we get on base and run the field to get

our home run (heaven).

RHYTHM cont. from Page 9

century, and it would have the same meaning.

It doesn’t take long for Skaggs to establish a

theme in “Highway 40 Blues.” The second line, “I’ve

walked holes in both my shoes,” defines the tune

as a road song. Images of 18-wheelers are already

in listeners’ minds.

The narrator then tells us he’s been away from

home a long while — long enough to waste time,

money and youth searching for whatever dream

he’s been chasing. Regardless, he lets us know the

effort wasn’t worth the means, admitting, “In the

end I had to lose.”

As in most road songs, the narrator in

“Highway 40 Blues” hits the road with big dreams.

The lure of the highway is too much for a young

man to resist. It tells “lies of things to come,” and

billboard lights shine on fame and fortune just

waiting to be had.

And, like so many other singers, Skaggs reveals

that those billboards don’t always tell the truth.

His “shattered dreams” have led to a numb mind.

We spend our life either at bat or running

the bases. In baseball, it’s three strikes and

you are out. But with God there is no strike

out — unless you give up, don’t repent for your

“strikes” and wind up at the end of your life unrepentant

and striking out.

God never gives up on us, but we sometimes

give up on him, and throwing in the towel

and letting Satan win the game of our life.

As long as we get on each base, we are

headed for heaven, and we win the game of

life. Every time we get on base we are getting

closer to home. All we need to do is stay focused

and watch what is going to be thrown

at us next.

Sometimes we are even able to beat the

odds and steal a base. That’s when we are really

focused on God and not on what is going

on around us. We need to keep our focus on

the goal of heaven and not be distracted by

things we have no control over.

Once the ball is thrown, our reaction to it

determines what happens. We hit the ball and

run the bases, or we strike out and fail, only to

come back and try again. God does forgive our

strike outs and gives us so many chances. All

we have to do is be ready and stay focused on

the bases, reach for the end and score.

Every day, our score is being renewed. Every

day we all play ball and score at the end of

the day. Never close your day with a strike out;

instead, ask God for the chance to do better

the next day. As our “umpire” who is watching

us, God gives us that chance daily. However,

if we refuse to ask for forgiveness and strike

out at the end of our life, God can’t change our

score. Repent for your failures daily and watch

for the ball that is thrown at you the next day.

Life is a baseball game so play ball and win

the game. You’re on the field, both at bat and

on base. Make it a home run and not a strike

out. It’s your game, and you’re a team of one.

Only you can play your game. Enjoy your game

of life and keep your eye on the ball that brings

you a home run.

Best of the roads and all gears forward in

Jesus. 8

His money is lost. So, he does what many walkers

of the highway did for decades: He stuck out his

thumb. Like so many others, he’s realized that the

only place he belongs is home. But for the narrator

of “Highway 40 Blues,” the urge to return home has

been slow coming.

Over the years, the narrator has “rambled all

around, like a rolling stone from town to town.”

He’s had more than one relationship with a pretty

girl, but none were pretty enough to hold on to

him. But he’s not always been down and out. He’s

made a few bucks playing music halls and bars

and pretended to be something he wasn’t by wearing

fancy clothes and driving nice cars.

Still, he can’t escape the fact that he’s just a

country boy … and country boys don’t need any

of the things he thought would satisfy him in

life. That’s the theme of “Highway 40 Blues,” or

as to quote other Ricky Skaggs’ songs, “Don’t Get

Above Your Raising” and “I’m Just a Country Boy

at Heart.”

Until next time, keep to the left of the white

line. You never know what might be lurking along

the shoulder. 8


THETRUCKER.COM

BUSINESS

AUGUST 2022 • 13

In for a rough ride

SIGNS POINT TO HIGHER FUEL COSTS, LOWER FREIGHT RATES AND A POSSIBLE RECESSION

CLIFF ABBOTT | SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

June tonnage reported to the American

Trucking Associations (ATA) rose by 2.7% in

June, bucking the industry trend as reported

by other sources. Much of that increase is due

to carriers picking more loads from customers

they have contracts with, according to ATA’s

Chief Economist Bob Costello.

“Essentially, the market is transitioning

back to pre-pandemic shares of contract

versus spot market,” Costello said in a July

18 press release. “ATA’s tonnage index is

dominated by contract freight, so while the

spot market has slowed as freight softens,

contract carriers are backfilling those losses

with loads from shippers reducing spot

market exposure.”

For much of the past year, the industry

has seen spot rates rise to record levels.

Contracted rates, following the usual cycle,

were slow to catch up. With supply chain

constraints and manufacturing slowdowns,

many carriers kept their trucks moving by

finding loads on the spot market.

Now, we’ve entered a later stage of the

cycle. Spot rates are trending downward,

while carriers who negotiated new contract

rates with their customers are seeing those

efforts pay off.

The 2.7% increase in June follows a 0.3%

May increase. ATA’s June index equaled 120.1,

putting the month 20.1% ahead of the 2015

baseline used by ATA.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the June

result was the 10th straight year-over-year

gain.

The Cass Freight Index, which measures

shipping volumes and expenditures from

multiple modes of transportation, declined

2.6% in June from May values. Compared to

June 2021, freight volumes fell 2.3%.

The Cass release indicates shipments have

been down four of the six months reported

this year and notes that inventory has shifted

from “a major tailwind” to a more neutral

posture but could become a headwind later

this year. That’s an indication that retailers

and manufacturers that previously couldn’t

get enough products have reached inventory

levels and slowed ordering for new products.

Decreased consumer demand, fueled by

inflation, has caused reductions in shipping

orders.

The Cass Freight Index measures freight

hauled by rail, truck, ship, barge, pipeline and

air.

In FTR’s “Mid-Year Lookaround,” release

on June 30, Steve Graham, analyst at FTR,

said, “We are living in strange times. First, a

100-year pandemic that brought out the best

and worst of humanity. Some of the policy

responses could be up for debate.”

He cautions that we should not ignore

the reality of inflation. He also mentioned

recession, saying, “The probability of a

recession emerging in the next year is about

even, or 50/50.”

iStock Photo

According to DAT, spot rates for van freight declined 0.9% in June from May rates but are still 0.5% higher than they were in June 2021, just a year ago. Flatbed rates in June

were 0.1% lower than in May but were still 9.5% higher than June 2021. Refrigerated rates declined a full percentage point from May and were 1.6% lower than in June 2021.

Inflationary pressures abound, with

higher prices for food and fuel taking a

larger chunk of consumers’ paychecks.

People have to eat, and they need gas to

get to work. They can, however, do without

new computers, appliances and other

nonessential products. The result is that

shipment numbers come down, bringing

spot freight rates down too.

According to the latest “Trendlines”

report from DAT Services, spot loads posted

in June on the country’s largest load board

declined by 20.2% from May; in June 2021,

the decline was 26%. A decline of more than

one-fifth of the number of posted loads in

only one month is huge.

Fewer loads means more competition for

the loads that remain — and lower rates too.

Spot rates for van freight declined 0.9% in

June from May rates but are still 0.5% higher

than they were in June 2021, just a year ago.

Flatbed rates peaked a little later than van

and refrigerated rates on the DAT board.

For June, they were 0.1% lower than in May

but were still 9.5% higher than June 2021.

Refrigerated rates declined a full percentage

point from May and were 1.6% lower than in

June 2021.

Rates are still at a comfortable level

compared to 2020, when the market plunged

due to COVID before rebounding quickly.

There is, however, another issue — fuel.

Nationwide average diesel prices

reached a peak of $5.72 per gallon on June

20, according to the U.S. Energy Information

Administration (EIA). During that same

week, diesel prices averaged $6.92 in

California, with multiple retailers charging

over $7 per gallon. Diesel prices have been

falling since then, but are still over the $5

mark at the time of this writing.

During the same week of 2021, a gallon

of diesel sold for $3.29. A year before that

it was $2.42. Carriers large and small have

issues coping with higher fuel costs.

Combining higher fuel cost with lowered

freight rates on the spot market can have

devastating results on the smallest carriers.

To help keep inflation in check, the

Federal Reserve announced an increase in

its most favorable interest rate of 0.75%. The

group indicated at the time that a second

We are living in

strange times. ... The

probability of a recession

emerging in the next year is

about even, or 50/50.”

— STEVE GRAHAM , ANALYST, FTR

increase of the same amount was likely to

be imposed at the July meeting toward the

end of the month. A poor inflation report

in July, however, has them talking about the

possibility of a full 1% increase.

While such action may slow the

economy, the total cost of homes, cars and

other items that require financing will rise

considerably, as will finance costs for new

and used trucks.

Trucking enjoyed a strong market with

favorable freight rates for almost two years,

but the downcycle has begun. Expect a

rough ride for the rest of the year. 8


14 • AUGUST 2022 BUSINESS

THETRUCKER.COM

Drivers need to be sure braking systems are

in compliance before hitting the road

CLIFF ABBOTT | SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

FLEET FOCUS

One thing that large trucks and small automobiles

have in common — at least since 1994

— is that each one sold in the U.S. is required to

have self-adjusting brakes.

The comparison ends quickly, however.

Drivers of automobiles aren’t required to inspect

the adjustment of their brakes before

driving. They are under no obligation to check

brake lines to make sure they’re secured and

that no “chafing” is occurring. There’s no form

to complete, attesting that the brake fluid level

was checked and is satisfactory. For the most

part, they hop into their four-wheelers and

drive.

On the other hand, drivers of commercial

motor vehicles (CMVs) deal with all these

things. There’s even a special week set aside

during which law enforcement concentrates

on brake safety, performing inspections nationwide

to identify brake issues on CMVs.

This year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety

Alliance (CVSA) will be conducting its annual

Brake Safety Week August 21-27. The special

focus this year will be brake hose chafing, although

inspections will also include brake

components and adjustment.

CVSA is a partnership between government

agencies, law enforcement and trucking industry

businesses. The CVSA determines inspection

parameters, including what constitutes a

minor violation versus one serious enough to

put the vehicle out of service (OOS). The organization

develops inspection techniques and

provides guidance to law enforcement personnel

so they know what, and how, to inspect.

Many company drivers have an attitude

that the truck owner (the carrier) is responsible

for keeping the equipment in peak operating

condition. Drivers who own their trucks know

what their responsibilities are — but inspection

of brake components is time-consuming and

often dirty work, crawling underneath the vehicle

to inspect components that can’t be seen

from above.

It’s easy for a driver to become complacent

about brake issues, assuming they’ll be checked

out and repaired during the truck’s next maintenance

visit. However, because of the potential

for catastrophic damage if brakes on a CMV

aren’t working at full capacity, it’s important

the driver be fully confident the entire braking

system is in good shape.

During Brake Safety Week 2021, a total of

35,764 CMVs were inspected in 50 North American

jurisdictions (some states and) provinces

did not participate). Of the total inspections,

12% were placed OOS for brake-related violations.

Other violations resulted in warnings or

citations but weren’t serious enough to warrant

an OOS order.

Keep in mind that inspection results data

reflects only the percentage of trucks that

are actually stopped and checked. Some media

outlets regularly (and incorrectly) assign

iStock Photo

During Brake Safety Week 2021, a total of 35,764 commercial motor vehicles were inspected in North American jurisdictions. Of the total inspections, 12% were placed OOS

for brake-related violations.

those number to all of the CMVs on the road.

Trucks are chosen for inspection for different

reasons, ranging from totally random

selection to deliberate selection of trucks with

visible issues, older trucks or even trucks from

a particular industry, like logging or trash hauling.

Some inspectors deliberately select trucks

that appear more likely to have violations. That’s

good for highway safety, but can reinforce public

perception that trucks are dangerous.

To ensure a positive experience during an

inspection and to maximize the vehicle’s safety,

the driver needs to know the condition of the

entire braking system, including its individual

parts.

Because of vehicle movement, reinforced

rubber or thermoplastic hoses are used where

the lines are expected to move around. Supports

and brackets are often used to keep them

separated so they cause damage, known as

chafing. These supports and brackets can break

or move. In addition, lines used to replace old

or damaged lines may not be of the same length

as the original, allowing for more movement or

contact with other hoses or parts of the vehicle.

Identifying chafing isn’t difficult, but

frequent inspections should be made. This

may require a flashlight to see lines in shadowy

areas or at night. Lines that contact an object,

including other lines, should be moved or

adjusted to prevent contact. Lines should be

replaced when chafing become obvious.

Air leaks are another issue that is easy to

overlook, especially on trailers. Service brake

lines are charged with compressed air when

the brake pedal is depressed or a hand brake,

if equipped, is pulled. Unfortunately, an air leak

in a service line toward the rear of a trailer can

be difficult to hear from the cab of the truck.

To compensate for this, try opening the cab

windows while depressing the brake pedal and

listening for leaks. It’s even better if two people

work together, one depressing the brake while

the other listens.

Brake hoses that are kinked or that have

improper repairs are also cause for concern.

Occasionally an emergency brake line repair

might consist of a splice made with a piece of

metal pipe and a couple of heater-hose clamps.

While such a repair might be enough to get the

brakes working and get the truck out of the

road, they can be dangerous and are cause for

being placed OOS during an inspection.

Beneath the truck, slack adjusters should be

checked for proper travel when brakes are applied.

Travel distances can differ based on the

size and the manufacturer of the parts, so the

driver may need to research to determine the

correct travel measurement to look for. The National

Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and

most manufacturers recommend that adjusters

that fail NOT be adjusted to bring them into

compliance. If they are out of adjustment, they

should be replaced.

The thickness of brake shoes or pads is

another item that can result in an OOS order.

Generally, brake shoes must have a quarterinch

remaining. Pads for disc brakes can be an

eighth of an inch. On many trucks, the pads are

exposed and easily visible. On others, there may

be an inspection plate that must be removed to

observe thickness.

Check drums and rotors for cracks, too.

Small “check” cracks in the drum surface that

contacts brake shoes are normal, while any

cracks elsewhere can be grounds for being

place out of service.

Knowing the condition of the braking system

can help ensure drivers are getting maximum

stopping power and help them keep rolling

in the event of an inspection. 8


THETRUCKER.COM AUGUST 2022 • 15

BUSINESS

SAFETY SERIES

Knowledge of hours-of-services rules,

logging devices plays vital role in driver’s job

Love ’em or hate ’em, electronic logging

devices (ELDs) are here to stay for the majority

of drivers of commercial vehicles. Once

ELDs became mandatory ( for most drivers)

in December 2017, tracking and reporting of

drivers’ hours of service (HOS) was changed

forever.

Those changes began in the U.S. Legislature

with the passage of a 2012 transportation

funding bill known as Moving Ahead for

Progress in the 21st Century Act, or MAP-21.

A portion of that bill was the Commercial

Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act,

which mandated the ELD rule. As directed,

the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

(FMCSA) issued the final rule in December

2015, and the rule was fully enacted four

years later.

Drivers are still required to fill out paper

logs if their ELD system isn’t working

or when driving vehicles that aren’t ELD

equipped, or if they have ELD systems that

can’t accept data from the system in a previously

driven truck. There is a limit of eight

days of operation unless the truck or the

work is exempted.

Another issue is that drivers can come to

depend on warnings and alerts from the ELD

rather than mentally tracking their hours.

Those drivers may need a refresher on the

hours-of-service rules when paper logs are

used.

The basics haven’t changed much in a decade

or more. Drivers of property-carrying

vehicles can’t drive after 11 hours of driving

or after 14 hours of combined driving and

working (on-duty, not driving).

There are exceptions to both rules, such

as additional time allowed if the driver encounters

adverse driving conditions that

could not have been reasonably known at

the beginning of the shift or trip.

The driver must take a 30-minute break

before or at the eight-hour driving mark.

Thanks to a September 2020 change to the

rule, the break can be used for non-driving

activities such as fueling or inspections,

as long as no driving is done. Before this

change, the driver had to log off-duty, sleeper

berth or a combination of the two for the

break.

Drivers can’t drive after 60 hours of driving

or working in a seven-day period, or after

70-hours in an eight-day period. The 70-hour

rule is typically used for trucking operations

that run seven days a week, while the 60-

hour rule is used by operations that regularly

shut down on specific days each week, such

as weekends. When the limits are reached,

drivers must wait until the hours fall under

the limit or take a 34-hour restart to reset

those hours at zero before driving again.

