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The Official Magazine of the Maryland Motor Truck Association

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Published by mpg_jennifer, 2020-09-18 16:08:42

Behind the Wheel Q3 Fall 2020 ~ MMTA Members Show Trucking IS Essential

The Official Magazine of the Maryland Motor Truck Association

Keywords: trucking,politics,covid,safety,regulations,association,business

Q3 FALL 2020



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INSIDE: Verdicts A Trucker's
Going Nuclear, Tale
So What Should
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18 MMTA Members Show
Trucking is Essential

Heroes keep delivering in the face
of a pandemic



9 Verdicts Going Nuclear, So
What Should Carriers Do?

ATRI’s newest analysis sheds light on trucking’s
stratospheric-level legal verdict awards


14 ATRI's Nuclear Verdict
Fast Facts

ATRI’s newest analysis sheds light on trucking’s

stratospheric-level legal verdict awards

16 A Trucker’s Tale

Industry veteran shares 60 years of

stories from the road



5 Chairman’s Message
34 New MMTA Members
34 Advertiser Resource Index



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The Official Magazine of the Maryland Motor Truck Association CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE

Behind the Wheel is owned by the Maryland Motor Truck At a time when it seems so much is out of
Association and is published by Matthews Publishing Group. our control, there is something we can do about
To request additional copies, order reprints of individual articles it. We can focus on what we do as individual
or to become a subscriber to Behind The Wheel, please contact members of our great industry and our
Selena Griffin at (410) 644-4600. To inquire about advertising, association. We can combat the swirling news
developments of COVID-19, the economy, and
please contact the publisher at (501) 690-9393. the Country with perseverance and dedication to
our trade.
Jennifer Matthews-Drake It wasn’t that long ago that the same news
Matthews Publishing Group was filled with inspiring stories of truckers, drivers, and people all over the State
[email protected] who appreciated the dedication of the men and women delivering their goods. In
this issue, our staff has compiled stories of some members who have adapted and
Executive Editor persevered through these trying times – doing what they do best.
Louis Campion
[email protected] Trucking companies and their drivers have continued to rise to the occasion of
delivering critical goods throughout the pandemic. Make no mistake, there are and
Managing Editor will continue to be financial challenges for our industry going forward, but with
Selena Griffin the continued support and coordination of numerous government partners and the
dedication of our members, we will overcome any roadblocks.
[email protected]
The Maryland Motor Truck Association would especially like to thank the
Creative Director following agencies for their cooperation and responsiveness:
Fran Sherman
[email protected] Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Governor Larry Hogan’s Office
Graphic Designer Maryland Department of Transportation
Barbara Negron Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration
Maryland Port Administration
Photographer Maryland Emergency Management Agency
David Sinclair Maryland Transportation Authority

Contributing Writers During these challenging times, our Board of Directors and office staff remain
fully engaged with the day-to-day operations of the Association. We also recognize
Steve Brawner David Monteith the financial pressure COVID-19 has put on many companies. As a result, at its
Dan Calabrese Jennifer Barnett Reed last meeting, the Board unanimously decided to reduce our membership dues by
Mary Lou Jay half for the next year and to defer billing of dues by 90 days, from July 1, to
Renee Miller John Schulz September 1, 2020.
Todd Traub
Our staff, either working remotely or while rotating in our office,
Maryland Motor Truck Association has successfully transitioned to various on-line services including video
conferencing and tele-presentations for our training classes, providing the latest
Louis Campion COVID-related regulations, and continually remaining accessible to answer your
President & CEO everyday questions.
[email protected]
Dottie C. Duvall
Vice President - Administration |BEHIND THE WHEEL Q3 FALL 2020 5

[email protected]

Brenda Tharp
Director of Safety
[email protected]

Selena L. Griffin

[email protected]

Margie Anne Bonnett
Marketing & Communications Director

[email protected]

Kathy Norris
Administrative Assistant
[email protected]

Maryland Motor Truck Association is an affiliate of the
American Trucking Associations. MMTA is a Maryland
corporation of trucking companies, private carrier fleets
and businesses which serve or supply the trucking industry.
MMTA serves these companies as a governmental affairs
representative before legislative, regulatory and executive
branches of government on issues that affect the trucking
industry. The organization also provides public relations
services, education services, operational services and serves
as a forum for industry meetings and membership relations.

For more information, contact MMTA at:
Maryland Motor Truck Association, Inc.
9256 Bendix Road, Suite 203 - Columbia, Md. 21045
Phone 410-644-4600 | Fax 410-644-2537


Advertising in
Behind the Wheel, EMERGE FROM THESE
Directory is a great
business decision! WE HAVE IN THE


Unfortunately, many of our annual events had to be postponed or cancelled for
the time being. I will especially miss the Truck Driving Championships, the Person of
the Year, and the Annual Conference to name a few. But the safety and health of our
members and staff is our utmost concern and will remain so.

Also, due to the hastened adjournment of this year’s legislative session, our 2020

agenda fell short of our goals with the House and Senate agreeing to close-up shop

early. However, the Legislative Committee is committed to returning our attention to

items such as extended inspection intervals for tractors and consistent regulations and

standards for electronic enforcement methods. The upcoming session will no doubt be a

challenge for everyone involved in the process but we will be there, involved, and looking

BTW Q4 Winter 2019.indd 1 out for your interests.11/5/19 4:03PM

Keep safe, keep the faith, and “Keep On Trucking!” Our industry will emerge from
these latest challenges as we have in the past – better and stronger than ever before.

All the best,

These are the ONLY publications in Armand Patella
Maryland dedicated to trucking and 2019-2020 Chairman of the Board
sure to provide you the biggest bang for
your buck! In fact, we'd bet that nearly
all of our more than 8,000 readers are
either your current customers, your hot
prospects or people who are in a position
to refer you to potential customers.
For more information on how to grow your

market share, please contact
Jennifer Matthews-Drake at
[email protected] or

(501) 690-9393.





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ATRI’s newest analysis sheds light on
trucking’s stratospheric-level legal verdict awards



M otor carriers face a rising four identified in 2006 to 265 from 2012-19. case 107 times, or 23.7 percent. There were
In recent years, some awards have been 132 awards between $1 million and $1.9
threat of “nuclear verdicts” that million. The number of awards that size
are growing larger and occurring reaching stratospheric levels. Jurors awarded increased from more than 30 in 2005-11
more often, and it’s happening $40 million in 2011 after a truck driver to almost 100 from 2012-19. In 16.6
in a legal climate where skilled killed two occupants of a passenger vehicle, percent of the cases, the award was greater
plaintiff’s attorneys manipulate one of whom was a prominent businessman than $5 million.
jurors’ emotions and financiers with high earning potential. When a drive
“invest” in lawsuits hoping to hit shaft broke off a commercial truck and The average sizes of the awards
a jackpot. killed a passenger car driver in 2012, a court increased from $2.3 million in 2010 to
initially awarded $281.6 million, which $22.3 million in 2018, a jump of 967
Those were some of the findings by the eventually was reduced to $105.2 million percent. By far the largest increase, 483
and settled for an undisclosed amount. After percent, occurred from 2017 to 2018.
American Transportation Research Institute in a crash in Alabama in 2016 where the truck The study’s lead author and ATRI’s senior
driver fell asleep at the wheel and killed vice president, Dan Murray, said numbers
its June report, “Understanding the Impact of five people, a Georgia court awarded $280 from early 2019 that weren’t included in
million for the deaths of a grandmother and the study suggest the sudden rise in 2018
Nuclear Verdicts on the Trucking Industry.” two grandchildren. wasn’t a one-year outlier.

The report defines a “nuclear verdict” as a ATRI analyzed 451 cases with awards The growth in the size of the verdicts
over that 14-year period. The rest of the
“large verdict, oftentimes in excess 600 had missing data. The defense won the CONTINUED 

of $10 million.” ATRI’s analysis of 600 cases

found that awards of $1 million or more are

becoming more commonplace – from only


ONE HUNDRED PERCENT OF THE the awards themselves. A previous ATRI
CASES WERE DECIDED IN FAVOR study, “An Analysis of the Operational
OF THE PLAINTIFF IN OREGON, Costs of Trucking: 2019 Update,” found
WYOMING, NEBRASKA, KANSAS, insurance costs increased 12 percent
between 2017 and 2018 and had risen 18.3
GEORGIA, NORTH CAROLINA, percent the last five years. Some trucking
VIRGINIA, CONNECTICUT AND industry members who participated in the
NEW YORK. IN CALIFORNIA, study said the higher costs had resulted in
97.1 PERCENT OF THE 34 CASES reduced spending on safety.
ATRI studied what factors could affect
far outpaces inflation, which increased numbers refute arguments by those who the size of the verdict. The biggest factor,
1.7 percent a year from 2010 to 2018, say the increasing size of verdicts merely not surprisingly, is the presence of children.
and health care costs, which increased reflect rising medical costs and inflation. When they are injured or killed, the size of
2.9 percent annually. Murray said those the award averaged $42.3 million, compared
Nuclear verdicts have costs other than to $2.3 million when they are not. Moreover,
the more children who are killed, the higher
the verdict. The analysis of a small sample
size found that for every child killed, the
verdict increased by $27.4 million.

ATRI found that for each additional
death, the verdict increased by $720,243
when all other factors were constant, while
a traumatic brain injury increased the

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verdict by $768,502. If cars were involved, plaintiff’s verdict. In Alabama, however, an estimated $400 billion worldwide
the verdicts were reduced by $739,674 92.3 percent of the 20 cases tried favored industry with no federal oversight, and the
compared to other types of crashes involving the defense. In Texas, where there were 86 source of the funding is often hidden.
pedestrians, bicyclists or other trucks. cases, 55.8 percent were in favor of the
plaintiff. In Arkansas, 42.9 percent of the “It’s something like Wall Street
ATRI found five factors always resulted cases favored the plaintiff. investing, a lot like a mutual fund, a lot like
in a verdict in favor of the plaintiff: hours venture capitalists trying to pick winners
of service or logbook violations, a less than Murray said the study grew from ATRI’s and losers,” Murray said in an interview.
clean driving history, driving under the Research Advisory Committee, which “And in fact in four states it’s considered
influence of controlled substances, a driver prioritized nuclear verdicts as ATRI’s top gambling, and it literally is controlled by
fleeing the scene, and health issues. issue in spring 2019. Meanwhile, American the same laws that oversee gambling.”
Trucking Associations President and CEO
Other factors also resulted in a high Chris Spear announced that tort reform Along with analyzing the verdicts,
likelihood of a plaintiff’s verdict, including would be a top priority for the ATA. ATRI interviewed defense and plaintiff’s
sleep/fatigue and the driver talking on the attorneys and insurance industry personnel,
phone, both 91.7 percent, and rear end ATRI created an outline for its planned mostly between June and December 2019.
collisions, which was 89.2 percent. research and then talked to attorneys One finding is that there is no uniform
about the issue, from which it learned the standard for calculating medical costs,
The likelihood of an unfavorable importance of litigation financing. ATRI’s which can lead to volatile jury awards.
verdict depended greatly on the state where researchers were aware of the issue but Other factors mentioned as causes of
the case was tried. One hundred percent didn’t realize its importance. Financiers nuclear verdicts included jurors being
of the cases were decided in favor of the are investing in plaintiff’s attorneys. If desensitized to huge verdicts, and improved
plaintiff in Oregon, Wyoming, Nebraska, the plaintiff wins, the financiers receive a safety technology that results in expensive
Kansas, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, percentage of the award. If the plaintiff
Connecticut and New York. In California, loses, the investor gets nothing. It’s become CONTINUED 
97.1 percent of the 34 cases resulted in a



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lifelong injuries instead of fatalities. PARTICIPANTS [IN THE STUDY] SAID
Several made the statement that MOTOR CARRIERS HELPED
“the only way to prevent nuclear verdicts is
to prevent the crash from happening in the THEY COULD SHOW THEY HAD
first place.” Many said motor carriers often TAKEN STEPS TO
failed to perform background and drug
tests. Juries were much more likely PREVENT CRASHES THAT WENT
to fault drivers who have a history of BEYOND FEDERAL
drug and alcohol abuse even when it
wasn’t clear that history had anything SAFETY REGULATIONS.
to do with the crash. Participants said
motor carriers helped themselves when carries great weight with juries.” said defense attorneys are doing better.
they could show they had taken steps to Most interviewees (73.3 percent) said Respondents said plaintiff’s attorneys
prevent crashes that went beyond federal generously share strategies with each
safety regulations. plaintiff’s attorneys are doing a better other, while defense attorneys work in
job in truck crash cases, while none
“Solely from a litigation standpoint,
motor carriers should consider (federal
motor carrier safety regulations) as minimum
standards that can and should be exceeded,
rather than assuming FMCSR compliance
is adequate,” the report said. “The ability
of defense attorneys to document carrier or
driver safety activities that exceed FMCSRs




