Donner Pass pushers

Trucker News Roundup: Donner Pass 'pushers,' CSA 'rumor'

In this week’s truck driver news roundup, we learn about the Donner Pass ‘pushers,’ about an ugly—but somewhat true—rumor regarding truck accident blame, and about fundraising campaigns set up for a couple of truckers recently killed in highway accidents.

The little tractor that could: Pushing up and over and back down California’s Donner Summit on I-80 in winter will get the attention of even veteran drivers. But, as the Sacramento Bee reports, the state trucking association and highway department have gotten together to outfit and operate “quiet mountain heroes."

“The muscular little rubber-nosed vehicles patrol the mountain during storms, slipping in behind stalled rigs and nudging the commercial trucks forward until the bigger trucks’ wheels can gain enough traction to continue on their own,” the story says.

A wise investment: Commercial vehicles carry some $5 million worth of goods to market every hour over the summit, state officials estimate.

‘Grain of truth’: The Hutchinson (KS) News takes questions from readers and provides answers, and the newspaper’s staff dismissed this one as “just a rumor—a conspiracy theory.”

I’ve heard that when a semi-tractor is involved in accident they are always at fault. And that this law was passed by Obama. Is this true?

Then the staff looked into it, and while they discovered the “always at fault” part isn’t true, they also got a lesson about the vagaries of FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability program, and the way it scores truck accidents, regardless who’s at fault—much to detriment of the safety records of truck drivers whose records are marred by crashes they couldn’t have done anything about.


The Parkersburg (WV) News and Sentinel tells the story of truck driver Scott Banks of Mansfield, OH, who had stopped to check on a couple who had hit some ice and slid off the I-77. They were fine, but Banks stayed on the scene, waving his flashlight to alert other drivers.

Tragically, another vehicle ended up sliding on the same ice, striking and killing Banks. The couple from the first vehicle have set up a GoFundMe account for Banks’s family, currently at $1,500 of the $5,000 goal.

Truckers helping truckers: A fundraiser has also been established for a Baltimore fuel truck driver killed on I-95 recently. This account was set up by Mike Lavelle, a Chicago fuel truck driver who never met the victim.

“You just never know when your time has come,” says Lavelle, who’s been driving for almost 20 years.

He tells Baltimore station WJZ that he had seen the video of the tanker hitting a wall on I-95 and go over the edge.

“I watched it once, and I just couldn’t watch it again,” says Lavelle.

That GoFundMe effort has raised $15,000 of the $20,000 goal so far. See the Skype interview with Lavelle below:

TAGS: News Safety
Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.