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Kris Rutherford

Kris Rutherford
Since retiring from a career as an outdoor recreation professional from the State of Arkansas, Kris Rutherford has worked as a freelance writer and, with his wife, owns and publishes a small Northeast Texas newspaper, The Roxton Progress. Kris has worked as a ghostwriter and editor and has authored seven books of his own. He became interested in the trucking industry as a child in the 1970s when his family traveled the interstates twice a year between their home in Maine and their native Texas. He has been a classic country music enthusiast since the age of nine when he developed a special interest in trucking songs.
Bill Mack

Remembering Bill Mack: Riding shotgun with truckers for six decades

Bill Mack’s connection with truck drivers came naturally. Not only was Mack’s father a truck driver, but Mack was born in Shamrock, Texas, in 1932, during the depths of the Great Depression. Shamrock was one of many towns that flourished during the heyday of Route 66. Thousands of “Arkies,” “Okies” and other Americans flocked to California via the famed highway during the Depression, and early versions of semitrucks traveled westward through downtown Shamrock. Mack made a 60-year career of his relationship with truck drivers who listened to the radio during the overnight hours that coincided with Mack’s preferred time...

$64,000 question: Can the trucking industry emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic stronger than before?

The COVID-19 crisis isn’t the type of tunnel one enters with an optimistic eye. After all, a global enemy infecting more than seven million people to date and killing hundreds of thousands is difficult to look beyond. Likewise, as proven in the U.S. economy, a crisis of COVID-19’s magnitude can destroy businesses that have taken decades to build. The adage “every cloud has a silver lining” is not on many people’s minds amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But if it does hold true, which industries could emerge stronger than before 2020 began? Anecdotal evidence suggests the silver lining is actually chrome...
Robert Morris and his autism truck, Fiona

One puzzle piece at a time: Robert Morris and ‘Fiona’ increase autism awareness with...

VILLA RICA, Ga. — Robert Morris has a lot of women in his life. “I live with seven females,” he said. “There’s my wife, twin daughters Amber and Summer (19), and three other daughters, Hayley (15), Emily (13), Caydence (7) — plus the dog.” Then there’s “Fiona,” the 2018 Peterbilt Morris drives for CDJ Bulk Express, based in West Columbia, South Carolina. As for Morris, a lot of years passed between the first time he took the wheel of a tractor-trailer and Fiona’s arrival. Growing up below the wheel “I’m a 16-year driver with 38 years of experience,” Morris said with a laugh. Like several...
sleep apnea mask

Asleep at the wheel: FMCSA can lead truck drivers to CPAP therapy, but it...

Rusty Traxler insisted he never felt sleepy when operating a vehicle. “I never knew I had a big problem other than I’d stop for slight moments, and I snore — at least according to my wife,” said Pennsylvania-based truck driver Traxler. After a sleep study confirmed he had obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), Traxler became a statistic. He was one of the 28% of truck drivers diagnosed with OSA. His career soon became complicated. “The issue has had me angry since they hit me with it,” said Traxler of his experience with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s sleep apnea guidelines. “I’ve been...
Volvo faceshields

Truck OEMs retool to keep employees on the job, fight COVID-19 pandemic

When COVID-19 rose to the forefront of the nation’s news early this year, the trucking industry found itself in high demand. Carriers, company drivers and owner-operators alike worked around the clock to deliver essential goods to all corners of the country. Consumers grabbed most of those goods before another delivery arrived. While the COVID-19 crisis put most available drivers and trucks on the road, at least for a while, the same didn’t hold true for operations at America’s largest truck-manufacturing plants. Demand for new Class 8 equipment had been trending downward since late 2018, and the pandemic erased industry executives’...
NN Joe portrait

The Oak Ridge Boys’ Joe Bonsall: Following his parents’ road map to success

“One thing about truck drivers is that they never change.” Those are the words of Joe Bonsall, one of four members of The Oak Ridge Boys (ORB), a quartet approaching a half-century atop the country music world. Over the decades as they’ve toured America, the ORB have shared untold highway miles with professional truck drivers. “Truckers are the same people they’ve always been. They have the same values. And every one you run into is solid red, white, and blue.” Bonsall’s description of truck drivers could just as easily apply to his own life. The ORB are perhaps best known for their...
Bud Hunter with Charlie Daniels

Driving for the stars: Bud Hunter tells of 30 years hauling for entertainers

Bud Hunter can’t remember a time when trucking wasn’t part of his life. “Ever since I was born, I was always around trucks,” the Joplin, Missouri-based driver said. Hunter grew up around trucks for good reason: The occupation runs in the family. “My dad was a truck driver. I went with my dad every chance I got,” he said, adding that he wasn’t simply tagging along for the ride. “Little did I know, the whole time I rode, he was teaching me the business,” Hunter said. “He’d always tell me to pull out the road map and tell him how far it was...
Joe Kerola

Trucking through COVID-19: PI&I Motor Express protects employees in economic freefall because ‘it’s the...

“It’s a simple matter of corporate responsibility,” Joe Kerola said, referring to taking care of his employees during the current economic downturn. The president of Ohio-based carrier PI&I Motor Express said his company is a “family” that was 67 years in the making. And families stick together when times get tough. That’s why, during the midst of the worst national economy since the Great Depression, Kerola is seeing to it that no employee is let go because of the carrier’s financial performance. PI&I, flatbed hauler of steel, pipe, and industrial raw materials, has more than 400 employees working in all aspects...
Celadon trucks lined up for auction

As repercussions of Celadon bankruptcy case continue behind the scenes, asset acquisitions and auctions...

The aftermath of the closing and subsequent bankruptcy filing of Indianapolis-based carrier Celadon made for prominent headlines in trucking industry news from December 2019 until late February 2020. But that was before COVID-19 supplanted almost all news coverage ranging from major media outlets to industry-specific publications and digital media. The fallout from the Celadon bankruptcy continues, but those not following the story may have lost track of the complicated proceedings in a case involving multiple subsidiaries in numerous states and three countries. While proceedings may be moving a bit slower than usual during the global health crisis, plenty of action...
woman holding a sign thanking truck drivers

Can the COVID-19 crisis serve as a ‘vaccination’ against nuclear verdicts in trucking?

The COVID-19 crisis isn’t the type of tunnel a nation enters with expectations of an ever-brightening light ahead. After all, an enemy with the ability to kill millions and destroy the global economy isn’t something a nation can look beyond. But in terms of the trucking industry and its executives, drivers and support personnel, history may view the current crisis as a turning point. 2020 could go down as the year truck drivers attained a status similar to what first responders received after 9/11 — heroes, or at least doers of heroic deeds. The shift in public opinion has been...
RideofPride David Buck

At the Truck Stop: Retired U.S. Air Force firefighter serves multiple roles as a...

David Buck has spent a career pulling double duty, and it has served him well. In fact, when Schneider chose Buck from its pool of military veteran employees as a driver in its Ride of Pride program, his proven ability to handle multiple tasks likely made him an obvious selection. For a man who has served his country and its veterans in both military and civilian roles, driving the Ride of Pride truck, “The American,” is double duty Buck considers a privilege. Personal values and collective success Before entering high school in Springfield, Illinois, Buck’s parents placed him on the road...
Bob Allen holding brake releaser

Trucker’s invention could be answer to many icing situations leading to jackknifed rigs

CHICAGO — “Jackknifing” is a trucking-related term most nontruckers understand. Many have passed the scene of an accident involving a jackknifed trailer during their travels. Unfortunately, jackknifing is a relatively common cause of accidents involving tractor-trailers, and drivers must remain alert and at the ready to handle a potential jackknifing situation. Keeping their rigs upright and on the road, and avoiding collisions with other vehicles, is something drivers may be able to read about, but it takes experience at the wheel to truly understand. Today, thanks to a former OTR driver, a proactive method helping to prevent jackknifing situations...
US Mexico Flags

With U.S.-Canada borders closed to non-essential travel, attention turns to nation’s southern border

As of March 16, the U.S. had provided little information about restricting travel at its southern border with Mexico. Most discussions regarding the Mexico border related to illegal immigration and Border Patrol directives to agents that they should return any Mexican residents caught crossing the border to their country immediately rather than follow normal agency procedures. In fact, discussions of border restrictions were more active in Mexico than the U.S., as the Mexican government sought to protect its citizens from an expansive COVID-19 outbreak. This morning, March 18, the U.S. reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 had reached 7,678 nationwide, with...

Keep the U.S. out? Not yet, says Canada

UPDATED: March 18, 12:10 pm CT President Trump announced in a tweet this morning, "We will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic. Trade will not be affected. Details to follow!" Prime Minister Trudeau stated, "I just spoke to President Trump again this morning and we have agreed that both Canada and the United States will temporarily restrict all non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border. Our governments recognize that it is critical we preserve supply chains between both countries." Trucking will not be affected by this new development Last Friday, the Canadian parliament ratified the U.S.-Mexico-Canada...
Driver washing truck

The coronavirus: A trucker’s guide to germs and illness — Part 5

  DOWN AND DIRTY: KILLING THE CORONAVIRUS AND OTHER GERMS To date, scientists haven’t come up with a guaranteed method of killing the coronavirus. As mentioned in the previous articles of this series, the best available advice is hand-washing and using hand sanitizer. But how should you do all you can to sanitize your truck? The answer is multipronged, as you need to eliminate bacteria, viruses, mold and allergens, all of which infest your truck, inside and out. Mold and allergens are among the most common but difficult germs to eradicate. If you are allergic to something in your cab, chances are...
gas-pump handle

The coronavirus: A truck driver’s guide to germs and illness — Part 4

  HYGIENE: BEYOND HAND-WASHING As a truck driver, you may do everything within your ability to protect yourself from germs. Most likely you follow the time-proven recommendations to avoid illnesses of many types — hand-washing, using sanitizer, avoiding people showing symptoms of illness, and when possible, staying home from work are typical steps of your daily routine. But you need to protect more than your body from risks. Keeping your home and your workplace as germ-free as possible is just as important. When driving a truck, these two locations often overlap. For days, weeks or months at a time, your truck may...
Coronavirus on red background

The coronavirus: A truck driver’s guide to germs and illness — Part 3

  INFORMATION: AN OVERWEIGHT LOAD DESTINED FOR ANXIETY As alluded to in Part 1 of this series, when it comes to the coronavirus, truck drivers are probably suffering from information overload as much as — if not more than — any American. It’s the lead story of every newscast on television or radio. And you can’t be involved in social media without seeing hundreds of posts about the virus. News outlets seem to have accepted Walter Cronkite’s role during the Vietnam War: Each night Cronkite read the number of U.S. casualties the military reported on the CBS Evening News broadcast. In...
COVID-19 testing kit

The coronavirus: A trucker’s guide to germs and illness — Part 2

GERMS 101: AN INTRODUCTION FOR TRUCK DRIVERS Robert Dudley, M.D., a physician in New Britain, Connecticut, told The Trucker, “Protecting yourself and others from the coronavirus is a matter of following the same recommendations to avoid any illness. Wash your hands. Use hand sanitizer. And, in the case of the coronavirus, avoid large crowds. Also, keep up with the latest from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).” You’re probably thinking, that’s all a doctor can say? He doesn’t have access to inside information or recommendations not yet official, but something the CDC might soon release? Unfortunately, the answer is...
Close-up of the coronavirus

The coronavirus: A truck driver’s guide to germs and illness — Part 1

  SELF-QUARANTINE: ADMIRABLE, BUT IMPOSSIBLE FOR TRUCKERS It would be difficult to find many Americans who are not somewhat familiar with the latest world crisis, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic — and truck drivers don’t live under rocks. Sure, the average driver may not interact with as many people as a shoe salesman, but the idea that truckers perform their duties in isolation is a myth. Drivers don’t sit behind a steering wheel all day, and they can’t avoid interacting with people either professionally or casually. The risks of exposure to or developing the symptoms of COVID-19 are as varied as the ages,...
volvo lights

‘More than a truck’: Electric-transportation advocates eye many community benefits

FONTANA, Calif. — The Los Angeles area, particularly Orange County and communities between the Pacific Coast and Little San Bernardino Mountains, is notorious for poor air quality. The area is often mentioned as having the worst air quality of any location in the United States and sometimes the world. But steps to improve the region’s long-polluted air are moving forward, and public health, the climate, traffic congestion, traveler experiences, and job training and placement are receiving the benefits. On Feb. 11, Volvo Trucks chose Fontana, California, to unveil its efforts to reduce the trucking industry’s contribution to air pollution. The...