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a competitive firm environment and of her and his life.” by plaintiff’s attorneys. One is to seek a
have trouble obtaining the information Murray said defense attorneys cut-and-dried case in search of a nuclear
and money they need from insurers and verdict. The other model profits from a
defendants to mount a defense. The motor should describe how essential the large quantity of cases that often involve
carriers’ business model, the report said, trucking industry is, as shown during the motor carriers’ minimum insurance
is based on “cost minimization,” while the COVID-19 pandemic, how the carrier has requirements – the billboard lawyers, in
plaintiff’s attorneys are operating under a been a good community steward, and how other words.
“high risk, high reward” model. Plaintiff’s the driver is a family man with a good
attorneys do a better job of appealing to driving record. ATRI’s report focused on the first
juror’s emotions and basing their strategy group. It is now creating a similar
on the “reptile theory” – in other words, Carriers who find themselves in assessment of almost 700 cases where the
triggering the most primitive parts of a lawsuit should do a thorough risk judgments and settlements were under $1
jurors’ brains so they see the defendants’ assessment in order to avoid a nuclear million. The report, which will be released
actions as endangering the community verdict. They should ask themselves if they at the end of 2020 or the beginning of
and themselves. could have done anything to prevent the 2021, will provide a blueprint for carriers
accident. If there was any negligence on to know when they should fight and when
“We’ll go in and argue stopping their part or the driver’s part, they’d better they should settle based on the average
distance with a civil engineer,” Murray settle. Carriers should settle early because costs of different types of injuries and
said. “And they’ll put, as we pointed out in costs rise as the case comes closer to trial. crashes. If a carrier is being sued for more
the report, they’ll put a young kid on the They also should bring a reasonable offer than the average, it should consider going
stand and ask him what it’s like to know to the table to avoid angering plaintiff’s to court. If it is being sued for less, “You’re
that his brother’s never going to be around attorneys who might take the case to trial, probably getting a great deal, and you
again, or a mom talking about having to leading to a nuclear verdict. probably should cut the deal and run,”
deal with a quadriplegic child for the rest Murray said.
Murray said ATRI’s researchers
identified two business models adopted


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ATRI Fast Facts on and objective. Case vulnerabilities and describe the frustration and consequence of
Nuclear Verdicts: potential liabilities must be acknowledged initial “low-ball” offers.
and vetted against realistic financial • Settling early reduces costs. ATRI’s
Pre-Crash Actions by Motor Carriers damage projections. quantitative analysis found that, on average,
are Critical • The ultimate strategy-driving question a 1 percent increase in time between crash
• Both attorney bars emphasized that crash internally posed by most plaintiff and verdict increases verdict size by $3
attorneys and successful defense attorneys million (mean = 1,319 days between crash
avoidance is everything and that strictly is: “what operational, safety or training and verdict).
adhering to safety and operational policies factors could have prevented the crash in
is essential to staying out of court and/or the first place?” Expert Witnesses and Plaintiff
reducing award sizes. • Experience matters. Both defense and Claims Matter
• Almost any failure to adhere to Federal plaintiff attorney bars noted that attorneys • When the defense uses expert witnesses and
Motor Carrier Safety Regulations inexperienced in trucking litigation are
(FMCSRs) or company safety policies will harmful to all parties. the plaintiff does not, awards decrease by
be the focus of plaintiff arguments. 13 percent. When both use expert witnesses,
• From a litigation standpoint, motor carriers When Mediation and Settling Makes Sense the defense still benefits.
should consider FMCSRs as minimum • There was general agreement that mediation • There were five issues in ATRI’s litigation
standards that can and should be exceeded. database where the defense lost every case,
The ability of defense attorneys to and settlements are missed opportunities, including HOS and logbook violations.
document carrier or driver safety activities particularly by the defense when they do
that exceed FMCSRs carries great weight not believe that negligence by the carrier Litigation Strategies and Models: Success
with juries. and/or driver exists. versus Failure
• If mediation and settlements are pursued, • The defense and plaintiff bars have different
Litigation Preparation is – and should be initial offers should be realistic and
Both Complex and Costly equitable. Multiple plaintiff attorneys underlying business models. The defense
• Risk Assessments must be thorough bar is party to an economic model focused


on “cost minimization,” as dictated by the critical information from their own clients. members who would never intentionally
client (e.g. motor carrier, insurance firm). • While there was much discussion and harm someone.
Client efforts to reduce costs will often cut • In terms of expert witnesses, it was
corners on detailed risk analyses, litigation debate on the existence and role of recommended to avoid “technical
preparation expenses and expanded legal the “reptile theory,” there was general overkill.” Since likeability plays a key role
representation. Alternatively, the plaintiff consensus that emotion, egos, and in believability, rely on a down-to-earth
bar recognizes that litigation failure will sentiment play a crucial role in “winning mechanic to discuss certain issues versus
generate little to no revenue, but with over the jury.” The defense often relies on an automotive engineering professor.
“high risk, can come high reward.” logic, technical witnesses, compliance with
• Knowledge dictates good vs bad litigation FMCSRs and other rational arguments. Unfavorable Practices will Destroy
outcomes, yet information-sharing models Plaintiff attorneys oftentimes rely on Case Potential
between defense and plaintiff attorneys emotional pleas and “heart string” stories
are stark and disparate. Respondents to win over the jury with sympathy Any type or degree of spoliation, aka
generally described defense attorneys as and empathy. The example provided destroying evidence, when proven in court
being more secretive and competitive in was juxtaposing a mechanical engineer almost always ensures immediate jury
their approaches and strategies. The result describing brake stopping distances vs a sympathy for the plaintiff. If the credibility
is minimal sharing of tactical and strategic child testifying about the loss of a sibling. of the defendant is destroyed through
information among defense attorneys and • Multiple attorneys proffered a solution documented proof that evidence was
firms. Alternatively, every year the plaintiff or response to this by noting that defense tampered with, “all hope is lost.”
bar holds dozens of open-door and closed- arguments should highlight the critical
door conferences on successful litigation role of the trucking industry in the A copy of the full report –
approaches and tactics. nation’s economy, a fleet’s role in the Understanding the Impact of Nuclear
• Several defense attorneys also described community as both an essential employer Verdicts on the Trucking Industry – is
their own inability to obtain detailed and and corporate citizen, and stories about available for free from ATRI’s website at
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A Trucker’s Tale

Industry veteran shares 60 years
of stories from the road




Ed Miller was recovering from “The next day, I thought of another story to his early boyhood.
and I put it down,” he said. “And the story led When he started writing, his purpose was
surgery five years ago when he to another story to another story, and before
told a friend a funny story about I knew it, I’d written so many of them I said, simply to record the stories and remember
a truck driver from 40 years ago. ‘Ooh, this could be a book.’” the people with whom he worked during his
When the phone call ended, he long career.
realized he wasn’t doing much Miller, 72, published “A Trucker’s Tale:
during his recuperation besides Wit, Wisdom, and True Stories from 60 Years “After I kept writing, I thought it’d be
reading and watching television, on the Road,” through Apollo Publishers good to let America know that the truckers
so he grabbed a composition book earlier this year. It chronicles his long perform their jobs because they enjoy doing
and wrote that story. relationship with trucking that reaches back it,” he said. “It’s not just a job to them. Very
few truckers are out there just to make a buck.

They drive because they enjoy driving, and radios and their companies didn’t know seen as the knights of the highway – as
trucking is their life.” exactly where they were. However, they essential workers driving into places with
had the added burden of searching for pay high infection rates.
Miller said he also hoped the book would phones to stay in contact with the office.
help passenger car drivers drive more safely He describes traffic managers who expected “I think the majority of drivers felt, we
around truckers. expensive perks in exchange for their can do our part,” he said. “Nurses and health
business, a company owner who seemed to care providers are doing their part. We can
Maryland trucking executives may know take pleasure in firing people, union drivers do ours.”
Miller best from his seven years working for who attacked other truckers with bricks and
the Maryland Department of Transportation cinderblocks from overpasses, and a variety Miller spent his childhood around the
from 2003 until 2010, starting under of other characters. Also, a feature of that trucking business. His maternal grandfather,
Gov. Robert Ehrlich and Secretary of era was drivers’ status as the “knights of the Obie Laughridge, owned a trucking
Transportation Bob Flanagan. Miller was highway” who would stop to help motorists company that mainly hauled new furniture
appointed as a motor carrier policy officer in need. He laments the fact that those days manufactured in western North Carolina.
within the Office of Policy and Governmental are largely in the past for a variety of reasons. Miller’s father, Hugh, managed the operations
Affairs and then was moved to the newly side of the business. In the book, he recalls
formed Office of Freight Logistics. He was He closes with a call for increased truck the day Hugh finally allowed him to ride in
the secretary’s liaison and point of contact parking. His passion for that issue started a Mack B61 truck. Miller had been asking
with the motor carrier and bus industries. after an accident years ago where a female to ride for quite some time, but Hugh had
In that capacity he regularly worked with driver died after colliding with a truck parked always replied that he would have to be able
Maryland Motor Truck Association, on the shoulder. She wouldn’t have died if the to climb into the truck by himself first.
commercial vehicle state agencies, and law truck had been parked elsewhere.
enforcement entities. “I’d known the smell of diesel since I was
Miller said the book has done well on three or four, but the diesel smell from the
“The Maryland Motor Truck Association Amazon. On July 18 it had 22 ratings with an B61 was unique, and awesome,” he wrote.
is an awfully good bunch of trucking average score of 4.7 out of 5. The COVID-19 “In later years I would come to associate the
executives and safety personnel, and it’s good pandemic hindered some of his marketing smell with a flash of lightning – fierce, quick,
to have been involved with them like I was efforts. He had planned to set up tables at and powerful. It burns the nostrils, leaves the
for those seven years. I’ll always cherish the truck stops and sell books to drivers, but that’s tongue bristling, and makes your arm hair
memories that I’ve had, such as volunteering hard to do in a masked environment. stand up. For me the smell conjures feelings
at the Truck Driving Championships and of power and brings an adrenaline high. It’s a
recognizing Maryland’s Drivers of the Month While the pandemic has hurt his book symbol of a journey about to be undertaken.”
and Year winners at those annual events,” sales, it has increased the general public’s
Miller said. respect for drivers. Once again, drivers are Laughridge owned a 168-acre farm. By

Prior to working for MDOT, Miller had CONTINUED P33 
a long career in the trucking industry. Most
of his career was spent in management, but “THE MARYLAND MOTOR TRUCK
it’s obvious from his writing that he still ASSOCIATION IS AN AWFULLY
considers himself a trucker. GOOD BUNCH OF TRUCKING
“Truly I do,” he said. “I’ve always PERSONNEL, AND IT’S GOOD TO
thought of myself as a truck driver even
though I didn’t do it for my entire life. HAVE BEEN INVOLVED WITH THEM
When I talk to a truck driver, it’s not from LIKE I WAS FOR THOSE SEVEN
a management point of view even though YEARS. ” MILLER SAID.
I’ve had to do that for years. I still feel we’re
kindred spirits as a trucker.” |BEHIND THE WHEEL Q3 FALL 2020 17

Miller’s book recalls trucking’s bygone
days before deregulation opened up the
industry, and before cell phones and onboard
telematics allowed constant communications
between drivers and their terminals. Drivers
had much more freedom when their on-
road communications were limited to CB



Heroes keep delivering in

Maryland Government Agencies MDTRUCKING.ORG
Who Took Action During COVID

While trucking companies and drivers
have risen to the occasion to deliver critical
goods throughout the pandemic, the
industry could not have done so without
the support and coordination of numerous
government partners. Below are just a few
examples of agencies who stepped up in
various ways. MMTA thanks them for
their cooperation and responsiveness.
• Federal Motor Carrier Safety

Administration (FMCSA)
• The Honorable Governor Larry

Hogan’s Office
• Maryland Department of

Transportation (MDOT)
• Maryland Motor

Vehicle Administration
• Maryland Port Administration
• Maryland Transportation Authority
• Maryland Emergency

Management Agency
Highlights of some of the important
work these entities did during the crisis
may be found throughout this story.



