Women in Trucking recognizes three Drivers of the Year

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Trucking news and briefs for Tuesday, March 26, 2024:

Three drivers named Women in Trucking’s Drivers of the Year

Women in Trucking's Drivers of the YearWomen in Trucking named its 2024 Drivers of the Year during a ceremony at the Mid-America Trucking Show on March 22.Women in Trucking Association

The Women in Trucking Association announced on March 22 three drivers as the winners of the fifth annual Driver of the Year award, sponsored by Walmart.

The 2024 Drivers of the Year are: 

  • Carmen Anderson, America’s Service Line 
  • Deb LaBree, Castle Transport LLC, leased to Landstar (CCJ Top 250, No. 7)
  • Jodi Edwards, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. (No. 3)

The announcement was made during the Salute to Women Behind the Wheel event, hosted by WIT at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky. The event honors female commercial drivers for their efforts and successes in the trucking industry.  

“All of these deserving drivers are members of the WIT Image Team,” said Jennifer Hedrick, WIT president and CEO. “They represent the WIT mission and participate in ride-along events for legislators, regulators, and industry leaders to provide a deeper understanding of the obstacles they face on the road. They also speak to the media and other industry professionals at public events and industry trade shows.” 

Anderson, a company driver at America’s Service Line, has 2.5 million safe-driving miles. In 2015, she won the South Dakota Truck Driving championship and went on to compete in nationals in St. Louis. Two years later, she was selected for the Wisconsin Road Team. In August 2019, she was named the Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association (WMCA) Driver of the Month. She also won the WMCA 2019 Driver of the Year, the first woman to be named the sole recipient of the award.

LaBree became a professional truck driver in 2006. She is an independent owner-operator of Castle Transport LLC and has been leased to Landstar since June 2014. She is well known for mentoring other business capacity owners (BCOs) within Landstar and has received the Bronze and Silver Star of Quality awards from Landstar for customer service and mentorship.  

LaBree has been a team driver with her husband, Del, for all her career. She has received the safety award every year since she began driving and was named the NASTC Driver of the Year in 2020.

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Edwards has been a professional driver with J.B. Hunt for more than 25 years, during which she has driven more than 2 million miles collision-free. Throughout her career, Edwards has exemplified a passion for safety and professionalism and is an encouraging advocate for women entering the transportation industry. Among her many accomplishments, she has been named Driver of the Year for her region and has received multiple safe driving awards at J.B. Hunt. 

[Related: Improving safety for women drivers, automated payment solutions and telematics]

TCA names 3 Highway Angels of the Year

Professional truck drivers Tony Blunnie of Knight Transportation, Dawna Jacobsen of Erb Transport and Terry Reavis of Maverick Transportation LLC were named the 2023 TCA Highway Angels of the Year by the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) at the organization's annual conference Monday in Nashville. This is the first year that TCA has recognized more than one Highway Angel of the Year.

Tony Blunnie, on Feb. 15, 2023, witnessed a devastating crash while training a driver on Interstate 20 in Jackson, Mississippi, that left a van in flames and its female driver in peril. Without hesitation, he instructed his trainee to pull over before grabbing his fire extinguisher and leaping into action, battling the fire, and breaking the van windows to extract her from the wreck with moments to spare before the vehicle was engulfed in flames.

Dawna Jacobsen, on an evening in December 2022, was driving along Highway 11 in Northern Ontario and came across snowmobiler who'd been struck by a vehcile attempting to cross the highway. Upon witnessing the snowmobile accident, she maneuvered her truck to shield the boy and signal to other drivers to avoid the scene, protecting him from further injury.

Terry Reavis came across catastrophic collision on Feb. 19, 2023, on I-95 in Brunswick, Georgia, when he witnessed a pickup truck driving backwards across three lanes of traffic and got t-boned by an SUV. Terry was one of the first on scene and didn't hesitate to assist, rescuing three children and aiding an injured woman until help arrived. His 27 years of experience and training as a first responder enabled him to manage one of the worst accidents he's ever seen, remarkably ensuring no lives were lost.

PrePass expands to four new weigh station bypass states

The PrePass Safety Alliance last week announced the expansion of its PrePass weigh station bypass system into four new states and the addition of 116 new sites to its network.

PrePass-enrolled trucks will have the opportunity to bypass at more than 75 sites in Rhode Island, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. Additionally, the Alliance is deploying 40 new sites in the current PrePass states of Michigan, Texas, California, Iowa, South Carolina, Utah, Wyoming, Mississippi, and North Carolina.

With these additions, the PrePass network now spans over 550 sites in 44 states, offering fleets greater coverage and convenience.

"Our expansion into these four new states and the addition of 116 new sites underscore the Alliance mission to enhance the safe and efficient movement of freight on America’s highways," said Mark Doughty, President and CEO of PrePass Safety Alliance. "But this is only the beginning. Expect further announcements regarding new states and enhancements to our services as we strive to provide our customers with innovative solutions that streamline their operations and help them maximize their time on the road."

PrePass weigh station bypass service rewards safe, qualified fleets with the opportunity to bypass weigh stations and ports of entry, saving them time, money, and fuel, the company said. PrePass also offers toll payment and management services, which simplify tolling for carriers, eliminating costly violations and automatically disputing max tolls while reducing administrative burdens and costs. As the only integrated bypass and electronic toll management provider, PrePass customers need just one device for both services.  

To leverage the new bypass sites, fleets will need to equip their trucks with the recently updated PrePass app. The PrePass app unlocks access to over 20% more bypass locations and delivers real-time driver safety alerts, including work zones, dangerous slowdowns, hazardous weather conditions, available parking slots, and many more.

[Related: Electronic inspection technologies pose more questions than answers]

Drivewyze piloting work zone alerts in eastern Oregon

Oregon’s Umatilla County has partnered with Drivewyze to provide truck drivers with in-cab safety alerts in an effort to reduce commercial vehicle crash rates in active work zones.

The Umatilla County pilot program to improve highway safety includes a collaboration between Drivewyze, North America’s largest Connected Truck platform, and one.network, a digital work zone and road management platform provider.

The alerts, which give drivers a heads-up to upcoming work zones, have been demonstrated to improve driver behavior by reducing the occurrence of over-speeding and hard-braking events. The in-cab safety alerts are available to all truck drivers and trucking fleets at no cost through the Drivewyze Free service. Drivewyze Free can be activated through 100+ telematics service providers partnered with Drivewyze, or downloaded directly from app stores.   

Umatilla County, which covers more than 3,200 square miles in eastern Oregon, borders Washington state and connects to Boise on the border of Idaho via I-84. It’s a main transportation corridor with mid-sized Oregon towns, like Baker City and Pendleton along the route.

“For the first time in the United States, road crews in Umatilla work zones will be able to use our Live Link app to reach truckers with comprehensive, timely and vetted work zone information,” said Simon Topp, one.network’s chief commercial officer. “That’s important. Recent government data indicate one out of three work zone fatal crashes involves at least one large truck. Our information is shared through Drivewyze Free, assuring that freight operators have the most accurate information delivered into truck cabs at the right time and in the format they use most.” 

[Related: Drivewyze introduces free safety alert service]