Another year has come and gone and as always, it was an eventful one. It’s always fun to look back at the top stories of the past year, as measured by Web traffic using Google Analytics. For the second year in a row, in my Hooked Up newsletter, I presented the most well-read Headline News stories, blog entries as well as the most watched videos of the past year. Some are surprises, others, not so much.
As you’ll see below, the biggest story of the year, as judged by our Web site visitors, was Walmart’s 60.5-ft trailer. No surprise there. Everyone has an opinion on whether 60-ft. trailers are safe and practical. Without any further ado, here’s the list. And if you aren’t receiving my Hooked Up newsletter, you can sign up here. I’ll be giving away another set of Goodyear tires in the next few weeks, so pay attention! The Top 10 Headline News Stories of 2012:
1. Heavy rescue tow truck drivers go through ