615 xpress winner.doc
CASEY, Ill. — When Scot Hays heard that U.S. Xpress would be giving away a tractor to the winner of its Idle Reduction Sweepstakes, he thought it was too good to be true.
But the more he thought about it, he decided he had as good a chance to win as anybody else.
The carrier is conducting the sweepstakes on a quarterly basis as a means of encouraging its drivers to reduce idle time.
For the grand prize winners, the company will make the truck payments for two years, and the winner must agree to remain an independent contractor leased to U.S. Xpress for those two years.
“I’ve never won a contest before, but I decided to give it my all and see what happened,” Hays said from this eastern Illinois town where he’d pulled off Interstate 70 to talk with The Trucker about his win. “I had to sacrifice a few times down in Laredo, Texas, and in other places where it got hot early. When I had to roll down the windows; it got a little frustrating, but I just kept on telling myself, ‘I’m going to win this truck.’”
For Hays, winning the truck became a game of remembrance.
I really didn’t think I was doing that good because there were a few times when I’d walk away and ‘oh I forgot to turn the truck off,’” he said. “Then one night in Laredo, it was hot and I was not feeling well, so I had to idle it one night and I thought this will set me back.”
It didn’t, and in fact, Hays idled his truck only 5 percent of the time it was parked.
“Every time I’d stop, even to put a seal on the back of the trailer, move the tandems or close the doors, I’d turn off the truck,” Hays said. “I thought it would be better to wear the starter out than use fuel.”
Cold nights were made comfortable by the fact that U.S. Xpress has been installing bunk heaters that run directly off the diesel and use about one-tenth of a gallon per hour.
Hays is in his second tenure with U.S. Xpress.
“The first time I hired on with them was Dec. 8, 1989,” he recalled. “They were a smaller company then with 500 trucks.”
After a couple of years, Hays decided he’d rather run a local route at Knoxville, Tenn., his home.
But after a while, he wanted to get back on the highway.
“I got to missing being on the road,” he said. “In 1992, I asked them if I could come back. I’ve done real well with U.S. Xpress. Next December it will be 18 years with them. I’ll be getting my 18th year accident-free safety award with them. I’ve been very fortunate as far as that goes.”
Lyndon Finney of The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find more news and analysis from The Trucker, and share your thoughts, on Facebook.