Trucker 5550 Hansen

Driver news roundup: Grandma is a trucker, and she’s packin’

Jan. 9, 2017
In this week’s roundup of recent truck driver news, we find a Magnum-toting grandmother trucker; a driver who really wanted to get his phone back from a thief; and truckers who find that fines are cheaper than paid parking in New York City.

In this week’s roundup of recent truck driver news, we find a Magnum-toting grandmother trucker; a driver who really wanted to get his phone back from a thief; and truckers who find that fines are cheaper than paid parking in New York City.

Idella Hansen/Twitter

A trucking “pioneer,” Idella Hansen showed up for her first over-the-road driving test in heels. But by that time the now 66-year-old woman from Arkansas had married, raised a family, and divorced—and she’d been driving trucks locally since leaving high school.

“If it'll crank," Hansen told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, "I can drive it. It doesn't make any difference what it is. It can be a front-end loader."

Now she’s just your average .357-toting licensed security officer and grandmother hauling precious cargo coast to coast.

“I tell my friends all the time that my grandma is a trucker. And they say, 'What?!’” her grandson tells the newspaper. "Everyone else's grandma is sitting at home, watching TV, calling other people on the home phone. They don't even have cellphones."

Be sure to read the part of her story about how she dissuaded other drivers (male) for a fleet of unassigned vehicles from taking the truck she kept cleaner than the rest. (Spoiler alert: She turned the tables on men’s mudflap artwork.)

Hansen, along with friend and fellow trucker Sandi Talbott, has also been featured on NPR’s StoryCorps oral history project. Listen to them tell their stories here.

Kung Fu fighting: The Dash Cam of the Week staff saw this first, but since they haven’t run it yet, here we go. The clip, apparently, is from China and shows a truck driver taking the law into his own hands—so to speak—after a roadside hooligan reaches into the cab and snatches the truckers cell phone.

More here on the finer points of the "Shadowless Kick" move.

NIMBY: For truckers frustrated about not being able to find open parking spots at popular interstate truck stops and rest areas, be thankful you’re not trying to find overnight parking in New York City.

In this story from the Queens Tribune, neighborhood residents complain that big rigs are taking up parking spaces for residents and school faculty.

“After five, six o’clock, it’s almost impossible to find parking,” she told the Tribune, and added that she sees up to three trucks at a time on a “constant” basis. “[The trucks] take up as much space as 20 cars.”

Credit the newspaper for letting truckers have a say. One driver admitted that it’s easier to pay the fines than to park in places like JFK, which could run truckers “nearly $1,000 a month.” He also told the Tribune the problem stemmed from an overall lack of commercial parking in New York City, compared to places with more abundant options, such as New Jersey. But truckers living in New York and working over 100 hours a week would rather park in New York so they can spend time at home, he argued.

“They have to understand us,” he said.

About the Author

Kevin Jones | Editor

Kevin has served as editor-in-chief of Trailer/Body Builders magazine since 2017—just the third editor in the magazine’s 60 years. He is also editorial director for Endeavor Business Media’s Commercial Vehicle group, which includes FleetOwner, Bulk Transporter, Refrigerated Transporter, American Trucker, and Fleet Maintenance magazines and websites.

Working from Little Rock, Kevin has covered trucking and manufacturing for 15 years. His writing and commentary about the trucking industry and, previously, business and government, has been recognized with numerous state, regional, and national journalism awards.

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