New Penn is proud to announce that seven of our professional drivers have reached an elite safety milestone of driving two million miles without a preventable collision.
Donnie Wagner (Reading, PA)
Richard Gavin (Camp Hill, PA)
Michael Petack (Reading, PA)
Thomas Gallagher (Scranton, PA)
Robert Scott (Cinnaminson, NJ)
Paul Horst (Reading, PA)
Greg Hawksley (Southington, CT)
“We are extremely proud of these drivers and their accomplishment. They are invaluable to our company’s success,” said Don Foust, president of New Penn. “While safety is its own reward, safe drivers also allow New Penn to maintain the highest levels of service excellence for our customers. With drivers like these at the helm, our customers can rest assured that their cargo will arrive on-time and damage-free, and we can all be assured the highways are safer.”
Did you know that two million miles is the equivalent of traveling to the moon and back four times? It’s also the same as circumnavigating the Earth at its equator 84 times. The average driver would need about 150 years to drive that many miles. Not only have these seven New Penn professional drivers surpassed that mark but they have done it without a single preventable collision.
Read about our safety champs and find out their safety secrets on how to reach two million miles without a single preventable collision:
Donnie Wagner has been driving with New Penn for 29 years and currently operates as a linehaul driver out of our Reading, PA terminal.
“Staying safe behind the wheel is all about being prepared,” said Donnie. “You have to prepare your body and mind by getting plenty of rest. You also have to prepare your vehicle by making sure it is in complete working order. Once you’re on the highway, you need to be prepared for whatever comes your way. That means making sure you leave yourself enough space to stop and maneuver out of bad situations and staying alert so you can have time to react if something goes wrong.”
Richard operates out of our Camp Hill, PA terminal and has been driving professionally for over 40 years. He has spent the last 21 years with New Penn and drives five days a week covering the extra boards. These jobs take him everywhere in our network. He averages over 2,500 miles per week. Truck driving runs in the Gavin family. His father was a professional driver, and Richard’s love for trucks developed at an early age while accompanying his father over the road.
“Safe driving is all about awareness,” said Richard. “You must always pay close attention to what’s going on around you and what’s coming up ahead. You need to not only be aware of what other drivers are doing but of what they are about to do. Try to see things ahead of time and be extra careful around dangerous spots such as intersections and on-ramps.”
Michael has been driving professionally for 26 years and has spent the past 22 years with New Penn at our Reading, PA terminal. He drives 5 nights per week, serving much of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. On an average week he logs somewhere between 2,500 and 2,750 miles. Trucking runs in the Petack family’s blood. Michael’s father was a professional truck driver who enjoyed a long and successful career. His father retired two years ago at the age of 82. Michael has fond memories of riding alongside him on his routes as a child. His brother is also a professional truck driver.
“You have to focus on all the other drivers around you to really stay safe out there,” said Michael. “After all of these years driving I am able to pretty much predict what another driver is going to do before a driver does it. Another safety key is to slow down and leave plenty of room. This way you give yourself time and space to react if someone does something unexpected.”
Tom has been driving professionally for 31 years and has been with New Penn for 29 of those years. He currently operates out of our Scranton, PA terminal and serves as a city (pickup and delivery) driver for the Binghamton, NY area. He works an average of 12 hours per day, Monday through Friday, and covers between 850 and 1,000 miles per week. Truck driving also runs in his family. Both Tom’s father and uncle were professional truck drivers for over 30 years with his uncle achieving the safety milestone of two million consecutive miles driven without a single preventable collision during his trucking career.
“Safe driving is about paying attention and taking your time. Sitting high up in my truck, I see a lot while traveling the road–people reading, doing their makeup, shaving and using their phones–all while driving a car. When you are behind the wheel, you should be doing one thing and one thing only–driving,” Gallagher said. “It’s also important to slow down. If you are going to miss your exit, just get off at the next exit and try again. Bad things happen when people get impatient and take risks. Being a little bit late is always better than getting into a collision.”
Bob has been driving professionally for 32 years and has spent the past 29 of those years with New Penn. He currently operates out of our Cinnaminson, NJ terminal where he serves as a linehaul driver delivering throughout the Northeast. He drives five-to-six nights a week and averages about 450 miles a night. While proud of his two-million-mile accomplishment, Bob is already well on his way to reaching the three-million-mile mark and looks forward to potentially being the first driver at New Penn to reach that milestone.
“When it comes to safe driving, your #1 priority is to have a lot of patience,” Bob said. “It’s also important that you have proper rest. You must constantly be aware of your surroundings when you’re driving. You can’t do your job properly when you’re not rested. Make sure to always leave yourself a way out of a tough situation so in the event of a problem, you have room to react and move.”
Paul’s passion for trucks began at an early age and developed as he grew up riding alongside his father who also drove professionally. His own driving career started in 1969, at the age of 16, delivering apples from his family’s orchard in Lebanon, PA. Paul started at New Penn 23 years ago and currently operates as a linehaul driver out of our Reading, PA terminal. He drives five nights a week and covers a variety of routes throughout the East Coast and New England. In addition to his trucking career, Paul still runs the family farm and market in Lebanon, PA. He is also a licensed pilot (since 1989) and says his experience in the cockpit helps him on the road–and vice versa.
“To stay safe you have to not only drive your own vehicle but you have to drive for everybody else,” said Paul. “You have to be aware of what everyone else is doing, and anticipate what is going to happen before it happens. For example, if someone is approaching an on-ramp up ahead, you need to notice that and make sure you give them space to merge.”
Greg began his career as a professional driver with New Penn over 33 years ago. He has spent the entirety of his career operating as an linehaul driver out of the New Penn Southington, CT terminal. Greg averages approximately 500 miles per night and drives 5 nights per week servicing a variety of routes throughout the region.
“Always remain aware and alert to stay safe on the road,” said Greg. “Never let down your guard and think ‘it can’t happen to me.’ Constantly pay attention to your surroundings. Don’t take it for granted that other drivers see you. One thing that has helped me reach this safety record is that I have been able to learn from my mistakes as well as the mistakes of others.”
Each of these safety superstars were celebrated with a commemorative awards dinner and provided with a personalized two million miler jacket and plaque from New Penn.
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