Newport research shows that more than half of truckers own a computer, and most of those have access to the Internet. So it's not surprising that a lot of truckers also have their own web sites. These can range from simple pictures-of-my-truck-and-family home pages to elaborate sites that can take hours to explore.
On the web page for Newport's RoadStar magazine (www.roadstaronline.com), each week we name a "Web Site of the Week." While we do highlight some association sites, and the very rare commercial site, it is primarily devoted to pages designed by and for truck drivers and owner-operators.
I've gone through all 52 1999 Web Sites of the Week and picked the top five of the year. They are:
1. Diesel Jockey News.
If you're ready for a smart-aleck, irreverent satire of tabloid journalism -- with a trucking theme -- visit Diesel Jockey News. The magazine and web site are the creation of truck driver Paul Smith. Get ready for "Reports on trucking-related issues others are afraid to touch, hilarious industry spoofs, ad and political parodies, incredible stories you won't believe (or shouldn't)." You'll find stories with headlines such as, "Lot Lizards Form National Organized Labor Union," "Truckers Against Childproof Lighters To Scale Back Lobbying Efforts," "Trucker Marries Self, Sues the DOT." There are cartoons, a horoscope, a survey and more, all designed for laughs.
2. Keith Hamblin's The Trucker's Page.
Keith was an early entrant into the world of trucking on the Internet. Although he calls it a magazine and does sell ads, this is still really a trucker's home page - albeit more extensive than most. There's more stuff on this site than I could possibly mention in one review. Keith's essays range in topic from "PATT: Friend or Foe?" to "Modern Day Cowboy?" to "Keith for President." Then there's fellow driver Tommy Molnar, whose continuing adventures of Duke Slade were inspired by all the less-than-stellar examples of the trucking professional he's seen after 22+ years of making a living behind the wheel. Keith offers several other drivers an outlet for their creative talents, as well, including some articles by a trucker's wife.
3. Expedite Now. Truckers are resourceful when it comes to finding needed information. This expedited hauler was tired of the lack of information on the Internet for his field, so he started his own. Expedite Now offers departments such as "6 Wheels And You," "Express Horizons" (news about expediters and fleets), "Soapbox" (letters from readers). Features cover topics such as what size unit is the most profitable, the lifestyle of expediting and software picks.
4. Angel & Croc's Trucker Buddy Site. Paul "Crocodile" Stallibrass and Connie "Angel Eyes" Carter, team drivers for CFI, have a great web site that allows their Trucker Buddy class to keep up with their travels on the web. The site includes a note to the teacher, answers to frequently asked questions like "what is a jackknife," a page on their truck-driving dog Baby, a gallery of pictures sent in by their Trucker Buddy pals, a diary updated from the road, information and pictures of truck inspections and maintenance, and articles and photos of some of their more unusual loads. In addition to their class keeping up with them, the site has also attracted more students and teachers to the Trucker Buddy program. Classes who don't yet have a Trucker Buddy of their own can get a taste of the Trucker Buddy experience right away through Angel and Croc's site.
5. Where's Wilson? Trucker Merle Wilson is on the road for six, eight, 10 weeks at a time. You can keep up with his travels, trials and tribulations with "almost daily" updates from the road on his web site. In Merle's words, "Keep up with me while I go about my duties transporting the goods America depends on. There's also a "slide show," with photos of the scenery in the states Merle travels through - from a clear day in San Diego to a foggy one on New York's George Washington bridge. Other features include a humorous trucking quiz, a page on his Trucker Buddy class, Merle's opinions on various topics, and more.