in the face of a pandemic



A s we continue to negotiate through the health

and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19
pandemic, trucking has emerged as a beacon as
the industry continues to deliver food, water, fuel,
medical supplies and more to citizens across the
state and country. If there is one thing that the
pandemic has demonstrated, it’s that TRUCKING

Amidst the tragedy and calamity that has been caused by the rapid spread of

COVID-19, examples of resilience, ingenuity and unselfishness have been found

across the world and certainly within the ranks of Maryland Motor

Truck Association. As a thank you to the drivers, dispatchers, loaders,

maintenance workers, and terminal managers who are on the front lines we

wish to highlight just a few. CONTINUED 


DONNIE POWELL, RAMAR the worst snowstorm South Carolina had There was no stipulation about who they
MOVING SYSTEMS: Keeping seen in 30 years. had to help, just that they had to help.
Everybody Safe
In an interview after completing one “I explained to them the parable of the
Donnie Powell would have celebrated satellite delivery, Donnie said, “You just sower from the Bible that talks about casting
his 24th year want to make sure it’s safe, it doesn’t get your seed on good ground but making a
at Ramar destroyed…and everybody’s safe at the end difference with it and also the parable of the
Moving of the day.” talents and investing, not just burying the
Systems money in the ground for a rainy day. We can
this year: Federal Motor Carrier claim to care and say we love but I wanted
Sometime in Safety Administration them to put that caring and love into action.
early April, One guy gave $200 to a friend who lost her
while hauling • Issuing emergency declarations to exempt job at a car dealership another gave $100
printing drivers and motor carriers delivering relief to a friend who lost his job at a restaurant.
equipment supplies from Parts 390-399 of the One gave $200 to the Skyline Foundation in
from Chicago Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations Baltimore and went and served meals to the
homeless in Baltimore.”
to Florida, Donnie contracted COVID-19. • Authorizing state licensing agencies to
He died on April 19, at James A. Haley extend the expiration dates for Just as he’d asked his employees to
Veterans Hospital in Tampa at the age drivers with expiring CDLs or do, Bettencourt put his care into action by
of 53. medical certifications sending money to an orphanage in Kenya.
The local organization is called Kenya
Donnie, a US Navy veteran, spent more • Permitting the operation of inter- With Love, and was founded by a former
than two decades as an over the road modal equipment with expired annual employee who worked for Bettencourt for
driver for Ramar Moving Systems. inspection decals 14 years. The seed for the organization was
planted on a mission trip a decade ago and
“He looked at the company as family; • Distributing thousands of facemasks to has now grown into a network dedicated
we looked at him as family,” says Mark trucking companies and drivers across to promoting education and improving
Levine, VP of Operations for The Ramar the country opportunities for Kenyans in need.
Companies. Levine hired Donnie nearly 24
years ago and logged more miles with him BRAD’s FUEL FILTERING: Global A recent press release credits Bettencourt’s
than any other driver. Pandemic, Global Response donation with helping Vision Link School
and Orphanage whose “staff is temporarily
Donnie’s death is a reminder of the Brad Bettencourt, President and Owner out of work with no income. Nineteen staff
risks taken by truckers every day while of Brad’s Fuel Filtering based in Baltimore, and their families were provided with food
the coronavirus continues to spread across chose a global response to a pandemic that is and were grateful for the blessing.”
the country and world. Donnie’s life was impacting all corners of the world.
emblematic of many truckers. Levine Kindness and generosity can spread just
describes him lovingly as “hard-headed” In late March, when unemployment as quickly as the coronavirus.
and “determined.” numbers were beginning to rise sharply,
Bettencourt said he told his employees two CONTINUED 
“He always managed to figure out a things. The first was his commitment that
way to take care of [the job] and take care none of them would be laid off.
of the customer,” Levine says.
After reassuring them they would
It’s evident by the types of loads continue to be paid for
Donnie hauled that the customers 40 hours each week, the
and the company trusted him deeply. second thing he shared
In what became Donnie’s last trip, he was an expectation that
was transporting more than printing they help others.
equipment. One of his brothers had
recently passed away. His last request was “I gave each employee
that his ashes travel with Donnie across a $500 bonus with one
the U.S. condition,” Bettencourt
said. “They had to give
Donnie has even moved multi-million a portion of it to either a
dollar satellites to Cape Canaveral, Florida. stranger on someone they
One such journey took him through him knew who got laid off and
was hurting.”


Meals on the Bus Go ‘Round
and ‘Round

In March, days after the first COVID-19
death was reported in the state, Maryland
Governor Larry Hogan restricted mass transit
to essential personnel only. Ridership on trains,
planes and buses plummeted. If they were
fortunate, drivers were put on administrative
leave, allowing them to still get paid despite
the work stoppage.

“We had drivers that we had to find
work for,” says Bob Dinsmore, operations
manager for TransIT Services of Frederick
County and Chairman of MMTA’s Western
Maryland Chapter.

It didn’t take long for an opportunity to
present itself. The Frederick County Senior
Services Division’s Meals on Wheels program
put out a request for help. The county agency
typically uses volunteer drivers to deliver two
meals a day, Monday through Friday, to older
residents in the area. Though little was known
about the coronavirus at the time, evidence
indicated older people were at greater risk of
being infected. Putting the seniors in contact
with so many volunteers was too dangerous.
And the numbers of seniors requesting meals
significantly increased as shelter-in-place
orders went into effect. Meals on Wheels
asked for a small team of dedicated drivers to
take the place of 20 volunteers.

Dinsmore said six of his drivers answered
the call. Just as they would have with a
city bus or paratransit van, the drivers had
consistent routes. The transit service also
donated six minivans, one for each driver to
minimize potential exposure from changing
hands. Eric Coblentz, Charles Tasco, Karen
Stottlemyer, Dave Downs, Maria Queen and
Sam Mensah took over the routes normally
serviced by volunteers. Together, they spent 4-5
hours delivering 250 meals each day, from late
March until early July when regular transit
services reopened.

Every other Friday, drivers made additional
runs for groceries, pet food, and other
necessary supplies. Hunger wasn’t the only
problem the drivers were helping solve. Just


as nursing homes were forced to close their
doors to outside family members, isolation
also threatened to take a significant mental and
emotional toll on those seniors being served.
“The drivers really got to have a bond with
the people they were delivering to,” Dinsmore
said.“They would sometimes have to open up
things for people that couldn’t open up cans or
bottles. Help them prepare for their meal too.”

Even from behind protective masks, the
daily presence of the drivers made a difference
to so many seniors in Frederick County.


Maryland Transportation

• Converting its facilities to cashless tolling
• Completing the Bay Bridge Westbound

lane construction project early to
prevent delays
• Establishing a notification system for
backups on the Bay Bridge


Serving Our Customers Since 1928

8600 Frederick Road, Ellicott City, MD 21043
410-465-4455 / 800-425-4455

SALES: We build medium duty trucks to fit your needs • Authorized dealer for International Truck and Engine Corporation
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PARTS: Qualified parts sales personnel • Large parts stock inventory available
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Needs and Resources

In the early stages of the pandemic,
trucks sat idle at Baltimore-based Beltway
Companies, but not for long. Jack Saum,
dealer principal of the sales, service and
leasing company, said he and his leadership
team knew right away they didn’t want to
go the route of furloughs and layoffs.

“We really sat back after the first
couple weeks and said, ‘What can we
do different?’”

In response to that question, they
challenged themselves to find ways
to help their community. The search
for opportunities to be of service led
Beltway Companies to a newly organized
food pantry.

West Annapolis Pop Up Pantry (WAPP)
didn’t exist prior to the pandemic. It began
with two moms helping one family. Amy
Marshall and Diana Love got news that a
man who worked in their neighborhood
contracted COVID-19 and died. Marshall
and Love partnered with Center for Help
(Centro de Ayuda) and called out to their
network for donations to support the
man’s family.

As the coronavirus spread, so did
more needs, especially in the immigrant
community of Annapolis. Within days,
meals for one family became a house full
of donated goods for multiple families and
WAPP was born.

Saum got news of the pantry when Brian
Riddle, president of Homestead Gardens,
Inc. (also an MMTA member) texted him
in search of a refrigerated truck. Generous
donations from surrounding communities
were coming in so quickly Marshall and
Love had run out of storage.

The pop-up pantry focuses on serving
families who’ve lost their income due to the
coronavirus and don’t have access to federal
aid or stimulus checks. The need is high, and
the community’s response has matched it.

As the head of a company, Saum is aware
of what it takes to coordinate large numbers
of resources and people.

“It’s a machine,” Saum said, after visiting


CHESAPEAKE BEVERAGE: provided excess beer to the distillery. Over a
What’s Important
process that takes several days, the beer was
Outside the context of a brewery, distilling
is defined as “the process of extracting the distilled down to 190-proof alcohol. Other
essential meaning or most important aspects
of something.” The coronavirus pandemic, for ingredients, like hydrogen peroxide, were then
all the tragedy and difficulty it’s brought, has
also given many people and companies the added to complete the transformation from
opportunity to identify what’s important; it’s
been a distiller of sorts. beer to much needed cleaning agent.

For Chesapeake Beverage, the distributor With bottles of the newly created necessity
headquartered in Nottingham, Maryland, the
important thing was keeping first responders in hand, Chesapeake Beverage then kicked in
safe. Across the country supplies of hand
sanitizer disappeared in the span of a week. logistical support, using its trucks and drivers
Shelves once full of toilet paper, cleaning
supplies, and flour sat empty after a rush on to deliver the hand sanitizer to those on the
goods the general public believed necessary
for sheltering in place. front lines in the fight against the coronavirus.

In response, Chesapeake Beverage The donations didn’t stop with hand
partnered with Patapsco Distilling Co. with
the goal of replacing at least some of those sanitizer though. Next up was a pallet of
missing supplies. Hand sanitizer, it turns
out, is mostly alcohol. Chesapeake Beverage bottled water to Beans and Bread, a resource

program at St. Vincent DePaul in Baltimore

that supports more than 300 people each day

with housing, physical and mental health,

addiction recovery, and employment needs.

Hand sanitizing stations have become

a regular feature in businesses across the

country. With the pandemic showing few

signs of slowing down, this type of innovation

and collaboration will likely be important for

months to come.


the pantry. “It’s unbelievable. All volunteers.
When these families show up, they walk
away with a week’s worth of food.”

Hundreds of families have already
benefitted from the generous network that
spontaneously grew from goodwill. The
Beltway Companies refrigerated truck has
been parked outside the WAPP donation
site for weeks already with no end in sight.

Governor’s Office & Maryland |BEHIND THE WHEEL Q3 FALL 2020 25
Department of Transportation

• Providing a 15% weight tolerance for
trucks delivering relief supplies

• Defining trucking as an “essential
to allow for continuous operations

• Ensuring truck parking is available
with services at various rest stops
(food, bathrooms)

• Extending all expiring licenses and vehicle
registrations for at least 30 days after the
Governor’s Declaration of Emergency ends


FoodPRO: Generosity making this happen on very short notice!” kept everyone scrambling to keep up
and Gratitude Like many companies, FoodPRO with orders at times, but throughout the
difficulties the company looked for ways to
FoodPRO trucks are branded with the struggled to adjust to everchanging support the community.
words “Honesty. Transparency. Integrity.” demands caused by the pandemic. Some
Based on the company’s response to the of the company’s public-facing operations The trend of generosity continued
pandemic, you could add “Generosity,” were closed temporarily as new safety in June, as the company found a way to
and “Gratitude,” to the list. Despite the precautions were implemented. Shortages support both local restaurants and frontline
closure of so many dine-in locations, the of meat and challenges with technology workers, by giving away gift cards from 35
wholesale restaurant supplier found ways
to keep food moving to the communities it
serves in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia,
Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.

Pictures from March tell the story of
residents of Frederick, Maryland, lined up
(with great social distance gaps between
them) receiving boxes of free produce from
FoodPRO. The company partnered with
the Frederick Rescue Mission to make sure
boxes of carrots, green beans, mushrooms
and lettuce found their way into the hands
of those who needed them most.

“This was such a blessing to me and
my family,” is one of many expressions of
thanks the company received.

A letter from the Biglerville Fire Co. in
Pennsylvania tells a similar story from April.
“285 meals were handed out Easter Sunday
morning, 85 meals more than we thought
we could make! Thank you FoodPRO…for


the beta group can even be brought into RICE TIRE SINCE 1956 RICE TIRE HAS
Finally, you will need to address the “big YEARS IN MARYLAND & VIRGINIA.
brother” fears. One of the easiest ways to
do this is to explain to the driver the WWW.RICETIRE.COM
“exception reporting” model that many of
these systems use when it comes to track- FACEBOOK.COM/RICETIRE
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make sense out of the data, the system
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ing), and poor performance issues (e.g.
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etc.)t,rbaentstaecrtidoinstsroibnulitnine.g of the workload,


LOGISTICS: Finding a New Niche

Commercial Carpet Logistics (CCL) serves
a very specific market. From their terminals in
Stevensville, Maryland and Dalton, Georgia,
they deliver carpet and floor covering materials
in the mid-Atlantic region. As the coronavirus
spread from New York to other eastern
states, Executive Vice President Cassie Sealing
says business slowed significantly. Individual
customers, now afraid to invite installers into
their homes, stopped ordering carpets. Deemed
essential by the federal government, truckers at
CCL were among those allowed to keep driving,
but they found themselves short on loads.

Instead of going the route of layoffs and
furloughs, CCL chose to focus its efforts on
commercial dealers and food banks to keep its
drivers driving and to keep their industry active.
Sealing said,“We understand how important
our role is in the supply chain. There is no point
in a dealer keeping their doors open if they can’t
get the materials they need for their installs.”

Doing their part and staying in their
niche wasn’t enough for the folks at CCL.
They knew they wanted to do more to serve
the community during the pandemic, but
they didn’t know how until an email from
Maryland Motor Truck Association alerted





to the Port of Baltimore
On-dock rail
Robust real estate growth
Less than two miles to Interstate 95
Access to 2/3 of the U.S. population within 24 hours | 1.800.638.7519 |

Governor Larry Hogan MDOT Secretary Gregory Slater MDOT MPA Executive Director William P. Doyle

them to a company that needed trucks to
haul donated goods to food banks. Move For
Hunger, which connects food banks to donors
across the United States and Canada, needed
truck space to get 80 pallets of food to the
Share Food Program in Philadelphia. Instead
of paying drivers to haul carpet, CCL donated
three trucks and paid their drivers to deliver
food from the Kraft Heinz facility near their
Maryland terminal to Philadelphia.

Keeping their drivers productive, while giving
back to the community is just one example of
how CCL is weathering the pandemic.

“We text and call every single employee
each week and ask them the same questions:
how are you, what do you need, and what
are you hearing and seeing out on the
street? It’s incredible, the benefits of simple
communication. It works like an anti-anxiety
drug. They are able to have a safe platform
to address their fears and we are able to offer
them immediate solutions.”

Sealing says, whether they’re delivering
flooring or food, communication has been key
at CCL during these difficult months.

MOUNTAINTOP TRUCK DRIVING spreading’ the coronavirus, schools across find and purchase, or make their own masks.
INSTITUTE & SOUTHERN the country first extended Spring Break, then For a rural community college, like Garrett
OUTREACH CENTER: Preparing closed their doors. College, Beachy says every little bit helps.
for the Future
For many, instruction moved on-line, CONTINUED 
We will get through this. No one knows but truckers, and those training to be
when. No one knows how. A vaccine may be truckers, don’t live in a virtual world. Terry Maryland Port Administration
found, mass produced, and distributed (by Beachy, Assistant Director for Workforce • Modifying terminal access procedures
truckers). The virus may mutate itself out of Development, went on the lookout for
existence, or the world may develop ‘herd personal protective equipment (PPE) that to be touchless to help prevent
immunity.’ No one knows how, but we will was in short supply, and necessary for when virus spread
get through this. in-person training resumed. • Regularly sanitizing the terminals and
developing emergency response plans
With the future in mind, training sites A newsletter from Maryland Motor to include quarantining and
like the Mountaintop Truck Driving Institute Truck Association pointed Beachy towards disinfecting of any affected areas
are preparing the next generation of truck some needed supplies. She read about • Providing remote customer service
drivers. The driver training institute in a supply of masks from the Maryland functions for truckers to maintain
Grantsville, Maryland is part of the Northern Emergency Management Agency. proper social distancing
Outreach Center of Garrett College. • Supplying each terminal operator with
“I immediately contacted them, and they facemasks for all port workers
When scientists from the Centers for were able to supply us with 200 masks for • Providing thermal temperature
Disease Control and Prevention and the our students, staff and instructors,” Beachy scanners for screening of port
World Health Organization began warning said in an email. workers that interact with the
that every group of people, like those at trucking community
weddings, birthday parties, or classrooms full The masks helped the school with its
of students, were a potential source of ‘super plans to re-open in a limited capacity. Prior
to the donation, students were required to


REMEMBERING TO LAUGH: iron in his hand. He said he was testing the Maryland Emergency
Not Alone at Home boobytraps for robbers, because robbers are Management Agency
real. He placed the plugged-in hot iron on
Whether it’s through reposting funny the back-deck door, singeing the door in the • Coordinated weekly conference calls
memes on social media channels or telling process. He was recreating the scene from of stakeholders from various industries
jokes together while standing at least 6 Home Alone, one of his favorite movies!” and government agencies to address
feet apart and wearing masks, MMTA new challenges
members are remembering that laughter is Taylor’s house and son are both okay.
an important coping strategy during The grilling iron, however, found its way to
the pandemic. the dump.

In early March, by order of Gov. Larry
Hogan, Maryland announced it was closing
public K-12 schools in order to slow the
spread of the coronavirus. Some parents
suddenly found themselves in the role of full-
time childcare providers and some school
children suddenly had to find new ways of
entertaining themselves at home.

MMTA member and financial partner
Scott Taylor took a break from providing
retirement services and insurance strategies
to share this personal story as a reminder to
laugh when possible.

