As many of you know, Mr. Elwin Hines, Sr. is the winner of Lytx’s Driver of the Year for 2016 in the For-Hire Trucking category. He earned this award because of his innovative thinking, excellent safety record, and genuine dedication to the trucking industry.
Truck driving was not Mr. Hines’s first career choice, but it is certainly his favorite. He earned his CDL at 50-years-old and joined TransAm Trucking as a regional driver shortly afterward. When asked, Mr. Hines will tell you he is a family man and TransAm is an extension of that family. This is why he takes safety so seriously. He wants to make sure everyone in the family (and outside of it) makes it home safely.
Safety First: “Am I going home today?”
In October 2016, Mr. Hines reached his Million Mile mark with TransAm Trucking. This is an impressive feat in itself, but Mr. Hines goes above and beyond. With over a million miles over-the-road under his belt, Mr. Hines’s record with TransAm is virtually spotless: 0 preventable accidents, 0 claims charged against him, and 0 moving violations. In 2016, Mr. Hines also achieved TransAm’s DriveCam Top Performer status every week. This achievement means he not only paid attention to his surroundings on the road but he also obeyed every posted speed limit and traffic rule. Mr. Hines drove over 110,000 miles for 2016 and he did it safely. Most of us outside the commercial trucking sector cannot say the same.
For Mr. Hines, being a truck driver means thinking about safety a great deal. Every morning he wakes up and asks himself one simple question, “Am I going home today?” The average motoring public does not realize a commercial motor vehicle can weigh up to 80,000lbs. Trucks move slower and leave larger following gaps because that much weight takes a long time to stop. When a passenger vehicle is careless and abruptly shrinks the space cushion in front of a truck, often times the truck driver has to make a decision. As Mr. Hines puts it, “Will it be their family or mine? Do I continue driving straight, trying to stop my truck, and possibly hit that car in front of me? Or do I drive onto the shoulder of the road and possibly injure myself or my vehicle?” It is a no-win situation and one every driver fears. This is why Mr. Hines is a big advocate for always having multiple plans of action when behind the wheel, in case something goes wrong. Obey the rules of the road and remember that people make mistakes. Truck driving is a dangerous job. A driver’s biggest fear is careless driving and the possibility of hurting someone else.
Education is Key to Safety
Truck driving is a noble profession and Mr. Hines wants to make sure new drivers know it. “We need to make sure the new generations of drivers know the rules of the road and the importance of following those rules. “ Mr. Hines received his trucking start at Tidewater Community College, which is something he never forgets. He often goes back to talk to new students. He is known for giving out his personal number to new graduates so they can ask him trucking questions when they are over-the-road themselves. Several times, Tidewater offered Mr. Hines a position on their faculty due to his dedication to the students within the driving program. However, Mr. Hines always turns them down. He prefers being in the truck himself. Nevertheless, he enjoys giving advice and tips to new drivers. He wants to see everyone succeed. “Education needs to continue every day so we can all succeed.”
Trucking is Family
Whether you are new to trucking with TransAm or you have been around a while, to Mr. Hines you are family. Trucking is a community. He believes everyone, from the truckers to the dispatchers, are important because everyone works together to ensure the loads deliver on time; no one piece of the puzzle is more important than another. We all help each other to get the job done.