One of the trucking industry’s most prestigious awards, each year since 1983 the Goodyear North America Highway Hero Award has recognized a professional truck driver who selflessly put him or herself in harm’s way to save the lives of others. Goodyear recently announced this year’s four finalists. The winner, who will receive a $5,000 award, will be selected by a panel of industry journalists and announced on March 27 at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky.
In a press release announcing the finalists, Gary Medalis, Goodyear Commercial Tire Systems marketing director, said: “The Goodyear Highway Hero Award recognizes truck drivers who put their lives on the line to help others. Each of our Highway Hero finalists took action without concern for his own safety in order to save another person from a life-threatening situation.”
Last year’s Highway Hero was Jason Harte of Rogers, Arkansas, a driver for Sammons Trucking of Missoula, Montana. Harte rescued a family of six from a smashed minivan. Congratulations to this year’s Highway Hero finalists:
• Brian Dunn, a driver from Knoxville, Tennessee, rescued a 2-year-old boy trapped in the back seat of a flame-engulfed car.
• Tim Horton of Sheridan, Arkansas climbed 35 feet down a steep, brush-covered slope to rescue a teenager trapped in a car at the bottom of a ravine.
• Scott Rosenberg, a driver from Isanti, Minnesota, used his boom crane to flip over a pickup stuck upside-down in a pond and rescue the driver.
• Ivan Vasovic of Rancho Cucamonga, California charged into the flames repeatedly to rescue an injured truck driver from a burning diesel tanker.
Hundreds of truck drivers help motorists every year; their only reward a smile and a thank you. Truckers have suffered mightily during this winter’s awful weather, but drivers have also performed countless selfless acts, putting aside their own needs and comfort to help stranded motorists. Who are these Highway Heroes? TruckerToTrucker.com wants to know. Post a comment and tell us about fellow drivers who deserve recognition and thanks.
When Mexican carrier Tristan Transfer applied for admission to the NAFTA Cross Border Pilot Program last June, some trucking industry watchers questioned the carrier’s safety record; but to no avail. Despite issues raised about driver fitness and vehicle maintenance (among others), the carrier’s owner passed a Pre-Authorization Safety Audit (PASA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) granted it authority to participate in the NAFTA program. (For the whole story, read the 2013 article on TheTrucker.com.)
That decision has come back to bite FMCSA. TheTrucker.com recently reported that FMCSA has “quietly revoked” Tristan Transfer’s NAFTA operating authority after the carrier received a “conditional” rating during its December 2013 compliance review. No wonder the FMCSA is trying to keep things quiet. Less than six months after the Mexican carrier’s safety record was questioned by U.S. truckers, FMCSA chops it from the program for safety issues.
While FMCSA’s list of deficiencies was extensive, of greatest concern to U.S. truckers sharing the road with this carrier’s drivers were violations of Hours of Service regulations, failure to keep truck inspection and maintenance records, using a driver who hadn’t passed a drug and alcohol test and numerous other irregularities in alcohol and drug education and testing.
When the Cross Border Pilot Program was proposed, it was extremely unpopular with U.S. truckers. In comments on our Trucker to Trucker blog, American truckers expressed concern about loss of business and were worried that Mexican competitors would not be required to meet the same exacting maintenance and safety standards required of American truckers. It was feared that a double standard would not only give foreign truckers an unfair business advantage but, more importantly, would allow poorly trained drivers and poorly maintained trucks on American highways, creating a hazard for both truckers and American citizens. Given the Tristan Transfer fiasco, it appears that we had good reason to worry.
Tristan Transfer is just one of 14 carriers enrolled in the NAFTA program and may be the bad apple in the barrel; but we’d like to hear from you. Should the pilot program be continued?