It’s important to note that the 14-hour

CLIFF ABBOTT | SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

rule and the 60 in seven and 70 in eight

rules do not prohibit working beyond the

set limits. The rules prohibit driving until

the requirements are met, but non-driving

work such as loading or unloading aren’t restricted.

Drivers can work as many hours as

they like, as long as no driving is done until

the driver has had 10 hours off-duty or in the

sleeper berth or the total hours fall below 60

or 70, depending on the rule used.

The adverse weather provision is often

misunderstood and misused. In order for a

driver to drive extra hours under the rule,

the circumstances causing the adverse conditions

cannot have been reasonably known

before the driving period began.

For example, predicted rain can result

in flooding over the roadway, or in certain

conditions can quickly turn to snow and ice.

An argument that those conditions could

not have been reasonably known might

be a solid one. However, if weather reports

predicted freezing precipitation for several

days, it becomes harder to argue that the

driver couldn’t have known the roads would

be bad.

In another example, a traffic jam caused

by an accident can’t be known beforehand

but claiming adverse driving conditions ‏—

because of rush hour in a large city might not

work as well.

There are also specific regulations that

govern ELDs. The first is that the device used

must be registered with the FMCSA. That’s a

process that begins with the manufacturer

following the necessary registration steps,

including a “self-certification” that the ELD

meets all the requirements.

The carrier must verify that the device is

registered; if the carrier is a one-truck owner-operator

business, the owner/driver has

the responsibility. Registration can be done

online at eld.fmcsa.dot.gov/list. The page

includes a list of more than 800 registered

devices and also includes a link to a list of

devices for which the registration has been

revoked.

Also, it’s helpful to make sure the most

current version of the ELD software is being

used. Check with the manufacturer for updates.

There may be a current problem with

ELDs that depend on cellular networks to

transmit data. The 3G network has been retired

by every major carrier except Verizon,

and even that one will be retired in December.

Owners of ELDs that depend on the Verizon

network should make sure their devices

will operate on 4G or 5G networks.

Smaller cellphone carriers such as Cricket,

Pure Talk or Consumer Cellular contract

to use the networks of larger carriers, so a

phone-based ELD that works through another

carrier could still use the Verizon network. Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, or the ELD system can

There are rules that govern ELD capabilities,

too. The device must be able to trans-

to record the data on a thumb drive that the

transmit via fax or email. Another option is

fer the driver’s record-of-duty status (RODS) official inserts into his or her own device.

electronically to an inspector during a stop, Instructions for operating the ELD, and

confirm successful transmission and allow for transmitting data must be carried by the

the safety official to enter a comment. driver and provided to the safety officer on

During an inspection, some officials demand. Often, written instructions are included

in the ELD program so that it isn’t

will be satisfied with looking at the driver’s

record on the screen of the ELD, but many necessary to carry printed materials.

will want either a printout or a copy of the Knowing the provisions of the HOS rules

record. This can be accomplished in several

ways. The safety official can connect via them is a vital part of any driver’s job. 8

and the workings of the ELD that records

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THETRUCKER.COM

EQUIPMENT & TECH

AUGUST 2022 • 17

Manufacturers reported sales of 22,850 in the month, an increase of 17.5% over May sales. Compared with last year’s June sales of 20,369, the increase was 12.2%.

iStock Photo

Time to buy?

CLASS 8 SALES STRONG IN JUNE BUT HIGHER PRICES, INTEREST RATES ARE ON THE HORIZON

CLIFF ABBOTT | SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

In June, U.S. sales of new Class 8 trucks experienced

the best month of the year to date,

according to data received from ACT Research.

Only one month — December 2021 — has seen

higher sales numbers since the pre-pandemic

month of December 2019.

Manufacturers reported sales of 22,850 in

the month, an increase of 1,578 trucks (7.4%)

over May sales, which were the previous high for

this year. Compared with last year’s June sales of

20,369, the increase was 12.2%.

June was the second-best month since 2019.

Only sales in December 2021 exceeded June 2022.

“We had the best production month in the

entire cycle in June,” said Kenny Vieth, president

and senior analyst for industry forecaster ACT

Research. “June was materially above the build

rate trends.”

The increased sales may be an indication that

supply chain issues, such as the difficulty in obtaining

semiconductors and parts that contain

them, may be easing up.

That doesn’t mean supply-chain issues are

over, however.

“We don’t know if whether this is an upside

breakout due to parts becoming available on a

steady basis or it is as simple as a couple of shipments

came in, allowing the OEMs to catch up,

temporarily,” Vieth said.

Inflationary pressures could also be partly responsible.

As consumers spend a greater portion

of their income on food and fuel, it leaves less

money available for purchase of products that

contain semiconductors — which then become

available for use in vehicle manufacturing.

Of the Class 8 trucks sold in June on the U.S.

market, 5,250 (22.5%) of the total sold were vocational

trucks equipped with dump, trash, concrete

or other bodies. That’s only a 2.8% increase

over sales a year ago in June 2021, while sales

of over-the-road, fifth-wheel-equipped tractors

rose by 16%.

According to Vieth, “If Daimler is having

trouble getting parts and materials, Joe’s body

shop is, too.”

Another reason is the price of steel, including

tariffs imposed by former president Donald

Trump and left in place by Joe Biden. It takes a

lot of steel to manufacture some types of truck

bodies. The economy plays a part, too, according

to Vieth.

“Certainly what’s going on in the economy

right now is more likely to impact vocational

markets sooner than the over the road market,”

he said.

Vieth thinks the truck market will remain

strong, at least for a while.

“Vehicle demand remains healthy, if moderating

from here, with pent-up demand expected

to push into 2023,” he explained in a recent ACT

press release. “Finally, some prebuy activity is anticipated

prior to the implementation of CARB’s

Clean Truck mandate, helping to support activity

next year.”

In the meantime, the number of orders

placed for 2022 model equipment exceeds the

industry’s ability to build them before switching

over to 2023 models.

“The North American Class 8 market ended

June with a backlog of roughly 223,000 units,”

Vieth said. “200,000 units are scheduled for build

by the end of this year.”

Since OEMs generally begin building new

model year trucks on Jan. 1, many of the current

orders for 2022 models will need to be canceled

and reordered as 2023 models.

Buyers can also expect increasing prices

resulting from rising costs of parts and components.

Those who finance new equipment will

see an increase in the cost of borrowing as interest

rates continue climbing. On June 15 the Federal

Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate

by three-quarters of a percentage point, the largest

such hike since 1994.

Economists expect further hikes by the end

of the year, with some predicting another onehalf

to three-quarter percent rise at the FED’s

July meeting.

“That’s certainly one of the big headwinds we

see in 2024 and then to 2024,” Vieth said. “Most

of the big fleets tend to be cash buyers, so the

smaller guys will be impacted most.”

According to data from Wards Intelligence,

of the individual truck manufacturers reporting,

Freightliner led the way with U.S. sales of 8,129

trucks, good for 36.4% of new Class 8 sales during

June. Sales increased 11.2% over May’s 7,309 and

9.5% over sales of 7,426 in June 2021.

Kenworth and Peterbilt sales combined gave

PACCAR 29.6% of the U.S. market in June. Kenworth’s

3,194 sold was an increase of 13.9% over

May sales of 2,803 and 16.4% higher than sales of

2,743 in June 2021. Peterbilt sales of 3,418 were

up 1.3% from May’s 3,375 and 19.9% higher than

June 2021 sales of 2,851.

Volvo and Mack combined for 19% of U.S.

truck sales in June. Sales of 2,679 Volvo trucks

were 5.2% higher than the 2,546 sold in May,

while they were a whopping 82% higher than

the 1,472 sold in June a year ago. Mack sold 1,560

trucks in June, an increase of 13.7% over May’s

1,372 but a decline of 3.8% from June 2021 sales

of 1,704.

International reported sales of 2,927 in June,

up 4.6% over May sales numbers but down 3.8%

from the 3,043 sold in June 2021. The company

sold 13.1% of the new Class 8 trucks sold on the

U.S. market in June.

Western Star’s 451 trucks sold in June represent

just 2% of the U.S. market — and a decline of

60 trucks or 11.7% from May sales of 511 trucks.

Compared to June 2021 when 601 trucks were

sold, sales declined by 25.0%

Truck sales are typically stronger in the last

month of each quarter, a fact that very likely contributed

to the higher June numbers. July, being

the first month of the new quarter, usually sees

sales numbers that are somewhat lower. With

the number of variables presented so far this

year, however, no sales prediction is foolproof.

The availability of more parts and components

could push production closer to capacity.

Another variable are trucks already built, waiting

on the lot for one or two final parts to be

installed before being sold. If the parts come in,

those trucks could be sold without a production

increase on the assembly line.

Finally, it’s nearly time for manufacturers

to begin producing 2023 model trucks. Buyers

could choose to wait for the new models to come

out, or could rush to buy 2022 models before

prices go up. 8


18 • AUGUST 2022 EQUIPMENT & TECH

THETRUCKER.COM

Volvo Trucks announces plans to build

electrified charging corridor in California

THE TRUCKER NEWS STAFF

LOS ANGELES — Volvo Trucks North

America is joining forces with Volvo Financial

Services, Volvo Technology of America, Shell

Recharge Solutions, TEC Equipment, Affinity

Truck Center and Western Truck Center to

develop a publicly accessible medium- and

heavy-duty electric vehicle (MHD EV) charging

network that connects several of California’s

largest metropolitan areas.

With an award from the California Energy

Commission (CEC) of $2 million under BEST-

FIT, the electrified charging corridor project

“will address key barriers to long-range MHD

EV deployments and accelerate widespread

adoption,” according to a news release.

The project will get underway this year,

with all five stations anticipated to be online

by the end of 2023.

“This project will open the door to a truly

electrified freight future in which zero-tailpipe

emission medium- and heavy-duty trucks are

no longer limited to short-mileage, return-tobase

operations and can reach far and wide

across the state,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president

of Volvo Trucks North America.

“We are excited to begin construction of

the electrified charging corridor project this

year in collaboration with these pioneering

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Courtesy: Volvo Trucks

A Volvo VNR Electric charges at the high-powered chargers available to fleets at TEC Equipment in Fontana,

California.

truck dealerships so that we can further support

fleets in successfully integrating batteryelectric

trucks into their operations, including

our Volvo VNR Electric model,” he continued.

“With the support of the CEC helping to drive

and manifest this project, we will see an accelerated

progression with ripple effects across

the industry.”

Patrick Shannon, North American president

at Volvo Financial Services, said Volvo

Financial Services “is committed to the development

of new solutions and business models

to enable innovative fleets to take the leap to

zero emissions transportation while minimizing

their required investments in private

charging infrastructure,”

During the next 18 months, the project

will deploy high-powered chargers at several

existing Volvo Trucks dealership locations

in central and northern California, including

TEC Equipment in Oakland, TEC Equipment

in Dixon, Western Truck Center in Stockton,

and Affinity Truck Centers in Fresno and Bakersfield.

The new facilities will serve as an extension

to chargers already available at the TEC

Fontana and TEC La Mirada locations in

Southern California.

With publicly accessible charging stations

strategically located at convenient intervals,

fleets using battery-electric trucks will be able

to complete zero-tailpipe emissions routes

between Southern, Central, and Northern

California.

“This investment for an electric truck

charging corridor is critical to accelerate

customer confidence in today’s commercial

battery-electric offerings,” said Matt Androski,

chief commercial officer at Shell Recharge

Solutions. “Shell Recharge Solutions is excited

to be a part of this innovative charging infrastructure

initiative, which will alleviate range

anxiety for electric truck customers traveling

throughout Southern, Central, and Northern

California.”

Volvo’s electrified charging corridor project

has the goal of enabling convenient charging

for:

• Small business fleets that want to

avoid making major financial investments in

large-scale charging infrastructure at their

site.

• Fleets looking to pilot an electric vehicle

through rental and short-term lease opportunities.

• Fleets that need an OEM-neutral

location to “opportunity charge” along their

route.

“The Energy Commission is thrilled to support

the electrified charging corridor project,

which will help California meet its goals for

zeroing out tailpipe emissions from trucks,”

said CEC Commissioner Patty Monahan.

“This project will showcase refueling solutions

for long-distance, zero-tailpipe emission

truck travel, and may stimulate additional

investments in similar corridors throughout

the state, across the country, and all over the

world.”

The CEC’s BESTFIT Innovative Charging

Solutions program funds projects that demonstrate

transformative technology solutions

and work to accelerate the successful commercial

deployment of electric vehicle charging

for light-, medium-and heavy-duty applications.

For more information about how Volvo

Trucks is pioneering electromobility initiatives,

visit www.volvotrucks.com/en-en/

about-us/electromobility.html. 8


FEATURES

THETRUCKER.COM AUGUST 2022 • 19

Taking care of travelers

A THIRD GENERATION OF THE PEEL FAMILY CONTINUES THE

TRADITION OF FEEDING DRIVERS AT WALCOTT’S IOWA 80 TRUCKSTOP

“Family” is a word that is heard frequently

heard at the Iowa 80 Truckstop. After all, the

“World’s Largest Truckstop” has been a part

of the trucking family since it was founded

by Bill Moon back in 1964. In fact, the Moon

family still owns and operates the facility.

But it’s not just the Moon family that carries

on the tradition of taking care of travelers.

When the truck stop opened, the restaurant,

known as the Iowa 80 Kitchen, was operated

by William and Ruth Peel. Their son,

Bill Peel, also made a career at the restaurant

— and the Peel family has been feeding visitors

ever since.

Today the Kitchen is run by William and

Ruth’s grandson, Jeff Peel. Other members of

the Peel family work in the full-service restaurant

or manage one of the fast food franchises

located in the truck stop.

“We now have several family members

involved,” Jeff said, adding that his cousin,

Jim Peel, manages the Taco Bell and Pizza

Hut Express concessions. Another cousin,

Christina Hahn Peel, works at the Iowa 80

Kitchen.

The food offerings at the Iowa 80 Truckstop

rival the food courts in malls anywhere.

Drivers can choose from their favorite fastfood

brands including Dairy Queen & Orange

Julius, Pizza Hut Express, Taco Bell and

Wendy’s. Coffee connoisseurs can get their

fix at Caribou Coffee, which shares a location

with Einstein Bagels. Both the Iowa 80 Kitchen

and the Wendy’s are 24-hour operations.

CLIFF ABBOTT | SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

We’ve heard stories

from local people

who came to the restaurant

with grandparents, or

drivers who told us their

dad brought them here on

a trip.”

— JEFF PEEL, IOWA 80 KITCHEN

The Peels aren’t the only family serving at

the Iowa 80 Kitchen.

“We have generations of family employees

that have been here,” Jeff said. “Today, on our

wait staff, we have a mother-and-daughter

team working side by side. We might even

have grandkids of somebody that worked

with my grandfather.”

There are families among the customers,

too.

“We’ve heard stories from local people

who came to the restaurant with grandparents,

or drivers who told us their dad brought

them here on a trip,” Jeff said.

Holidays are big days at the Iowa 80

Kitchen.

“Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, Easter,

Christmas — we usually put on a special buffet

that has a lot of the holiday fixings on it,”

Courtesy: Iowa 80 Truckstop

Jeff Peel, left, and his cousin Jim Peel, right, represent a third generation of the Peel family that has dedicated

their careers to serving meals and snacks to hungry travelers. The cousins are the grandsons of Jack and Ruth Peel,

operators of the original restaurant at the Iowa 80 Truckstop in Walcott, Iowa.

Courtesy: Iowa 80 Truckstop

The Iowa 80 Kitchen, which has been in operation since founder Bill Moon opened the Iowa 80 Truckstop back in

1964, offers a buffet of homestyle favorites. The “Worlds Largest Truckstop” also includes Dairy Queen & Orange

Julius, Caribou Coffee & Einstein Bagels, Pizza Hut Express, Taco Bell and Wendy’s.

said Rick Denny, the Iowa 80 Kitchen’s general

manager.

“They happen to be some of our busiest

days of the year. We’re the only place in town

that’s open, and more people are eating out

on the holidays so they come out and enjoy

the same food they would cook at home,”

Denny continued. “Drivers are very appreciative

of us being open on those days and having

the traditional foods available to them.”

One event that brings a holiday atmosphere

to the Kitchen is the annual Walcott

Truckers Jamboree. The three-day event

brings thousands of visitors to participate

in the many scheduled events — and those

visitors are hungry. Since Iowa is the No. 1

pork producing state in the nation, the event

includes a Pork Chop Cookout that serves

more than 5,500 chops, nearly 6,000 chicken

sandwiches and 1,000 hot dogs each year.

The restaurants are busy during the Jamboree,

too, serving those who prefer a fast-food

or a sit-down experience.

The grills operate from 11 a.m. until

8:30 p.m., so many visitors to the Jamboree

are fed multiple times during the three days

of the festival.

“We do the grilling with our own staff,

plus a lot of volunteers from the community,”

Denny said. “We have to staff the restaurants

during that time as well, so it’s a very busy

weekend.”

One of the volunteer groups is a local Boy

Scout troop. The Scouts can work towards

earning merit badges for their work, and the

Iowa 80 makes a donation to the troop in

return.

The Jamboree also provides an opportunity

for the team to meet the drivers they serve

all year at the restaurants.

“At the Jamboree, getting out there and

seeing a different side of everything gets you

excited about what you’re doing. It helps

us relate more to our customers,” Jeff said.

“We’re out in the open, and anybody can

walk up and give us their thoughts or share

a story.”

Keeping the grills going during the Jamboree

has led to some interesting experiences

for the team.

“Weather is usually the determining factor

on how the day is going to go,” Jeff said.

“One year it was so hot, and the parking lot

had been recently coated, and a guy’s tennis

shoes actually melted. The rubber sole of the

shoe came off and stuck to the pavement.”

Another year brought torrential rain to

the Jamboree.

“We were standing in more than a foot of

water, standing on pallets trying to finish the

pork chops,” Jeff said. “We were trying to figure

out what to do. We were wondering if we

should cancel the day. Luckily, the crew unclogged

a drain and the water was soon gone.

We were back up and running.”

When visitors arrive for the Jamboree, a

holiday dinner or just for a routine stop, the

Iowa 80 Kitchen family — and the Peel family

— will be here to make sure they are well

fed. 8


20 • AUGUST 2022 FEATURES

THETRUCKER.COM

Just a 5-minute walk can help reduce stress, improve health

MIND OVER

MATTER

HOPE ZVARA

Most of us could use more walking in our

lives — it’s great exercise. But for many drivers,

it’s not easy to find the time and a safe space to

walk. Here’s some good news: You don’t need a

lot of vast, open space or even a lot of time to

get up and walk.

Walking is a basic human movement we all

must do to age healthily, and walking can be a

full-body workout when done correctly.

Feeling stiff ? Walk!

Back hurt? Walk!

Want to lose weight? Walk!

Feeling stressed? Walk!

Looking to tone up? Walk!

Have five minutes? Walk!

WHY WALK?

The mental health benefits of walking range

from helping to manage stress and anxiety to

clearing brain fog and boosting your ability to

solve problems quickly. Walking is also linked

to better sleep, reduced risk of depression and

higher levels of happiness and self-esteem.

But walking benefits don’t stop there.

Walking can also:

• Lower blood pressure;

• Improve oxygen levels;

• Burn belly fat;

• Tone legs, glutes, abdomen and back;

• Reduce sugar cravings; and

• Improve immunity, digestion and

relieve constipation.

Instead of thinking you have to block out

30 to 60 minutes to exercise, consider adding

walking to an activity you are already doing,

or focus more on getting in just 15 minutes

of walk time — even if that means breaking

down that 15 minutes into five-minute bursts.

The key is to up your walking game to get

the most success for your stride.

1-MINUTE, PAIN-FREE

WALKING PREP ROUTINE

• Drink water.

• Stretch your feet.

• Squat three times.

• Stretch your calves.

• Stretch your groin and back.

• Twist from side to side.

• Do a forward bend.

So, you ask: What do 15 minutes of brisk

walking do for me? In 15 minutes, at a brisk

pace, most people can walk about 1 mile; in

that time, a person who weighs 175 pounds

will burn about 78 calories.

6 STRATEGIES FOR PROPER

WALKING MECHANICS

1. Feet pointing forward.

2. Body upright.

3. Shoulders Relaxed.

4. Mid Foot Strike.

5. Move from the hip when you walk.

6. Breathe deeply.

5 WAYS TO GET THE

MOST OUT OF YOUR WALK

Reflect on your day and notice where you

can add a few steps.

An extra lap around the truck stop?

Walking trail nearby? Or even a few extra laps

around your truck while doing your pre-trip

check? It all adds up.

1. Interval walking

Get the most out of five minutes and boost

your metabolism with this routine:

• One-minute moderate warm-up walk.

• Walk 30 seconds at a brisk pace.

• Walk 30 seconds at a fast pace.

• Repeat these steps three to four times.

• Finish with a one-minute cooldown

walk at a moderate pace.

2. Walking with weights

Incorporate hand weights to add more

upper body and core strengthening and

burn a few extra calories. Change your arm

movements as you walk, and notice what

muscles are active and engaged.

3. Chi meditative walking

Meditative walking requires that you pay

attention to every part of your body. Step

with a mid-foot strike and relaxed muscles

and supple joints to create freedom in your

physical body.

4. Meditative walking with music

Listen to relaxing music and focus on your

breathing. Be aware of your surroundings and

thoughts without overthinking or engaging.

Practice awareness.

5. Walk in place

Set a timer and walk in place when space

is an issue or safety concerns are present. Add

in any of the above, turn on some tunes, or call

a friend. This is easy to do right in the cab of

your truck.

Walking is an essential movement we all

must do to age healthily. If you focus on the

small pockets of time throughout the day to

walk more, you will find yourself happier and

healthier in body, mind and soul.

Hope Zvara is the CEO of Mother Trucker

Yoga, a company devoted to improving truck

drivers’ fitness and wellness standards. She

has been featured in Forbes and Yahoo News,

and is a regular guest on SiriusXM Radio. Her

practical strategies show drivers how they can

go from unhealthy and out of options to feeling

good again. For more information visit www.

mothertruckeryoga.com. 8


THETRUCKER.COM AUGUST 2022 • 21

FEATURES

Highway Angels

TRUCK DRIVERS RECOGNIZED FOR ACTS OF HEROISM ON THE ROAD

THE TRUCKER NEWS STAFF

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Corey Parker of Kenansville, North Carolina, and Robert Coats of Stow,

Ohio, have been honored as Highway Angels by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) because

of their acts of bravery while on the road. Since its inception in 1997, the Highway Angels

program has recognized nearly 1,300 professional truck drivers for the exemplary kindness,

courtesy and courage they have displayed while on the job.

COREY PARKER

COREY PARKER

Early in the evening on June 21, Parker was driving on a

busy highway south of Ashland, Virginia, when he noticed

a Lexus sedan traveling recklessly from lane to lane.

“They smacked the barrier and then went out to the

middle of the road, and then (went) in and smacked the

barrier again,” Parker said. “I thought, ‘Something’s definitely

going on.’”

Parker followed the car from Ashland onto the Chippenham

Parkway in Chesterfield, blasting his horn and

attempting to slow down traffic to alert travelers to the erratic

driver.

“I didn’t want to pull up right next to it since they were

just smacking the barrier, going in and out, so I just started

going in and out of all the lanes and made sure no cars got

on the side,” he said.

Courtesy: Truckload Carriers Association

Fearing the driver would crash into a car full of innocent

people, Parker used his truck to guide the vehicle to a

stop against a concrete barrier.

“The car slowed down to about 10, 15 (mph) and smacked the barrier,” he said. “I knew that

was the time to get in front of them.”

Once the car was stopped, Parker approached the driver’s side, opened the door and spotted

a Narcan pen in the driver’s lap. Naloxone, or Narcan, is used to reverse the effects of a drug

overdose. The driver was unconscious. Moments later, police arrived.

Virginia State Police (VSP) said they responded to the scene on Chippenham Highway near

Strathmore Road around 8 p.m.

“A green 2006 Lexus GS 300, driven by Antonio Hawkins, 32, of Richmond, had been seen all

over the road by witnesses before running off the road to the left and striking a guard rail,” according

to an email from Sgt. Jessica Shehan, reported CBS News 6 in Richmond.

Troopers on the scene noted that both the driver and the passenger, a 28-year-old man from

Richmond, were unconscious and unresponsive. According to news reports, law enforcement

and first responders administered Narcan at the scene, and the two regained consciousness.

The driver was checked out by paramedics on scene and refused further

medical treatment. The passenger was transported to Chippenham Hospital and

was discharged, VSP told media outlets. The crash is still under investigation.

“All I could think of was that car hitting kids or something,” Parker said, explaining why he

went to such extraordinary lengths to stop the car.

Parker says he knows firsthand how drugs can impact and take over a person’s life for the

worse; he was incarcerated for six years because of decisions he made while addicted. He has

since recovered, is married and owns a trucking business, a property and a home.

The driver of the Lexus later contacted Parker to thank him for saving his life.

“I’m in the process of helping him get into rehab,” Parker said.

ROBERT COATS

ROBERT COATS

On March 24, Coats was traveling southbound on Interstate

65 in Kentucky when he approached an accident involving

two commercial motor vehicles and a car, all three

of which were on fire.

“I saw a big plume of smoke, and then flames,” he said.

“Something just said, ‘pull over.’”

Upon reaching the accident scene, he found a woman

trapped in her car, which was on fire. The driver’s side door

was engulfed in 4-foot-high flames. Coats climbed into the

back seat of the car on the driver’s side to help.

“As she was stuck in there, I reached in. I said, ‘Ma’am!

Ma’am! we’ve gotta get out! We’ve gotta get out!’” Coats said.

Without a moment to spare, Coats coaxed the woman

to climb over the seat of the burning car into the back seat;

then he proceed to pull her out of the rear door window to

Courtesy: Truckload Carriers Association

safety.

Seconds later, the car exploded. The woman suffered multiple injuries and was airlifted to

receive medical attention. Three weeks later, the woman contacted Coats to thank him. Since

then, he has met with the woman and her family, who expressed gratitude for his help at the

scene.

“Mr. Coats used his fire extinguisher to stave off the fire that had ignited the victim’s car,” said

Kentucky State Police Officer Kelly Anderson. “He entered into a funnel of two CMVs that were

on fire, as well as the surrounding area. Witnesses stated he was holding back the fire until he

was able to remove her and pull her to safety moments before the car exploded.”

Coats said it was a miracle neither he nor the crash victim suffered any burns, despite being

in a car engulfed in flames. Many have asked Coats: Why would you jump into a burning car?

“There wasn’t a second thought about it. I just did it — I saw, and I went — that was it. Everything

worked out in God’s favor; that’s how he wanted it,” is his response.

“Mr. Coats went above and beyond and saved this lady’s life. He is a tribute to his profession,”

said a report from the Kentucky State Police. 8

LOVPB-0055_052722_5125x375_V1_L1.pdf 1 5/27/22 10:27 AM

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