Overdrive Radio

Overdrive

Overdrive magazine presents trucking interviews, music, speakers and other information and entertainment.

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Small Fleet Champ Silver Creek Transportation’s leader Jason Cowan speaks earlier on in this edition of Overdrive Radio to what he sees as an essential challenge in the highly competitive trucking industry for small fleet owners looking to lead by example and balance that competition with a rising-tide-floats-all-boats kind of mentality. Trucking companies can do more, he said, do embrace cooperation amongst their kind, where it makes sense, to get the job done without hampering future opportunities for all around trucking. In a nutshell: "I'd rather have your friendship than have your freight," he said, though such a spirit of 'co-opetition' is of course more complicated than that. Cowan and his wife and business partner, Penny, were joined for this roundtable discussion around owner-op and small fleet issues by fellow Small Fleet Champ finalists Robert and Karen Hallahan of Hallahan Transport and Nick Hewitt of Professional Transportation Services, Inc. All spelled out examples -- resistance to rate undercutting, referrals to carriers better equipped to haul certain products than your own -- that can pay off long-term when it comes to customer management, and growing the business. The roundtable discussion took places earlier in November at the annual meeting of the National Association of Small Trucking Companies in Nashville, Tennessee. It touched on a variety of trucking business best practices and challenges -- from the rise technological complication with ELDs and more to changes in the brokerage world all three of these finalists have spent efforts grappling with over the last decade and more. As noted, direct customer relations is a substantial part of it -- among the biggest areas of education any one-truck owner-op is likely to benefit from before jumping into the game with a second truck. Key in the long-term future benefit is avoiding self-inflicted wounds all panelists identified. Hear more in the podcast, and read about each of the finalists in profiles you can find at the following links. Silver Creek Transportation: https://www.overdriveonline.com/small-fleet-champ/article/15115043/diversification-silver-creek-transportations-growth-secret Hallahan Transport: https://www.overdriveonline.com/small-fleet-champ/article/15280238/hallahan-transport-thriving-on-lessons-learned-from-the-past PTSI: https://www.overdriveonline.com/small-fleet-champ/article/15280537/trucking-legacy-of-nick-hewitt-and-platform-hauler-ptsi Hear the announcement of the Small Fleet Champ winner at the NASTC even via this podcast from earlier in November 2021: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio/podcast/15281144/lowhanging-fruit-to-avoid-fmcsa-clearinghouse-violations

Nov 29

46 min 8 sec

In this edition of Overdrive Radio ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, we're taking time to engage with two independent car haulers – Indiana-based owner-operator David Bunting and Ellenwood, Georgia's Eric Turner, owner of small fleet Turner Transport, both of whom have mastered the niche in spite of current auto-market challenges. Those challenges were discussed in-depth with them and others in Overdrive News Editor Matt Cole's three-part deep dive into car hauling, which you can read via this link: https://www.overdriveonline.com/business/article/15280473/automarket-turmoil-is-putting-squeeze-on-car-haulers There are plenty other car-haul challenges in a normal time, too, including per-vehicle-moved rates that don't always fluctuate with fuel the way a truck owner might want them to. There's varying heights of trailers loaded on two levels with differing types of vehicles, presenting bridge-strike danger around different parts of the country. Yet for the self-starting, self-reliant among owner-operators, there’s a reason so many are attracted to the hauling niche -- most car haulers report cumbersome loading processes but with a chief benefit in that you're reliant on yourself to do the work most often. Dock personnel do not hold you at their mercy, as it were. Hear the stories of both men and how they got into the niche, and plenty more, in today's edition. Also in today's podcast: A run through "Virginia Red," a new single written about a driver and his truck. The tune was penned by Overdrive's Music to Truck By streaming radio host Big Al Weekley and his wife, Sandy Shortridge, who sings the bluegrass ballad. Read more about it via https://www.overdriveonline.com/life/article/15280309/music-to-truck-by-back-in-overdrive-with-a-third-hour

Nov 19

26 min 40 sec

In this Veterans Day 2021 special edition of Overdrive Radio, we sat down with active-duty servicemember and small fleet owner Rob Ahlers, currently serving under the Chief of Logistics for the Pentagon out of D.C. With two military vets as partners, Ahlers launched the private MSR Transport Services with an intention to help fellow vets transition to civilian careers in trucking, and since the start in 2014 MSR's up to more than 30 power units, some owner-operated, hauling mostly expedited and Department of Defense freight with the fleet. MSR is the latest recipient of Daimler Trucks' Cleveland, North Carolina plant's Ride of Pride series of patriotically decorated rigs, a 2022 Western Star 5700 XE pictured in the thumbnail with this podcast -- find more pictures from MSR via the post that houses this podcast: https://www.overdriveonline.com/15281342 What's Veterans Day mean to you? For Ahlers, in part it’s opportunity to continue to provide gainful employment to a bevy of military vets hauling for the company. Hear much more about Ahlers and company’s bedrock business here, but also his reflections on the bedrock importance of Veterans Day. The 2014 story about MSR just as Ahlers was getting started: https://www.overdriveonline.com/channel-19/article/14887370/more-from-former-driver-military-logistics-pro-on-small-fleet-for-driving-vets As mentioned in the podcast, here's former servicemember and owner-operator W. Joel Baker's recollection on how military service led him to trucking: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-extra/article/15281175/how-trucking-changed-this-military-veterans-life

Nov 11

28 min 14 sec

Helping carriers dealing with the 'fun' that can come with safety and compliance during federal or state audits is at least a good part of the life of Fleet Safety Services consultant Jeff Davis, the principal voice in this edition of Overdrive Radio. After starting in trucking as a driver, Davis eventually made a career helping mostly small motor carriers through those compliance reviews. At the annual conference of the National Association of Small Trucking Companies this past week in Nashville, Davis offered information into new audit activity related to the relatively new drug and alcohol testing results Clearinghouse maintained by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration -- and common slip-ups carriers are making with required pre-employment and other checks there. Too many, he said, are getting dinged by auditors for violations that are ultimately easily prevented, as he tells it. There’s a lot happening in terms of the Clearinghouse, too, that Davis rounds up in what follows here, certainly germane to those of you in the audience who employ or lease with one or more drivers or owner-operators. Also in the podcast: We'll dive into the Small Fleet Champ awards presentation Thursday night to the record-setting group of NASTC attendees at its annual conference – according to President David Owen, attendance at the event nearly doubled prior years’ registrations, truly something to behold. Congrats again to finalists Hallahan Transport and Professional Transportation Services Inc. – and the ultimate Small Fleet Champ in Silver Creek Transportation. This isn't the last we'll hear from owners Rob Hallahan, Nick Hewitt and Jason Cowan, be assured. Read more about each of the finalist fleets: Hallahan -- https://www.overdriveonline.com/small-fleet-champ/article/15280238/hallahan-transport-thriving-on-lessons-learned-from-the-past PTSI: https://www.overdriveonline.com/small-fleet-champ/article/15280537/trucking-legacy-of-nick-hewitt-and-platform-hauler-ptsi Silver Creek Transportation: https://www.overdriveonline.com/small-fleet-champ/article/15115043/diversification-silver-creek-transportations-growth-secret

Nov 8

45 min 42 sec

Ruben Cardenas is one of the haulers involved with the Plus company, among the scads of tech companies dipping their toes into freight hauling as they work on ever-more-technically-capable advanced driver assist systems. And Plus isn't shy about using marketing terminology like "self-driving" and "autonomous driving" to describe their systems. Cardenas speaks to his day-to-day on-highway testing of the Plus systems, helping refine system capabilities. The interview with Cardenas was conducted by my colleague over at fleet magazine CCJ, Editor Jason Cannon, for CCJ’s weekly video-centric 10-44 series of talks. Cardenas is no stranger to the owner-operator world, with 11 years of truck ownership in his rearview before he joined up with Plus in his current role in 2018. His long experience begs the question, of course: Why would a career hauler get involved with a company that seems bent on the eventual removal of drivers from the steering wheel, maybe even the seat? It's complicated. Hear more from Overdrive Radio: http://overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio Catch our final episode in the "Over the Road" series coproduction with PRX's Radiotopia, all about the hype around, and reality of, increasingly autonomous driving systems: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio/podcast/15064842/over-the-road-reality-creeps-toward-automated-future Find CCJ's 10-44 series via the magazine's YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPNPtn8aKWxAu-_f5e2zVsA3dmo5Yq8P4

Oct 29

31 min 28 sec

Consider today's Overdrive Radio edition in the context of Overdrive Executive Editor Alex Lockie’s reporting on the intermodal niche released a week and a half back, and the system-wide backlogs being experienced all around the container-moving supply chains, particularly evident at the nation’s West Coast ports. The feature was another entry in our "Niche Hauls" series of features on freight segments where owner-ops are in high demand: https://www.overdriveonline.com/business/article/15279445/intermodal-haulers-fight-off-a-system-collapse-at-ports What we didn’t get in that three-part report was a perspective from among the top volume ports on the East Coast – for that, Overdrive Editor Todd Dills reached back to small fleet owner-operator George Berry, working out of the Port of Virginia principally. He’s a uniquely qualified source to voice owner-operators’ views on just where congestion issues at the ports originate. For years now he’s been a voice in a group called “For Truckers By Truckers” on social media around port and other intermodal drivers’ issues, and his small fleet leases with five owner-operators now out of Virginia. For Truckers By Truckers continues today as principally an intermodal informational source for drivers and owner-operators of all types: https://www.facebook.com/ForTruckersbyTruckers Since the President of the United States raised port issues as a national concern almost two weeks ago, there’s been no small amount of finger-pointing to just who’s to blame among supply chain parties. Yet as George Berry tells it, the backlog issue is multifaceted, stressed by mismanaged sorting, pressure on intermodal haulers to pickup on the "last free day," a generalized, widespread shortage of chassis as they're tied up by various parties, and much, much more. Undue detention issues arise then at the warehouse receiving end more often than not if the hauler’s lucky enough to get an open chassis. Yet among it all, there's good news for that common problem even in intermodal work, where "free" detention time is dwindling at receivers, and commonly low intermodal owner-operator revenue levels annually are rising. Berry estimates the current high-demand/relatively-shorter-supply situation could yield as much as a $50K revenue boost annually (or around 50%) for such operators. Berry describes himself as a "California kid," and while his intermodal career has been centered in Virginia since early this century, he feels California's emissions regs and other restrictions have exacerbated ports' overload out West. That traces straight back to the California Air Resources Board’s Drayage and wider Truck & Bus rule restricting port operators and then the wider trucking community to running only newer-model-year vehicles. Those restrictions were put in place on pre-2007-emissions-spec engines serving the ports well before trucks running in the rest of the state, furthermore. "They’ve kind of created this conundrum, in my opinion, on their own," he says in this podcast. "And when they say, 'You make it, you’re going to sit in it and stew," and that's basically what’s going to happen with Los Angeles/Long Beach."

Oct 25

40 min 28 sec

In this week's edition of Overdrive Radio, a window on the narratives that emerged from the SHE Trucking Expo, where Overdrive Radio host and editor Todd Dills spent Day One of the conference speaking to attendees and organizers about goals of network-building within and outside of the minority-owned business community. Founded and spearheaded by Chattanooga-based longtime driver/owner-operator/SHE Trucking Facebook group founder Sharae Moore, the expo was not only diverse in terms of the backgrounds of people in attendance and participating. As Adam Wingfield, former owner-operator and current head of the Innovative Logistics Group consultancy, put it, Moore excelled in bring together a "diversity of thought" as well, no doubt. The bulk of the podcast features an end-of-day discussion with these stakeholders, in addition to Wingfield, and all directly connected to Moore's efforts to build the Expo: **Professional driver and trainer Shanna Sellers, Charlotte, North Carolina **Pierre Laguerre, founder of Fleeting, Inc., Atlanta **Tristen Simmons and Tawana Randall of the Leading Ladies of Logistix group, South Carolina, Atlanta **Alix Burton of small fleet Good Energy Worldwide, Atlanta **Sunny Vraitch, CFO of PrimeLink Express, Stockton, California **Melanie Patterson, small fleet owner and proprietor at Team Integrity Knowledge Center, Chicago Presentations by Wingfield and former NFL player and fleet/brokerage owner Thomas Johnson, of Memphis, are also featured. What emerges ultimately is the importance to potential success of harnessing the power of community, of numbers, of basic teamwork of a kind. Catch more scenes from the SHE Trucking Expo via this contemporaneous coverage of the September event: https://www.overdriveonline.com/channel-19/article/15114880/scenes-from-the-first-annual-she-trucking-expo

Oct 13

46 min 29 sec

Heading up this Overdrive Radio special edition are the words and guitar of none other than Guy Archer, a professional driver with Airgas who’s on his way to Nashville early next month for the recording session that was the prize for his big win last month in the 2021 Overdrive/Red Eye Radio Trucker Talent Search. In this edition of the podcast we give the podcast listeners the pleasure of running through the three Talent Search finalists’ excellent entries into that competition, this year having wrapped up its 8th year in existence. Before that, though, catch a window on a special program -- the gala awards presentation at the Truckload Carriers Association’s Truckload 2021 conference out in Las Vegas last week. It features introductions to the Company Driver of the Year with Overdrive sister magazine Truckers News, and our own Owner-Operator of the Year. The convention center ballroom setting -- with a festive stage flanked by giant screens -- saw each contender telling parts of their stories, in their own words, reflecting on the difficulties imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year plus, and much more. It’s a special program, ultimately, and one you're encouraged to take part in this year – the nomination period for owner-operator and company driver of the year is open now through October 25: https://www.overdriveonline.com/business/article/15114873/nomination-period-open-for-owneroperator-of-the-year-contest Here's a big congrats to driver Betty Aragon and owner-operator Bryan Smith for their winning recognitions, and fellow finalists Dennis Cravener and owner-operators Glen Horack and Doug Schildgen. Read more about them all via http://overdriveonline.com/owner-operator-of-the-year

Oct 8

44 min 36 sec

This week's edition of the Overdrive Radio podcast features an expansive discussion I had with longtime professional trucker Tom Kyrk about his involvement in the relatively new TNC Radio streaming station, gearing itself to speak directly to drivers -- predominantly but not entirely in trucking, as it were. As Kyrk tells, a sizable portion of the content tries to hit the intersection between pro four-wheeled drivers and all of you, Class 8 owners and drivers: https://tncradio.live/ Kyrk’s gotten involved interviewing guests and contributing in various ways after a decade and a half-plus trucking career, all of it as a company driver. As he tells in the beginning portion of today’s podcast, he spent 14 years with Stevens Transport before in recent years moving over in a team operation to IBI Secured Transport. Also in the podcast: A bit of a public service announcement from Overdrive and the readership that’s directed to everybody’s four-wheeled friends about sharing the road -- at the very end. Here's a link to where that PSA originally aired: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio/podcast/14897719/channel-onenine-special-from-over-the-road-drivers-ed

Oct 1

38 min 14 sec

This edition of Overdrive Radio features the voice of an owner-operator you may well recognize – Debbie Desiderato, now principally out of Virginia, and sometimes Long Island, New York. She's had quite a year a half or so, moving to sell her long-running and quite recognizable Kenworth in 2020 in a turn back to hotshot car hauling for a time, before she capitalized on opportunity hauling in support of logging operations around her Virginia base with a used purchase of a 2017 Western Star 4900. Less than a year after purchasing the rig, she’s now the recipient of a custom interior renovation by "Secret Celebrity Renovation" series star Jason Cameron. That was courtesy of the TransFix digital brokerage company after Desiderato won the TransFix My Rig sweepstakes, part of the company’s efforts to give back during National Truck Driver Appreciation week. It’s a pretty spectacular upgrade, not only for a feature wall at the back of the sleeper with plenty of "wow" factor in it – in the conversation featured here between Overdrive News Editor Matt Cole and the owner-operator, Desiderato spends a good deal more time pointing out more purely functional additions. There's now a whole lot more cold storage space for food, for one. That comes with a real bottom line impact for the business, given the ability to better prep for cooking in the truck. Read about Desiderato's brief 2020 turn to hotshot car hauling after trade-show freight she'd been hauling dried up with COVID: https://www.overdriveonline.com/business/article/14897956/walkabout-transport-hotshot-as-refuge-from-the-pandemic Also in the podcast: FMCSA's last-week-promised answers to particular questions relative to the COVID-19 emergency declaration's hours of service waiver's now long existence. We've posted those answers in this post for last week's podcast with an update: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio/podcast/15114806/how-the-covid-hours-waiver-could-disentangle-hos-rigidity Recently former Acting FMCSA Administrator Wiley Deck also offers his own perspective on the future likelihood (or not) of any tie between proven safety through data and increased hours of service flexibility.

Sep 24

29 min 26 sec

Trucker Nation Director of Communications Andrea Marks is our guest for this edition of Overdrive Radio. Marks is no stranger to the regulatory process -- or the ins and out of running a small trucking business. She has livestock haulers in her family’s small fleet. She's sharing here what she sees as a golden opportunity for hours of service flexibility advocates lying in plain view, in the form of the COVID-19 emergency declaration, waiving regs for emergency relief haulers of particular commodities since the beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020. There’s not just opportunity therein, though, but danger, given the September 1 changes to the emergency waiver seem to her to be designed to discourage use of the exemption and give regulators a way to control the narrative around its use. She wonders whether they anticipate a serious challenge to the efficacy of the hours of service rule itself. Any serious challenge might depend on how many carriers are running under the exemption, and how often – a question we’ve been asking at Overdrive this week. If you haven’t weighed in on your use of the COVID exemptions as yet, you can find the poll embedded in the post that houses this podcast here: Also there, find responses to questions put directly to FMCSA that were promised at by end of day Friday the 16th by the agency -- early next week at the latest. Those questions: 1: What is the reasoning behind shifting the COVID-19 emergency and its waiver to exempting only the drive-time limits of the hours of service, and not the other regulations previously exempted? 2. With regard to the reporting requirement or ask of carriers – is it really a requirement or merely a voluntary ask? 3. What information exactly is being asked of carriers to report? Will FMCSA be requesting number of trips, specific logs of trips, or merely attestation that the declaration was relied on, period? 4: Has the agency considered examining crash rates of carriers who’ve used the declarations to date extensively versus other carriers who haven’t? Andrea Marks truly believes that the COVID exemption could be hours flexibility advocates’ best chance to demonstrate the safety effectiveness of more permissive drive-time regulations, if only that data can be mustered.

Sep 16

39 min 44 sec

In this edition of Overdrive Radio, hear the musical entries of, and interviews with, the three songwriters who are finalists in this year’s Overdrive Red Eye Radio Trucker Talent Search. It's something of a preview of the big finale, set for September 16, at 5 p.m. Eastern time, and streaming from OverdriveOnline.com. Find out just how to tune in live that date and sign up for email reminders just before the broadcast via this link: https://www.overdriveonline.com/trucker-talent-search/article/15066153/trucker-talent-search-final-competition-set-for-september-16 In the podcast, we'll hear from trucker Mike Sheffield of Kentucky coal country, from Michigan-based Grassmid driver Rich Scripps, and Dayton, Ohio-based Guy Archer. All are featured in conversation, too, with the great Eric Harley, host of Red Eye Radio, Overdrive's partners in the program, now in its 8th year. This year's event's proved to be a special one, no doubt, with these excellent songwriters with incredibly diverse styles. Read more about Guy Archer via this link: https://www.overdriveonline.com/trucker-talent-search/article/15065701/trucker-talent-search-finalist-covers-chesneys-anything-but-mine Mike Sheffield: https://www.overdriveonline.com/trucker-talent-search/article/15065572/mike-sheffield-performs-original-song-hammer-down-again Rich Scripps: https://www.overdriveonline.com/trucker-talent-search/article/15065636/trucker-talent-search-competitor-covers-hawaiian-christmas-song

Sep 2

36 min 5 sec

Arguably the best-known and most-loved trucker movie is “Smokey and the Bandit,” and sharing that limelight is its signature song by Jerry Reed, “Eastbound and down.” The movie, released in 1977, came near the end of trucking’s pop-culture craze of the 1970s. It shared kinship with another movie about trucker rebellion: “Convoy.” That film was released in 1978, though the hit song of the same name that it was based on was released three years earlier. “Convoy,” even with its comedic moments, was more focused than “Bandit” on the forces that clashed with trucking, said Todd Uhlman, a socio-cultural expert at the University of Dayton. In “Truck Driver’s Blues,” a long piece he published last year in the journal Automotive History Review, Uhlman traced trucking culture through the lens of trucker songs of the last century. “Bandit,” and to a lesser extent the lyrics of “Eastbound and down,” is about “the trucker engaging in illegal activity, escaping the authorities, avoiding the ICC [Interstate Commerce Commission], not keeping his logs, not getting weighed, and breaking the law about transportation of alcohol across borders,” Uhlman said. “He’s doing all of those things, and yet the song – and the movie – is really a comedy. It’s not really meant to be directly confrontational.” Read more about the song and its history via this link: https://www.overdriveonline.com/15066221 Vote in Overdrive's ongoing surveying of readers about the greatest trucking song of all time via this link: https://www.overdriveonline.com/life/article/15114028/poll-weigh-in-with-your-top-three-on-this-short-list-for-the-greatest-trucking-song-of-all-time

Aug 30

7 min 54 sec

At the 2021 Shell Rotella SuperRigs truck show in the Chicago area last month, Overdrive News Editor Matt Cole asked these five owners variations on a couple of central questions: 1. The first asked owners to look out into the future and forecast prospects and plans five years ahead, given the current market and business plans in place. 2. The other had all to do with technology –- alternative powertrains like the electric-drive trucks we’re seeing trickle into the short-haul market, natural-gas power elsewhere, and those increasingly automated driver-assist features that continue to proliferate. The responses vary and overlap in significant ways -- illuminating in terms of where small trucking is today – and where it might well one day end up, hopefully with bedrock profitability intact. The owners who participated, clockwise from the top left in the thumbnail image associated with the podcast: Gary Jones: Owner, SPB Trucking Clayton Driskill: Owner, C&C Logistics J.R. Schleuger: Owner, Lifetime Nut Covers Dave Marti: Owner, Dave Marti Trucking Mike Wilkinson: Owner-operator, leased to Floyd Gibbons Trucking More coverage of the winning rigs from the Rotella SuperRigs event: https://www.overdriveonline.com/custom-rigs/article/15066783/rollin-transport-hauls-in-the-hardware-at-superrigs More editions of Overdrive Radio: http://overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio

Aug 27

19 min 2 sec

Looking at the landscape for commercial truck inspections, Pennsylvania-based former local-department officer and long-certified DOT inspector Andy Blair sees plenty missed opportunities when it comes to troopers helping truckers when it comes to knowledge of out-of-service violations. All too frequently, violations that put an owner-op or other driver out of service simply aren't explained at the point of inspection. Too many trucking companies large and small, furthermore, he knows, don't invest in the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance out-of-service criteria handbook, the only place you'll find those criteria in all their minutiae. The equipment category that takes up the largest number of pages therein? Why, brakes, of course. In today's edition of Overdrive Radio, Blair runs us through the specifics of the "20% rule" when it comes to clamp-type brake adjustment, among the most common of brake violations. Fundamentally, as he outlined in a document that's excerpted in the post that houses this podcast at OverdriveOnline.com, if 20% or greater percentage of a truck's brakes are defective, that unit is out of service. Hear our full discussion with Blair in the podcast, and visit this page for more textual detail on the brakes OOS violations ahead of the Brake Safety Week enforcement blitz, kicking off August 22: https://www.overdriveonline.com/15114023 Find states and regions where brakes enforcement is most prioritized all around the country via this link: https://www.overdriveonline.com/csas-data-trail/article/15113995/where-brakes-vehicle-enforcement-is-most-intense

Aug 20

49 min 6 sec

The thumbnail image with today's podcast was the product of the 2019 groundswell of grassroots advocacy that rose leading into the ultimate passage of the AB 5 law in California, which codified a controversial court decision that applied the ABC contractor test in the state. That test, to say the least, is problematic for owner-operator lease arrangements with motor carriers as they've traditionally been drawn up -- and federally recognized now for decades in the Truth in Leasing regulations. In this week's edition of Overdrive Radio, we’re going to drop into the annual Symposium event hosted by Overdrive sister fleet publication CCJ. This past Wednesday in Birmingham, Alabama, at the event, CTA CEO Shawn Yadon described what he saw with his own eyes on the ground in 2019 as that groundswell of advocacy rose. The result of that advocacy – a myriad of carveouts in the law by the legislature aimed at a laundry list of professions, but not for trucking, not for owner-operators. That set up the Supreme Court case Yadon and CTA filed Monday, and here we get more on potential outcomes from both Yadon and transportation attorney Greg Feary of the Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary law firm. Both men had much more to say about the history of how we got to this point, with owner-operators and their contracting motor carriers still playing the high-stakes waiting game on the outcome. Read more about the session in this report from the scene Wednesday: https://www.overdriveonline.com/regulations/article/15113768/the-california-conundrum-independent-contractor-state-of-play And more about the 2019 advocacy efforts here: https://www.overdriveonline.com/channel-19/article/14897067/rumblings-of-protest-out-west-in-wake-of-california-contractor-law

Aug 13

41 min 23 sec

It’s been decades since the influx of women into truck driving was considered news, at least among trucking media. But look long enough in the rear-view and you’ll reach a time when it was truly a novelty. One of the first – if not the very first – entertainers to use music to highlight that change was Kay Adams, with “Little Pink Mack.” Released in 1966, the song was written by Chris Roberts, Jim Thornton and Scott Turner. It wasn’t a strident feminist statement bucking the establishment in the way that, say, “Convoy” traded in themes of rebellion. But it did blend, in a light-hearted way, the singer’s femininity with her absolute confidence in handling a truck as well as any man could, said Todd Uhlman, a specialist in American socio-cultural history at the University of Dayton in Ohio and our guest for this "Songs of the Highway" edition of Overdrive Radio. “It was the first song that really talked about women truckers. It really framed them as both feminine and also very tough, very capable,” he said. Uhlman pointed to the song’s opening lines: "Everybody calls me the girl in the little pink Mack / The bumpers are chrome and so are the wheels and the stacks / It's got polka dot curtains hanging in a sleeper of pink / Ah, this Mack's a dandy, some kind of truck, they think.” Hear more in the "Songs of the Highway" series, part of Overdrive's 2021 60th-anniversary commemoration, via this link: http://overdriveonline.com/trucking-history

Aug 9

4 min 17 sec

For longtime Overdrive Radio listeners he will need no introduction whatsoever, but for the rest of you, the artist you'll hear straight away in this edition of the podcast is none other than Tony Justice. The Everhart Transportation driver, singer, songwriter and performer's recent history reaches back more than a decade now to the date of his first solo trucking-themed record, called "On the Road." This year, he’s out with his fifth, "18 Gears to Life." While Justice was in Nashville recently for a video shoot for the "War Paint" single from the record, he sat down Overdrive for a freewheeling talk through a variety of tracks on the record, his first in four years. The studio work on it was interrupted by the COVID pandemic last year. The year before that, as you’ll hear, Justice’s wife, Misty, waged a war against breast cancer that has likewise taken a toll on the music efforts. At once, the emotion of the experience has inspired the pair forward in several ways. The new record is a great listen, it’s no doubt. Production values were boosted by the ability to afford more studio than usual, Justice told us, with help from trucking sponsors like TBS Factoring Service, DPF Regeneration, Bull Snot products, and another that’s perhaps the most important of all -- the real support of professional truckers all around the country who are Justice's biggest fans. Read more about the album and Justice's "War Paint" single, written for Misty: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio/article/15065019/overdrives-music-to-truck-by-back-with-tony-justice Hear more from Justice in our past podcasts featuring his music and more via our "Music to Truck By" collection here: https://soundcloud.com/overdriveradio/sets/music-to-truck-by-no-1

Aug 6

29 min 45 sec

Just more than a decade ago, owner-operator Don Wood was prepping a recently purchased 2003 Peterbilt 379 former fleet sleeper truck as a custom daycab. He was about to go hauling local hoping to meet his then-young children's home needs after years over the road. That wouldn't last more than a couple years itself before, though, Wood was back out on his own and, as customers leaned on him for their transport needs and drivers he knew needed work, he began to buy other trucks. He knew he had the customers to keep them going, that's sure. Over the next decade or so, DSD would grow to more than 30 trucks, some owned and some leased and owner-operated. How has he kept up with the demands of growth? Part of it has to do with the nature of the freight -- including a lot of direct customers and particular jobsite contract work that doesn't require constant negotiating with brokers. Another part: Wood recognizes the true value of what little support staff he and DSD drivers and leased owner-ops have. Also in the podcast: Overdrive News Editor Matt Cole live from SuperRigs. Cole's on the ground in Hampshire, Illinois, at the Love's there covering the annual Shell Rotella event -- in the podcast we talk through some of the highlights from his first day there, including the cabover of J.R. Schleuger and a rare heavy-haul extendable and steerable trailer from Belgian manufacturer Faymonville. Rare in the U.S., in any case. Find pictures of both via Cole's Thursday, July 30, report from the show here: https://www.overdriveonline.com/custom-rigs/article/15066767/scenes-from-superrigs-day-1-on-the-lot Small fleet owner Wood's pristine recent build of a 2003 Peterbilt 379, that former daycab mentioned above, was featured in this video and report earlier in the week: https://www.overdriveonline.com/custom-rigs/video/15066740/don-woods-2003-peterbilt-379-dsd-transports-new-flagship

Jul 30

30 min 47 sec

The context for the conversation you'll hear in today's 60th-anniversary special edition of Overdrive Radio, conducted at the Great American Trucking Show in 2019, was twofold, centered around both driver training and history. Over the course of the 20th century, as you'll hear, the licensing required for a driver to operate interstate tightened. In the early days of motorized transport, an 18-year-old had no problem being licensed for interstate operation of what passed for the big trucks of the day. They weren't, of course, very big at all by today's standards. The picture here is one of of Walter Thompson of Shelburn, Indiana, grandfather of Jay Thompson, now an independent consultant to various trucking and natural gas interests through his Transportation Business Associates company. As I wrote at the time of this conversation's original airing two years ago, Thompson’s been quite a resource for me when it comes to owner-operator and trucking history in general. He grew up in rural Indiana and starting his working career driving big trucks, a route taken by the generations of men in his family as well, all the way back to his grandfather. Walter Thompson had a chauffer’s license enabling him to move freight as early as age 18, in 1917. And given debate continues around training and potentially opening up interstate operations, perhaps in a limited fashion, to some drivers younger than 21, Thompson's thoughts do more than just gives us a window on trucking's history through the lens of one family's experience. We were also talking at the time about the potential potential for a pilot program for under-21 CDL drivers, then under intense debate, as we sat down to ferret out a little bit of the history there. As Thompson says, history often repeats itself in various ways … Find more installments in Overdrive's 60th-anniversary series of lookbacks on history via http://overdriveonline.com/trucking-history

Jul 27

24 min 59 sec

Answers to that question in this edition of the Overdrive Radio podcast from the four owners pictured here. The lightning round comes by way of truckers showing their equipment in the Walcott Truckers Jamboree's Super Truck Beauty Contest two weeks ago: Owner-operator Christopher Young, a one-truck livestock hauler several years into trucking with his own authority out of Shellsburg, Iowa. The veteran, Ashville, Alabama-based team of Michael and Jackie Wallace, hauling van freight yet working through some of the same challenges as the much younger livestock hauler. We talk to Hallahan Transport small fleet owner Rob Hallahan, who's concerned about the prospects of regulatory change (the insurance hike being currently considered). He's also dealing with the difficulties that come with growth. Finally: Minnesota-based Aaron Walters, A heavy-hauling owner-op who is second-generation in the family business. For him, growth limitations are top of mind -- if the business could just find more independents to contract with to haul under contract with their wind-energy and other customers. What emerges are four distinct yet overlapping pictures of trucking at that Midwest mecca for the kind of camaraderie among owner-operators that's sometimes hard to come by out on the road. Yes, there was no shortage of that in Iowa, too. So hang on tight. Read more about Hallahan Transport via this link: https://www.overdriveonline.com/small-fleet-champ/article/14897911/small-fleet-champ-2020-semi-finalist-hallahan-transport Follow these links for more coverage from the Walcott Truckers Jamboree itself: https://www.overdriveonline.com/custom-rigs/article/15066507/the-big-winners-in-the-super-trucks-contest-in-iowa https://www.overdriveonline.com/custom-rigs/video/15066453/video-super-trucks-light-up-the-night-at-walcott https://www.overdriveonline.com/channel-19/article/15066428/sunup-on-the-super-trucks-of-the-walcott-jamboree

Jul 23

23 min 7 sec

The principal conundrum of advanced driver assist systems like collision mitigation, lane-keeping and more was summed up well by Nussbaum Transportation driver Clark Reed as part of the panel featured in this edition of Overdrive Radio: "The more we take the driver away from the driving experience ... [the greater the potential] they're going to become lackadaisical. ..." Put another way, we're talking about, in a word, "complacency" -– the strong temptation to let the equipment take the responsibility for the work of safe operation from the hands of those to whom it truly belongs. That’s the operator, of course, and Reed would go on to say much more than that in the talk with longtime independent owner-operator Henry Albert, a former Overdrive Trucker of the Year, in a panel moderated by TCA chairman and D.M. Bowman chief Jim Ward. In today’s podcast, that discussion is featured in more depth than we've covered at OverdriveOnline.com as yet: https://www.overdriveonline.com/business/article/15065920/how-to-think-about-advanced-assist-systems-as-an-owneroperator It's invaluable for real-world perspective on the space where increasingly sophisticated driver-assist technologies meet the realities of the road. We ran into both Reed and Albert last week at the Walcott Truckers Jamboree, as it just so happens, where both showed the next-generation Cascadias they pilot in efforts for the Freightliner Team Run Smart program. Both rigs are outfitted with every bell and whistle you can think of. Also at the Walcott show was the exact opposite, of course, one example being the 1982 Peterbilt 359 of an owner-operator who's a contemporary example of where the truck owner-operator comes from in American history. W. Tim Miller has been in the business of trucking and farming for 40 years, mostly these days hauling his own product more than anything else, just as owner-operators of old. Miller farms around 300 acres of corn and beans, hauling exclusively with an early 1980s classic rig he told me about in what follows in the podcast. Catch more views of Miller's rig via this link: https://www.overdriveonline.com/15066572

Jul 16

40 min 46 sec

Wisconsin-based owner-operator Jason Hurley, a former Schneider- leased owner-operator, made a move earlier this year to the young operation of CloudTrucks. The Texas-based company, with some operations in California, pitches to owner-operators as a "virtual carrier," operating less like a traditional asset-based carrier and more like a support company, basically. Cloud puts emphasis on its technology and systems in place to support otherwise independent businesses. Yet they're no broker or dispatch service -- it's CloudTrucks’ motor carrier authority under which an owner leased there runs. And though its model generally is tech-assisted self-dispatch for how owner-operators run there, it does field a functional support staff on the back end to smooth out the rough edges of any carrier-broker transaction. The brokered freight market comprises the large majority of its freight universe. Since founding within the last years, they’ve grown quickly. They were up to more than 70 owner-ops leased as of the company’s most-recent MCS-150 federal update earlier this year. Hurley was attracted initially for a percentage contract for compensation much lower than is traditional for asset-based companies taking care of leased owners' liability insurance. CloudTrucks allots 5 points of its 15%-per-load fee to the owner-operator's liability insurance, Hurley said, leaving a 10 percent fee otherwise for access to the company's freight platform and support networks. What he's found so far there? Find out in this podcast. Read about CloudTrucks' "Road to Independence" partnership with third-party leasing companies to offer a path to truck ownership for company drivers through fair lease-purchase programs: https://www.overdriveonline.com/business/article/15065768/alabama-truckers-fight-truckonly-toll-proposal-in-mobile More from Overdrive Radio: http://overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio

Jul 12

27 min 59 sec

Trucking’s music history has no shortage of light-hearted songs, such as Kay Adams’ “Little Pink Mack,” Charlie Walker’s “Truck Drivin’ Cat With Nine Wives” or The Legendary Shack Shakers’ “The CB Song.” One of the most humorous, thanks to its sharp barbs aimed at truckers, is Joe Cecil “Red” Simpson’s “Hello, I’m a truck.” It hit No. 4 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in January 1972, making it the biggest hit single in Simpson’s long music career. “This song takes a different angle on the trucking experience,” says Todd Uhlman in this specia Songs of the Highway edition of Overdrive Radio. Uhlman's a specialist in American culture at the University of Dayton in Ohio. “It’s not about the trucker. It’s about the truck.” At the same time, the truck isn’t shy about criticizing truckers. The truck-narrator notes how drivers love to share “tales of daring” and “the girls they've left behind.” The truck criticizes its own driver, too, and, as Simpson often does, references other trucking songs: “Look at him sipping coffee and flirtin' with that waitress. And where do you think he left me? That's right, next to a cattle truck. Why couldn't we have put me next to that little pink Mack sitting over there?” Hear more about the truck's place in trucking-music history in this edition, and find so much more in Overdrive's 2021 60th-anniversary series covering trucking history and more via http://overdriveonline.com/trucking-history

Jul 4

6 min 9 sec

"The freedom to eat what I want, when I want, and how I want to make it." --Decker Truck Line-leased owner-operator Thomas Remington, on outfitting his 2020 Volvo VNL740 (auto transmission, mid-roof, spec'd for Decker's flatbed operation) for versatility in cooking on the road. In this edition of the Overdrive Radio podcast, a window on Remington's leased business as well as tips on inverter power electric cooking appliances, propane-powered tools for cooking on the deck, and so much more. Also in this edition, on a bittersweet day for Overdrive staff as longtime editor Max Heine officially retires as of the first of July, a special message from host Todd Dills going out to Heine, fundamentally an editor with guts, with integrity, and a real sense of care when it comes to telling the story straight, whatever it is. We'll do our best, Max, to keep it pro out here. For the video with Remington mentioned in the podcast, follow this link: https://www.overdriveonline.com/channel-19/article/15066100/a-parkinglot-lunch-with-ownerop-and-incab-chef-thomas-remington Access Thomas Remington's original "Recipes for the Road" via https://www.overdriveonline.com/authors/contact/15064418/thomas-remington

Jun 30

18 min 59 sec

Go way back in Overdrive’s 60-year history and you’ll find more than a little dabbling in the bright lights of Hollywood and the country music scene of the ‘60s and ‘70s. It didn’t hurt that the Overdrive office was in the entertainment mecca of the Los Angeles area, but what really drove the connections was Overdrive’s founder and editor, former independent trucker Mike Parkhurst. Many of those associated with the magazine’s early years have passed on, including Parkhurst, who died in 2014. One of the key players during about half of Parkhurst’s 25-year ownership of Overdrive was Roger Galloway. Now 77, Galloway is communications director for Mohave County, Arizona. “My Overdrive days were from 1970-'86, with the exception of 1979-'81, when I produced national TV specials,” said Galloway. Some of them focused on country music stars, such as “Great Ladies of Country” and “Tribute to Kitty Wells.” They were not tied to Overdrive, though Galloway’s first TV special, “Truckin’ in Nashville,” was produced in 1979 outside a Nashville, Tennessee, truck stop. Galloway was also involved the in the late 1960s/early 1970s off-and-on-again filming of Parkhurst's own "Moonfire" feature-length film, which you can also read more about via this link: https://www.overdriveonline.com/15066080 Hear more in this Overdrive Radio special edition, part our 60th-anniversary series of lookbacks on trucking, and Overdrive's own, history: http://overdriveonline.com/trucking-history

Jun 21

9 min 42 sec

There's good likelihood you know how the story goes. Code says a sensor is malfunctioning? Replace the sensor. Two weeks or two days later, same code, same sensor. Previous shop must have passed a bad part or otherwise messed up the install. Replace again, and "hey why don't we try" X or Y until, some weeks later, as happened in the story of owner-operator John Osinga, visual inspection reveals a mechanical issue. Turns out what seemed like a sensor malfunction wasn't really that at all: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-extra/article/15064088/detecting-the-diesel-exhaust-aftertreatment-demons Hundreds or thousands of dollars later, eureka moments like these are cold comfort, and owner-operators who've experienced these problems always look back and wonder what they could have done differently to spur enterprising (or not so enterprising) mechanics toward an accurate diagnosis and repair, the first time around. There's a lot to be said for picking your maintenance partners wisely, but there's more to it, too. In this edition of Overdrive Radio, a wide-ranging discussion is intended in part to pick the brains of two diesel pros on these issues -- Bruce Mallinson of Pittsburgh Power and Gray's Garage owner Jeff Gray, both men with a wide breadth of experience that spans the evolution from purely mechanical diesel engines through electronic controls and, now, increasingly complicated emissions controls. Much of the discussion is a re-air for the podcast audience of our live online broadcast Q&A held May 20, hosted by Overdrive Senior Editor Todd Dills and contributor Gary Buchs. Subjects range from the basic importance of fuel-filter changes to Pittsburgh Power's Max Mileage Fuel Borne Catalyst fuel treatment to ways to mitigate condensation in the exhaust system, exhaust leaks, phantom codes and so much more. Fine the archived webcast of the original discussion via this link: https://www.overdriveonline.com/equipment/article/15065467/bring-your-emissions-systems-questions-to-this-live-qa-may-20 Subscribe to Overdrive's daily newsletter for owner-operator business news, views and more: https://randallreilly.dragonforms.com/loading.do?omedasite=ov_subscriptions

Jun 18

55 min 18 sec

Today, this special edition of the Overdrive Radio podcast, part of our 60th-anniversary series, in part transports you back to a moment in time in the late 1970s, when owner-operator Gordon Alkire found himself in an old Astro 95 cabover with no brakes heading Southeast down the backside of Monteagle Mountain in Tennessee. It’s a situation that’s no exactly universal among truckers through the years, but not as uncommon as you might think. The occasion in 2019 when this part of my talk with Alkire originally ran was the fiery Lakewood, Colorado, crash of Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, who lost control of his truck on a downhill grade and, ultimately, crashed, killing multiple people and sending multiple others to the hospital. In the wake of the tragedy for all involved, including the driver, charged with vehicular homicide among other counts, the recriminations were quick in coming for him from fellow truckers, with no small amount of finger-pointing to this or that cause. Alkire, retired owner-operator of Riley, Kansas, at the time reached out with a considered piece about such finger-pointing that you can read in full via this link: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio/podcast/14896300/in-wake-of-colo-crash-reserve-judgment-says-gordon-alkire-recounting-a-70s-monteagle-brake-failure He ultimately asked his fellow drivers to check their condemnation and take a close look at themselves. “Ask yourself if that could have been you,” he wrote. “A downgrade, a loaded trailer, no brakes. Confusion, fear, and panic.” He's been there, and he tells that story here. Also: Shortly after airing Alkire’s tale in the Spring of 2019, we heard from South Carolina-based owner-operator Lee Epling about his own, more recent no-brakes run. You'll hear that one here, too, and find the original editions of Overdrive Radio featuring these stories in the post that houses this podcast at OverdriveOnline.com: http://overdriveonline.com/14896300

Jun 14

18 min 9 sec

In this edition of the Overdrive Radio podcast, track through Truckload Carriers Association Government Affairs Vice President David Heller’s viewpoints on a variety of aspects of just what’s happening on Capitol Hill around funding infrastructure, including several of those trucking-business-specific initiatives tucked into the House highway bill Overdrive has reported on recently: https://www.overdriveonline.com/business/article/15065998/house-highway-funding-bill-keeps-2-million-insurance-hike Heller spoke at the TCA Safety & Security Division annual meeting earlier in the week in a talk hosted by trucking broadcasting great Dave Nemo and fellow host Jimmy Mac. Along the way, Heller dove into the subject of driver training and the notion of allowing under-21 interstate drivers with extra training, one he and much of Overdrive's audience are well at odds on. The Drive Safe Act, introduced earlier this year, would establish an apprenticeship-type training program that, with assistive technology, might allow 18-20-year-old CDL holders to haul interstate, within some other program limits. Heller and TCA broadly speaking are in favor. When we surveyed Overdrive’s audience in March on allowing an interstate option for under-21 drivers. A majority of readers showed no favor for it, with 63% saying it shouldn’t be allowed, full stop; 15% had unqualified support; and about 18 percent supported the idea with either a robust apprenticeship program in place or a mileage-range limitation. You’ll hear a contrasting view in this episode from Heller and TCA, yet know that Heller has a refined sense for the political process. His thoughts are invaluable on where Congress could head on potential highway reauthorization, or not if Democrats decide to go it alone on Biden’s American Jobs Plan, pitched as infrastructure investment.

Jun 11

24 min 53 sec

Trucking’s rise in pop culture was well underway when “Convoy” was released in late 1975, capturing the hearts of not just truckers but many Americans. The song, heavily laden with CB slang and conversation, tells the story of a spontaneous truck convoy that clashes with authorities. It was by C.W. McCall, who was actually a character co-created and voiced by advertising executive Bill Fries. “It hit at a conjuncture of a lot of different things,” said Todd Uhlman, assistant professor of U.S. socio-cultural history of the University of Dayton. “First of all, the trucker movie had really begun to take off.” “Duel” had come out in 1971 and “White Line Fever” debuted in 1975. “Simultaneously, the CB had really begun to expand outside of the trucker circle and become a kind of pop culture phenomenon.” The song led to the movie “Convoy,” released in June 1978. Directed by Sam Peckinpah, it starred Kris Kristofferson, Ali MacGraw and Ernest Borgnine. That movie and perhaps the most famous of movies involving trucking, “Smokey & the Bandit,” also released in 1978, solidified the image of trucker as not just a highway cowboy but an iconic American rebel, bucking political and regulatory authorities, Uhlman said. Catch more installments in Overdrive's 60th-anniversary series involving lookbacks on trucking history via this link: http://overdriveonline.com/trucking-history

Jun 7

8 min 52 sec

Also in this edition of the Overdrive Radio podcast: Intro'ing a new dispatch provider in S2 Logistics, with hotshot hauler S2 Transport co-owner Scott Sabatini at its helm and stressing integrity in operations, a response to his own early difficulties. When the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Medical Review Board met May 20 in part to take up a revised sleep-apnea-related section of the FMCSA’s official handbook for the fine folks that perform DOT physicals all around the country, doctors on the board discovered that handbook drafters had made pains in that section to remove a detailed set of screening, testing and treatment recommendations. The Medical Review Board had originally come up with those in 2016, when FMCSA was considering pursuing rulemaking around the condition. Those recommendations were then in a draft update to the official medical examiners’ handbook that came to light about a year ago but had yet to be officially published as the agency worked on finalizing an update with the board in an advisory capacity. Handbook drafters as of the May 20 meeting had cut that and added language making it abundantly clear that there was no regulation that required sleep apnea driver screening, referrals for testing or treatment. Board member Michael Kelly worried over that addition in particular, and was joined by the entire board in protest over the lack of specifics. As Truckers for a Cause sleep apnea support group cofounder, and longtime driver Bob Stanton put it recently, commenting in the Overdrive's Trucking Pro group at Linkedin, though, “the Medical Review Board seems to have forgotten what Congress mandated through Public Law 113-45.” Namely, that FMCSA must go through public notice and comment rulemaking in order to issue any further guidance on the condition when it comes to required or recommended screening, testing and treatment guidelines for CDL holders. Dr. Kelley went further, too, expressing disappointment over what he predicted would be the reality if this handbook draft was made final. As was quoted in my report from that day, Kelley beleved "it will be very rare for drivers here on out to be tested and treated for sleep apnea unless they truly want to be." His statement of that disappointment sounded to some truckers in the audience quite differently than how he intended it. Read more background on the MRB meeting and the sleep apnea issue via https://www.overdriveonline.com/regulations/article/15065662/strict-sleep-apnea-screening-criteria-not-in-latest-draft-handbook Find links to S2 Logistics' business pages via the post that houses this podcast at https://www.overdriveonline.com/15065897

Jun 4

26 min 17 sec

... and plenty more. At the East Coast Truckers Jamboree truck show early this month, Overdrive news editor Matt Cole spoke with these six owner-operators about a lot more than just the custom rigs they were showing (speaking of which, keep tuned to http://overdriveonline.com/custom-rigs for views on/videos of all mentioned here through the next weeks). A year following the depths of the early-pandemic downturn, it felt like a fine time to reflect on the experience of the past year. Here find perspectives on the trials, and some joys, of trucking through the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as thoughts on where truckers go from here in terms of addressing the biggest issues of the present well into the future, chief among them the parking situation all around the country. Featured owner-operators here are: **Robert Davis, out of Vermont, hauling Cabot Cheese in a 2012 Great Dane 53-foot slide and spread reefer, with a 1988 Freight FLC120. **Austin Kiser drives for his dad’s operation, Greg Kiser Trucking, based in Rosedale, Virginia. They pull mostly pneumatic tanks and some dump trailers: https://www.overdriveonline.com/custom-rigs/article/15065658/austin-kisers-2018-peterbilt-389-at-kenly-95-east-coast-jamboree **Greg Eudy, owner of Greg Eudy Trucking, out of Monroe, North Carolina. Eudy hauls sand and rock to concrete plants for Reynolds Trucking out of Indian Trail, North Carolina, in a 2000 Pete 379 that he converted from a day cab to a sleeper: https://www.overdriveonline.com/custom-rigs/article/15065773/blank-canvas-daycab-to-stretched-flattop-2000-peterbilt-379 **Jeff Walters, owner of J&N Trucking out of Bath, New York. Walters hauls dry freight as an independent with his 2006 Pete 379 and 2019 Great Dane van. **Steve Johnson, based in Apple Valley, California. He’s currently leased on with Landstar and hauls pretty much anything that will fit on a flatbed in a flattop 2019 Pete 389. **Daniel and Phyllis Snow, whom regular listeners will recall as owners of "Goose" custom Freightliner. Hear their contemporaneous pandemic-trucking experience tale from this time in 2020 via this link: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio/podcast/14897705/refusing-to-run-at-a-loss-a-solution-for-low-freight-rates

May 28

27 min 39 sec

This week's special edition of Overdrive Radio features the words and music of singer-songwriter Stephen Flatt, native of White County, Tennessee, and current Nashville resident. Flatt's first record as a solo artist, "Cumberland Bones," came out last month and features the "Hold You Tonight" single that in part takes the point of view of a long-distance hauler on his way home to the family. As you might well have guessed, Flatt’s no stranger to trucking, having worked for years in shipping and receiving and thus with plenty trucking companies, owner-ops and drivers, for a few different outfits. Today he’s doing logistics work in the health-care space, dealing with smaller packages but with similar concerns. If Stephen Flatt’s name sounds familiar, that’s because he’s got bluegrass royalty a few generations behind him – one Lester Flatt, in fact, was his Great Uncle. I had the chance earlier this week to sit down with him for a half-hour to run through some of the tracks on the record, including the new single and so much more -- it's traditional country, a couple tracks with a little bit of that bluegrass influence, though as Flatt notes some might call it "alt country" today. It's a record full of narratives about characters, "whether your in-laws or outlaws, people you've worked with and been friends with." There's a lot about it to like. Listen to hear how you can get a copy of the CD mailed to your doorstep. Find a video for the new single via the post at Overdrive that houses this podcast: http://overdriveonline.com/15065688

May 21

32 min

Where does the loveable-outlaw image of the professional trucker first come into play in a big way in American culture? Perhaps the earliest notable instance came with Dave Dudley’s hit, “Six Days on the Road.” American culture expert Todd Uhlman makes that association in this ongoing "Overdrive’s Songs of the Highway" series, part of Overdrive's ongoing 60th anniversary celebration with coverage of trucking history: http://overdriveonline.com/trucking-history “Six Days” remains in contemporary times one of trucking’s most popular songs -- a decade ago around Overdrive's 50th anniversary, readers voted the track as the No. 1 trucking song of all time: https://www.overdriveonline.com/channel-19/article/14875984/results-the-top-10-trucking-songs-of-all-time It was initially record by Paul Davis and released in 1961, but it was Dudley who put it on the map with his version in 1963. It reached number two on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and crossed over at No. 32 on its broader Hot 100 chart. A former trucker, Dudley packed the lyrics with details from the road. The song included references to speeding, popping pills, a “Georgia overdrive,” emitting black exhaust, dodging scales and being behind on his logs. ...

May 17

6 min 53 sec

In late 2019 going into 2020 the state of Colorado became what's believed to be the first to ban statewide the practice of booting an occupied vehicle, just what you’re about to hear in this edition of the Overdrive Radio podcast, with audio courtesy of the 911 call April 21 from Louisiana-based owner-operator Glenn Keller to dispatch in Gaston County, North Carolina, due west of Charlotte. Regular Overdrive readers may well be familiar with Keller from past coverage of his leased operation, some of it towing- and Gastonia-related, interestingly enough. That's where Keller was when this happened, idling while sitting in the driver's seat in a place where there is no express prohibition on the onerous occupied-vehicle-booting practice. Keller was surrounded by three tow trucks, whose operators who demanded money, and Keller promptly involved the police when he realized there was no escape. In this edition of Overdrive Radio, we talk further with Keller about just what happened here, as it’s yet another example of tow and boot operators in some locales all around the country whose plenty aggressive tactics are inspiring angst among folks like him -- and not just angst, not just anger –- nay, rage might be a better word there. And there’s fear, for sure. Were it not for the police showing up when they did, well, things could have gone all sorts of sideways. Keller remains hopeful his post-incident efforts might have a lasting effect where this incident occurred –- in Gastonia, North Carolina. See the following Charlotte Fox affiliate news report on the location where Keller was booted via: http://overdriveonline.com/15065549 Read more about the issue nationwide: https://www.overdriveonline.com/channel-19/article/14894396/truck-booting-and-towing-traps-in-light-of-eld-mandate Could Colorado's ban on booting occupied vehicles be a model for the nation?: https://www.overdriveonline.com/business/article/14897201/could-colorados-pending-vehicle-booting-regulation-be-a-model-for-the-nation

May 14

30 min 3 sec

The fears among many in the diesel-powered owner-operator community of late are real when it comes to rising oil prices with constraints on production and promotion of alternative sources of energy, as we've reported. All of it seems to mean little more than added costs for those fearful, but for the man whose voice is featured in this edition of Overdrive Radio, it all feels less like a problem than an opportunity. That’s Jim Grundy, headquartered in Texas and owner of Sisu Energy LLC, an all-owner-operator/leased-small-fleet carrier hauling mostly dry bulk in the oil and gas business. Grundy's got a multifaceted trucking background, which includes past work with the 1845 company, likewise heavy in oil and gas-related hauling. Farther back, as you’ll hear, he came up in the trucking world in more over the road operations, and when COVID hit last year he put that experience to work to take advantage of OTR opportunities in a new division of the company that’s power-only for owner-ops coming in. Otherwise, Sisu Energy owns no trucks or trailers itself, nor do dispatch personnel at the company. That’s a feature owner-operators there take to heart as evidence the company’s sticking to its mission to be a platform where owner-operators can thrive, with support people invested in their success. And thrive they have been. Over just two years since Sisu Energy’s founding the company's managed to attract in the neighborhood of 150 owner-operators/small fleets, most running in and around Texas oil fields and some to points farther afield. Read more about the dry bulk niche more broadly via this recent-past feature report: https://www.overdriveonline.com/business/article/14897244/dry-bulk-hauling-offers-easy-freight-handling-steady-work Our recent coverage of fuel-price worries among owner-operators: https://www.overdriveonline.com/business/article/15064976/independents-worry-fuel-prices-will-keep-rising

May 5

24 min 27 sec

This special edition of Overdrive Radio is part of our weekly 60th-anniversary series of stories with a significant historical aspect, as it's got no doubt in spades. It features the voice of former trucker George Ruelens, telling his tale in a 2019 interview about what’s become a veritable institution out of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania -- the annual Mother’s Day truck convoy benefiting the Make-a-Wish foundation. In 2019, the convoy featured 650 trucks in its 30th year, a huge amount of growth over the course of three decades from the first one, which Ruelens well-remembers. With last year’s event sidelined amid the initial COVID outbreak, the 2021 event on May 9 upcoming should be every bit as impressive: https://secure2.wish.org/site/TR;jsessionid=00000000.app208a?fr_id=3758&pg=entry Find more pictures from Ruelens' archive from the first even in the late 1980s via http://overdriveonline.com/14896399 Read more of our weekly 60th-anniversary series of dispatches from trucking history in Overdrive: http://overdriveonline.com/trucking-history

Apr 26

19 min 19 sec

From the advent of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s CSA Safety Measurement System in 2010, its shortcomings were well-evident to carriers and baked into its structure. At that time, carriers were laser-focused on equities in scoring, particularly when comparing the way a small carrier's scores moved wildly with very little data input versus the slow climbs and falls with more data on the large-carrier side. As the years have gone by there's been refinement of a sense among critics of the program that the very public nature of the data underpinning what passes for CSA today is its fatal design flaw, with far too many "unintended consequences," in the words of Payne Trucking Safety Director Chris Haney, that have been at best unfair to carriers forced to contend with them on a daily basis. That’s inclusive of small fleets and owner-operators, and company drivers to an extent, too, given the increased importance of every violation you could possibly think of, large and small. For today's edition of Overdrive Radio, we're turning back to my February discussion with Haney and CVSA data director Chris Turner, formerly of the Kansas Highway Patrol, to highlight various aspects of the discussion, including Haney's view that, despite efforts to better contextualize publicly available data, too many of those unintended consequences continue to be big problems for carriers. The entire trucking, enforcement and regulator community should do a lot better, both he and Turner contend. The February discussion centered around Overdrive's Setting the Record Straight package of investigative features looking closely at FMCSA's DataQs system for correcting data collected about carriers and drivers. Access all the pieces of that package via this link: https://www.overdriveonline.com/regulations/article/15063803/criticism-of-dataqs-review-system-continues-to-rise

Apr 23

1 hr 3 min

He’s best-known for his trucking hits “Giddyup Go,” “Teddy Bear” and “Phantom 309.” But another single by Red Sovine, a master of the sentimental trucker song, spoke poignantly to the difficult family dynamic of over-the-road haulers and their kin back home. That’s “Woman Behind the Man Behind the Wheel.” It’s a tribute to truckers’ wives, as the lyrics say, a "special breed of woman" that has to "share a love affair with that long stretch of highway on his mind." The theme, however, is more complex, considering the realities of over-the-road drivers being separated from their wives so much, said Todd Uhlman, a professor at the University of Dayton, in Ohio, who specializes in America’s socio-cultural history. In this episode of the "Songs of the Highway" special feature to Overdrive Radio as Overdrive celebrates 60 years as the Voice of the American Trucker, hear how the lyrics perpetuate the romantic notion of a long-suffering wife waiting for the return of her faithful husband, yet Uhlman notes certain trucker songs play up “the flip side.” That’s the trucker being “on the road and free from his wife and being able to do whatever he wants to do.” Hear more "Songs of the Highway" installments via Overdrive's "Music to Truck By" playlist on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/overdriveradio/sets/music-to-truck-by-no-1 Access all of Overdrive's weekly 60th-anniversary special coverage via http://overdriveonline.com/trucking-history

Apr 19

7 min 24 sec

You probably think you know Wedowee, Alabama-based Brian Lindley. Not afraid to work, grew up on a farm, grew up 'round trucks – all are familiar aspects of many a story in the trucking business. But as with so many of the millions of stories out there, there’s plenty of twists and turns in the details when it comes to the tale Lindley has for you in today's edition of Overdrive Radio. Having started out hauling chicken litter from poultry operations with this Mack daycab -- which had a trash body to begin with as part of one of Lindley's early-career efforts doing storm recovery and tree work -- Lindley is the owner of the now-20-truck LB3. He's got three owner-operators leased on, and the balance of the power units are operated in full-service lease arrangements with Penske. He's hauling mostly for direct customers. In just under a decade, he's turned what was a very small operation into what he hopes is a "destination company," of a fashion, for the best in the business. He's doing dandy in that regard so far. During the March event of the Alabama Trucking Association, Lindley operators scored both number 1 and 2 spots in the association's driver of the year awards program. Nathan Heflin of Lineville took home the top spot, and LB3-leased owner-operator Jason Webber the second. Brian Lindley’s wife, Valerie, was named Safety Professional of the Year for her work as safety director, and Maintenance Director Todd Martin was honored as Maintenance Professional of the Year. It all comes on the heels of near-disaster in early 2020, when the operation had part of its principal reefer contract undercut by a larger carrier just a month ahead of the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. In today's podcast, hear how Lindley and company steered through it all, and much more. Also in the podcast: Following up with ATBS President Todd Amen's Q&A portion from the owner-operator performance benchmarking session we re-aired last week on the podcast. Amen address his thoughts on where fuel prices are likely to go the rest of the year, the outlook for owner-operator business viability long-term, several tax matters from per diem calculation to dealing with quarterlies and back taxes, and more.

Apr 16

41 min 46 sec

Today’s special edition of the podcast is a re-air of ATBS President Todd Amen’s semi-annual conference call with clients of the business services firm and other owner-operators that offers the opportunity for listeners to benchmark their own income performance against the averages of their peers that ATBS computes. Near the call’s beginning, though, Amen detailed the pressures that the Biden administration and Congress have renewed against the independent contractor model writ large. Fleets of all sizes are worrying more about it, as he shows, and some owner-operators are, too. At once, the majority of ATBS’ owner-op clientele aren’t aware even of California’s A.B. 5 law, for instance, in place now for a year and a half and currently not applying to trucking, though that could change depending on pending court cases. The so-called ‘ABC test’ in that law in essence prevents an independent contractor relationship between a worker and a business if both parties are essentially in the same line of work, making current and traditional owner-operator lease arrangements with other motor carriers problematic in various ways. What’s abundantly clear from other surveys ATBS has conducted, though? When asked if leasing suddenly were not an option any longer, just what would ATBS client leased owner-ops do? Not even two in 10 would become company drivers, Amen noted results of his company's surveying. There’s a lot more where that came from in this episode, and a wealth of data on the topsy-turvy 2020 year’s income performance for average owner-operators among dry, reefer, flatbed and independent segments ATBS tracks. Read more about Amen's presentation: http://overdriveonline.com/15064950 Subscribe to Overdrive's daily newsletter for updates, news, views and analysis via http://overdriveonline.com

Apr 9

55 min 12 sec

The Over the Road podcast, a co-production of Overdrive and PRX’s Radiotopia podcast network, finished its run of eight main episodes last year with this final episode, titled “The Road Ahead,” in which Overdrive contributing writer and Moeller Trucking driver Paul Marhoefer documented a yogurt haul outbound from the Midwest to Texas and then to the 2019 Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, Texas. There, the OTR crew explored the implications for drivers of new technology in trucking — specifically, the march toward vehicles capable of more autonomous operation. Automation has become a fundamental piece of the way so many think about the future of trucks and trucking, including regulators who seem bent on preparing the way in the name of safety. regular listeners may recall news that aired just a couple weeks ago here in which the new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator expressed her view that, though the timeline is ultimately unknown, that “automated future,” as some say, is coming. It's unclear, though, given the structure of our highway system, that the American public will ever feel fully comfortable with the notion of sharing the road with 80,000-lb. robots, without an operator therein as capable "overseer," one might say, of the machine. But as more folks are eventually ferried around by wheeled robots themselves, that could be a likely prospect, not to mention the impulses the old dollar-signs-in-the-eye can infect even the most staid among us with. The future looks pretty fuzzy, as it were. Don’t forget to pack your reading glasses. Find all eight of Overdrive Radio's re-air of the Over the Road podcast via http://overdriveonline.com/tag/over-the-road-podcast Subscribe to Overdrive's daily for news updates, views and analysis via http://overdriveonline.com

