HIGH POINT, N.C., March 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Drive from Los Angeles to New York City 37 times per year for the next 50 years, and you'll cover 5,200,000 miles, or the same mileage that many over-the-road drivers accumulate in that same half century. Up the ante, and drive those five+ million miles -- accident free -- in an 80,000-pound 18-wheeler with a load that aches to shift. Now, there's a cause to celebrate the safe driving habits of a career truck driver. Not much has happened in Cornell Brenson's life; no accidents in the last 47 years of his 51-year truck driving career. He was just a husband and father, making a living so that his boys could grow up in a decent community and get a good college education. But because nothing happened is precisely why the North Carolina Trucking Association recently honored Mr. Brenson with a safe driver award and named him "North Carolina State Truck Driver" for the year 2000. Now, he is one of many Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc. (Nasdaq-NM: ODFL) safe drivers who over the past 20 years have received an annual safe driving bonus. "NCTA is extremely proud of Mr. Brenson's exemplary career. He sets a high standard that other truck drivers should try to emulate," said Charlie Diehl, president, North Carolina Trucking Association. "The NCTA Safety Management Council's primary goal is to promote and enhance highway safety." NCTA members meet regularly to exchange safety ideas. The organization sponsors the North Carolina Road Team and its group of safety-oriented truck driver speakers and conducts the annual NC truck driving championships. One segment of NCTA's full safety program is to select and honor the best truck drivers. In a recent interview, Mr. Brenson shared his secret to accident-free driving. "Patience," he said. "You've got to have patience, plenty of sleep and enough rest before starting your work day. This allows your mind to be clean and sharp." Brenson said his calm temperament is what keeps him out of accidents. Brenson experienced first-hand those drivers who are not well rested. He avoided running his truck into a woman who stopped her car in the middle of the Interstate after she drove passed an exit. Then there was the man driving a van filled with family members who swerved across the road. Brenson recognized the signs of fatigue and honked until the driver pulled over to the side of the road. Then Brenson pulled in behind the van to make sure the driver wasn't experiencing medical difficulties. "Mr. Brenson is a distinguished gentleman and a role model for other professional drivers," said Christopher Hartley, N.C. state director, Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration. "We're fortunate to have drivers like him in North Carolina working to keep the roads a safe place for all motor vehicles. Mr. Brenson's uneventful driving record has kept other drivers -- who share the road with him -- alive." Brian Stoddard, VP Safety & Personnel at Old Dominion Freight Line, said Brenson is one of hundreds of drivers attending the company's monthly safety meetings. During the last 11 years, Old Dominion Freight Line has improved its accident frequency ratio from a high of 12.45 accidents per million miles in 1989, to a low of 7.23 accidents per million miles in 1999. Old Dominion has paid out $3.7 million dollars in safe driving bonuses to its drivers since 1987, with a record year payout of $557,328 for year ending 2000. Brenson's wife, Corelus, a retired nurse, hopes he will retire soon and take her on a trip to Hawaii. But Brenson isn't sure how they'll get there in an 18-wheeler. Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc. is a Super-Regional carrier, providing inter-regional and regional less-than-truckload shipping of general commodities, such as consumer goods, textiles and capital goods to a diversified customer base. The company provides direct service to 37 states & the District of Columbia in the Southeast, South Central, Northeast, Midwest and Pacific Mountain regions of the country.
SOURCE Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc.