Archive for July, 2012

Safe Drivers and Safe Fleets

Safe Drivers and Fleet Awards

By Jena Williams

Saturday July 21st the Washington Trucking Associations announced the winners of the Annual Safe Fleets and Safe Driver Awards at the Day with the Winners, at Emerald Downs Race Track in Auburn, Wa.

Winners’ names were displayed on the trackside reader board at the end of the Washington Trucking Associations’ Race and the winners reported to the Winners Circle to have their picture taken with the winning horse.

Fleet of the Year 

Private Carrier Conference under 5 million miles – Charlies Produce

Private Carrier Conference over 5 million miles – Walmart Transportation

Movers Conference – Lile International

Log Truck Conference – Pat Rabey Trucking Inc

Common Carrier Conference – Gordon Trucking Inc

Grand Champion with best overall score – Gordon Trucking Inc.

Driver of the Year 

Private Carrier Conference – Robert Ness – Safeway

Movers Conference – Mike Blalock – Lile International

Common Carrier Conference – Mike Kvasager – Carlile Transportation

Safety Professional of the Year – Doug Stiffarm – Miles Resources

Congratulations to all the winners!

Avoiding injuries to diesel mechanics


By Jena Williams

According to an article published in Light & Medium Truck, shortages of large-engine mechanics are on the way. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 15 percent increase in demand from 2010 to 2020. Many of the current positions are held by baby boomers who are expected to retire by 2030.

For this reason, it is especially important to protect the health of the mechanics that you have. Also, if you want to entice new mechanics to your company, you need to show them that you care about their health and that you’ll do what you can to provide the safest working environment.

TIRES research shows that large-engine mechanics are often injured during the process of changing tires, usually from lifting the tires and sometimes from the forces applied in removing the tires from the rims.

What tools are out there to make tires changes safer? I found a few videos on YouTube and am wondering if anyone has tried these tools and if they work. TIRES is always on the lookout for industry best practices. Let us know what you’ve found that works or what you’ve tried that doesn’t work.

Let’s keep mechanics safe and pain-free so they can continue to provide the excellent work desperately needed by the industry.

Tire mounting procedures from YouTube:

Link to Part 1:

Link to Part 2:


Anyone tried this tool? The TEC TNT300:

How about this one? The Ken-Tool’s Blue Cobra:

What about the GTC-J1 tool?

What are your thoughts on these different tools? Does it matter which one you use?

Safety video on tire cages:

Boeing trucker heading to national championship

Lisa Bry

By Jena Williams

With 28 years behind the wheel, Lisa Bry is no rookie truck driver, but in August, she’ll be the new kid on the block at the National Truck Driving Championship in Minneapolis where she’ll be competing for the first time.

“I am so excited,” Lisa said.

In June, Lisa competed in the 2012 Washington Trucking Association Truck Driving Championship, which includes a written test, a pre-trip inspection with 10 simulated defects drivers must find and an obstacle course.  Lisa took first place in the Straight Truck category and garnered the most points out of all 135 competitors to be named the competition’s Grand Champion.

“I am just stoked,” Lisa said. “The grand champion, that was a total surprise for me. It was icing on the cake for me.”

Lisa, who grew up near Boston, was still in her teens when she learned to drive a big rig back when there were even fewer female truck drivers than there are now. According to Department of Labor statistics, women made up just 4.6 percent of the truck driving industry in 2010.

“I kind of grew up driving things. I had a dirt bike, I rode horses. When I got out of high school, I told my mom, I think I want to drive trucks,” she said. “I just love trucks.”

These days, she hauls freight for Boeing, shuttling between the Renton and Seattle facilities.

“It’s a dream job,” Lisa said.

For a time, Lisa was a truck driving instructor and she shared with her students some advice she got from one of her instructors.

“He used to tell us, ‘The day you think you know everything, is the day you’re going to crash and burn.’

That always stuck with me,” she said. “You have to trust your gut, never stop learning, and always be just as safe as you can.”

We’ll be rooting for Lisa as she competes in Minneapolis next month and we’ll be sure to post the results here.

Media Perpetrated Myths about Truckers

By Jena Williams

Reading this blog article on the myths or stereotypes associated with truck driving got me thinking of conversations I’ve overheard or even been a part of over the years. Although the topics were not necessarily the same, the lack of appreciation was the same…Comments like “Wow, what’s with all the trucks on the road? They are really messing up traffic.”  Comments like this were probably made while driving to the store to buy stuff brought by trucks.

That said, I am older and wiser now. As someone who has trouble backing a mini-van, I recognize you work a job that there is no way I could ever do. I appreciate the hard work you do to keep our economy going and that you have to stay physically healthy to do it. Thank you truck drivers for your all you do, the long hours you put in and all the family time you’ve missed to make those deadlines.

Is there something that we can do to improve the public’s impression of trucking and to help them understand the importance of the trucking industry? Please share your ideas in the comments below.

Link to Three Myths about the Trucking Industry posted by Larry Ehl:

Happy Birthday America!

By Jena Williams

Born on the 4th of July, 1776, when brave colonists declared our independence as a free nation. In a couple of days our nation will celebrate its 236th Independence Day, thanks to the courage of Americans past and present.

We know many former service members become truck drivers as their second careers. We thank you for your service to our nation and your hard work for our communities as we continue to celebrate freedom.

Above is a tribute to the American truck driver developed by Sean Kilcarr of Fleet Owner magazine. As we celebrate our independence, we will remember that the festivities are also courtesy of America’s truck drivers. You bring it!