Apr 2

52 min 1 sec

Johnny Cash isn’t the only singer who’s taken on the challenge of sprinting through the long, rhyming lists of cities in “I’ve Been Everywhere.” As some older readers might recall, the song was a big hit in 1962 for Hank Snow. Its success helped vault trucking songs further into the mainstream of an expanding country music radio scene, says Todd Uhlman, an assistant professor at the University of Dayton in Ohio who’s specialized in socio-cultural history, in this special edition of Overdrive Radio attendant to Overdrive's ongoing celebration of it's 60th anniversary year in 2021. Country music and trucking songs were firmly established by 1966, when Johnny Cash did a version that’s perhaps the best-known, at least in the U.S. There were other covers, too, including one by Lynn Anderson in 1970. Yet "I've Been Everywhere" has roots farther back, and way farther afield, that trace all the way to the Land Down Under. Hear its history here in this latest "Songs of the Highway" exploration of trucking music classics. Read more in Overdrive's weekly 60th-annversary series of lookbacks on trucking history, and that of the magazine itself, via this link: http://overdriveonline.com/trucking-history Find more editions of "Songs of the Highway" via http://overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio

Mar 29

7 min 17 sec

In the COVID-19 pandemic year of 2020, there were but two states in the entire nation where truck inspections numbers in the aggregate rose from 2019 levels. Every other state saw fall-offs ranging from just a few percentage points to more than a third in some places. Alabama's mostly mobile enforcement crew posted higher number, in part a result the state's investment in an expansion of the department. In this episode of Overdrive Radio, Captain Brent McElvaine of Alabama explains further reasons -- a continued emphasis on inspection screening via "virtual weigh stations" with weigh-in-motion or other technologies to better prioritize inspections of trucks and carriers troopers believe probably need it, for instance. There's more where that came from, however, in this episode, including a bevy of tips for owner-ops looking ahead to the May 4-6 Roadcheck event -- in one of Roadcheck's prinicipal areas of emphasis this year, lighting equipment, Alabama ranks very high. Nearly 1 in 4 of its violations written in recent years has been for a light out or other related infraction. Mentioned in the episode, Overdrive Radio's prior podcast with Minnesota State Patrol Captain Jon Olsen about the DataQs process: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio/podcast/15063931/dataqs-crash-and-violation-appeals-process-in-minnesota The live webcast of a panel discussion with CVSA and Payne Trucking about DataQs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHRlGZp-VFk Subscribe to Overdrive's daily newsletter for owner-operator and small fleet news, views and analysis: http://overdriveonline.com

Mar 26

27 min 46 sec

Another edition here drops in Overdrive Radio's re-air of the Over the Road podcast series, coproduced by Overdrive and PRX's Radiotopia podcast network and hosted by 'Long Haul Paul' Marhoefer. Here, the host's "Long Haul of Fame” tells the stories of five of Marhoefer’s personal heroes -- longtime professional driver Idella Marie Hansen; owner-operator Big Jim Selkirk; trucker Ken “Shoestring” Waugh; overnight radio D.J. Marcia Campbell; and, finally, a tribute to one of those heroes who’s passed on, New York-based Fast Freddie Lieb, the “Pope of Pompano” running out of the Florida Pompano Beach market and up and down the East Coast, where Marhoefer knew him best. What emerges over the course of the episode is an indelible take on recent trucking history through these individual stories, including that of Marhoefer himself. Also in the podcast: Highlights from the week's news, which you can keep tabs on daily via Overdrive's daily newsletter. Subscribe via http://overdriveonline.com Find all editions of Over the Road via this playlist collecting our re-airs: https://soundcloud.com/overdriveradio/sets/the-over-the-road-podcast-on Hear more from the Radiotopia network via http://radiotopia.fm

Mar 19

1 hr 2 min

In today's edition of Overdrive Radio, we hear selections from the new 'If Wishes Were Horses' long player out from Rylan Brooks, the songwriting duo of Chris Brooks (Philadelphia) and Nate Rylan (Nashville). Brooks is a former independent owner-operator trucking with authority and now one half of this songwriting duo truly doing great work here with their second record, a follow-up to 2018's 'Half Wild.' Rylan and Brooks’ history as a band -- with a particularly hard-driving brand of what you might call 'outlaw country' (or would in another time) ... the collaboration blossomed on the road when Rylan came aboard with Brooks’ business as a codriver on longer, time-sensitive runs. Here, along with updates for the week in the trucking news, follow along through the pair's narration of how the record came to be and the influence of the road in their writing through and through. Find more about the band at its website: https://rylanbrooks.com/ Subscribe to Overdrive's newsletter for daily updates five days a week: http://overdriveonline.com

Mar 12

27 min 26 sec

In this week's Overdrive Radio podcast episode, we drop into October of 2017, a key moment in trucking regulatory history over the last several years, given demonstrations on both coasts and some points in between against the electronic logging device mandate. Generally, out east, those demonstrations were comparatively small, but you can tie a direct line between them and the next year’s pursuit by FMCSA of hours of service changes designed to enhance drivers’ scheduling options around the clarion call for rest-period flexibility that emerged in the aftermath. Where those 2017 demonstrations were in fact not small, however, was out west, led by a coalition of Punjabi-American owner-operators, drivers and advocates. We told that story in brief in Overdrive at the time, and then again via the person of one Binda Atwal this past year in Episode 6 of the Over the Road podcast, produced in collaboration with PRX's Radiotopia. This edition of Overdrive Radio looks back at the tale, which ends up being a portrait not only of a demonstration, but of a close-knit community of U.S. truckers that, with visibility, changed more than a few minds and hearts around the industry. Read Overdrive's contemporaneous account of the demonstration via this portrait of the Punjabi community out West and elsewhere: https://www.overdriveonline.com/business/article/14893823/into-the-limelight-sikh-truckers-in-america Find more from PRX's Radiotopia network: http://radiotopia.fm Also in the podcast: An intro to host and longtime over the road operator "Big Al" Weekley and the new "Overdrive's Music to Truck By" music show streaming live every Friday and in the wee hours Wednesday mornings via http://thebluegrassjamboree.com -- read more about it via this link: https://www.overdriveonline.com/overdrive-radio/article/15063917/bluegrass-jamboree-streaming-overdrives-music-to-truck-by

Mar 5

38 min 28 sec

Chart-topping songs about trucking have been around for decades. But what was the first one to become a big hit? It was “Truck Driver’s Blues,” performed by the Texas Wanderers and sung by piano player Moon Mullican and at other times by Cliff Bruner, said Todd Uhlman. Uhlman's an assistant professor who’s specialized in U.S. socio-cultural history and has published a lengthy article about trucking music’s place in that history. The song was written by Louisianan Ted Daffan after he visited honky-tonks frequented by truckers. “Truck Driver’s Blues” was one of 1939’s biggest hits, Uhlman says in this special edition of Overdrive Radio attendant to Overdrive's coverage of trucking history in this its 60th-anniversary year. Find more history coverage, including part 1 in the "Songs of the Highway" special series, via http://overdriveonline.com/trucking-history Subscribe to Overdrive's newsletter for daily updates five days a week: http://overdriveonline.com

Mar 1

8 min 9 sec

Owner-operator Mike Crawford in this week's Overdrive Radio expands on some of the themes showcased earlier this week in our special-edition podcast in part about the ongoing safety utility, and the decreased cultural importance, of the CB in trucking. If you missed that 60th-anniversary podcast earlier this week and attendant coverage, visit http://OverdriveOnline.com/trucking-history access it. We wanted to bring Crawford back in here because what you heard for him via that special edition was just a very sliver of our longer conversation – the talk was centered on the CB and his history, how he went from being the Lucky Turkey to the Maverick for a time to what he's known pretty much universally as today. Listen on ... Crawford's an independent with his authority now for many years but running mostly with a single broker – Prime’s logistics group, after having leased there for many years. He was Trucker of the Year back in 2010 in the Overdrive program of that time. Read more about Crawford via this link to past coverage: https://www.overdriveonline.com/t/4381542 Subscribe to Overdrive's newsletter for daily updates five days a week: http://overdriveonline.com

Feb 26

32 min 50 sec

This special edition Overdrive Radio is part of our celebration 60 years since the magazine's founding in 1961 -- as such, every Monday we’re looking back on various elements of the trucking business and culture as they’ve existed in the past and evolved on up through today via http://overdriveonline.com/trucking-history For this episode, we’re looking at the CB radio, both in the context of safety and trucking culture. First, we run back through the first in my Channel One Nine series of mini-episodes produced in collaboration with PRX’s Radiotopia last year – that episode was devoted to CB handles and the history of the CB in trucking in brief. Following that is a variety of reader views from 2017, after a disastrous late-night winter pileup on I-80 in Pennsylvania, around the importance of using the CB in dangerous conditions to avoid such events -– this time of year, as is particularly in evidence this year, such sentiment is, as they say, timeless. Hear more from the Radiotopia podcast network, including Over the Road, via http://radiotopia.fm Subscribe to Overdrive's newsletter for daily updates five days a week: http://overdriveonline.com

Feb 22

14 min 7 sec