“The first week of no school my son
Sully almost burned the house down. I
meet him in the garage with a hot grilling


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the time he was 10 or 11, Miller was driving WHILE CROSSING BRIDGES, THE
farm tractors and trucks, backhoes, bulldozers TALL CONCRETE WALLS AND
and tractor trailers. The experiences taught JERSEY BARRIERS PREVENT
him to drive and to fix things. He met a cast
of truck drivers who worked, sometimes FOUR-WHEELERS FROM HAVING
quite temporarily, for the family business. At MARVELOUS VIEWS OF THE LAKES,
one time, Hugh told him to stay away from
trucking. That wasn’t going to happen. RIVERS, OR GORGES THEY’RE
“Non-trucking folks are always asking THE SHIFTING LANDSCAPE FROM
why we drive trucks if we complain about it
so much, and it’s a fair question, but I say, let THEIR THRONES.”
’em scratch their heads and wonder why,” he
wrote. “You can’t understand trucking until advised he needed to check his draft status. Instead, he accepted a job as an assistant
you do it – the views, the lifestyle, the rush. He walked down the hallway to the local terminal manager at Baltimore-based WMTS,
Vacationers and businesspeople see some of Selective Service office where he learned a beginning his full-time trucking career. He
the great U.S. and Canadian landscapes while letter was on its way to his mailbox drafting left there to work for another company
traveling, but only truck drivers get to enjoy him into the Army, so he returned to the in Louisiana, then returned to WMTS
the grandeur from high up in their cabs. While recruiter’s office and enlisted in the Navy in Pittsburgh before working for other
crossing bridges, the tall concrete walls and immediately. He was ordered to Vietnam, companies in Pennsylvania, North Carolina
Jersey barriers prevent four-wheelers from where he spent eight months in 1968-69. and Maryland.
having marvelous views of the lakes, rivers, or His unit was in hostile territory, but while
gorges they’re crossing. Truckers can watch he carried weapons, he never had to fire It was while working at WMTS that
the shifting landscape from their thrones.” them. He helped transform a 20-mile stretch he met Diana. The couple have two sons, a
of Highway 1 from a one-and-a-half-lane daughter, and two grandchildren.
Miller at first handwrote all his stories muddy path into a 40-foot-wide highway.
before transferring them to computer. His When he arrived, travel was slow. If his truck Miller’s time at the Office of Freight
wife, Diana, worked at Towson University, met another vehicle, someone had to slow Logistics ended in 2010. At that point, he
and for about six months he would ride to down. During his first six months in the retired and worked for a trucking company
work with her in the morning and then go country, he drove tractor-trailers 75 miles at for a year and a half, but it was a long
to the library and type. He had a laptop at least four days a week from the coastal city commute. He left trucking but not the road
home, but he preferred the school’s computer. of Da Nang to the base camp, Camp Haines. by becoming a part-time bus driver for
The road began at sea level on the coast and the Harford County schools. A resident of
A friend sent his manuscript to Apollo then rose into the mountain to what was Rising Sun, Maryland, he substitutes for
Publishers. One of its founders, Julia translated as “Ocean Cloud Pass.” There, he other drivers and drives young people on
Abramoff, contacted him and asked if they could see waves crashing into sheer cliffs and school trips. The job provides extra income,
could publish the book. He originally wrote rolling onto beaches, with Vietnamese flat- and he enjoys being around the young
it as if he were one trucker talking to another, bottomed boats and U.S. naval vessels sharing people and watching them compete in
but his publisher asked him to make it the same sea. He never tired of the view. sports and do their best.
more of a general interest book that would
be understandable to others. To fulfill that After his time in the Navy ended, Miller “I don’t like being bored,” he said. “I’ve
request, he took care to explain concepts like re-enrolled in East Carolina University and worked all my life and probably will until the
what a crankshaft is, why the fifth wheel must tried to complete his degree. When his money day I die.”
be greased, and what an owner-operator is. ran low, he would leave school temporarily
and drive trucks or operate heavy equipment. A Trucker’s Tale is available on Amazon,
After graduating high school, Miller He never finished school. Walmart, Target and most other online
attended East Carolina University for a year retailers in hardback, audio, and ebook
but was told by the college to take the next formats. It can also be accessed through the
semester off because he needed some time to Maryland public library system.
learn better study habits. While talking with
a Navy recruiter about joining the Seabees,
the U.S. Navy construction unit, he was


Allen & Son Moving & Storage Joe D. Transport Inc.
Andresen & Borovick, LLP Baltimore Freightliner ............................. 11
Avery Hall King's Services, LLC
Baltimore Potomac Truck Centers............. 13
Barlow Concrete Construction, Inc. Legacy Waters Environmental
Chesapeake Environmental Services Behind the Wheel....................................... 6
Eastern Lift Truck M. R. Hopkins Inc. BFGoodrich Michelin......... Inside back cover
F N Clark Trucking, LLC
HKA Enterprises Markus Industries, Inc. Brad’s Fuel Filtering.................................... 7

International Association of Movers McLeod Software Drydene / PPC Lube.................................... 8
ISF Trucking
Rodgers Brothers Custodial Duralene Heavy Duty Lubricants / The United
Services Oil Company............................................... 4

Touchstone Academy, LLC Great West Casualty Company .....Back cover

US Recycling Group, Inc. Griffith Energy Services.....Inside front cover

Woodbury Transport, LLC Kelly.......................................................... 10

|34 BEHIND THE WHEEL Q3 FALL 2020 MMTA 2021 Membership Directory
& Buyers’ Guide........................................ 32

Maryland Mobile Trailer Service............... 27

Maryland Ports......................................... 30

Maryland Pump & Tank............................ 21

Rice Tire.................................................... 12

Scott B. Taylor............................................ 34

Truckers Against Trafficking....................... 29

Truck Enterprises Hagerstown.................. 15

West End Service...................................... 23

This publication was made possible
with the support of these corporate
advertisers. They support the
trucking industry by enabling MMTA
to provide this publication to its
members, prospective members,
elected officials and the business
community at large.

They deserve your consideration
and patronage when making your
corporate purchasing decisions.
Please visit to see the
digital version of Behind the Wheel
with live links to advertisers’ websites.



Right now, fleets and drivers across North America are working harder
than ever to keep the economy running. And we couldn’t be more
grateful. There’ll be time to relax with friends and family soon enough.
Until then, thank you for driving and delivering—no matter what.


© 2020 MNA, Inc. All rights reserved.

800.228.8602 Knowledge is Power Not All Trucking Companies Are Alike

Trucking is all we do. When you choose Great West Casualty Company to insure
your trucking business, you are getting over 60 years of experience serving the
trucking industry.

Our agents work with you. We selectively choose agents with a keen focus on
the trucking industry. Our agents are knowledgeable, dependable, and responsive.
They understand your needs and work with you to match the right coverage and
level of service for your trucking operation.

Do one thing, and do it right. Our agents can guide you through the process
and customize a plan to provide you the broadest protection possible. You can be
confident knowing that our service begins, not ends, with the issuance of your policy.

Great West Casualty Company – No matter where the road takes you, you will
discover that at Great West, The Difference is Service®.

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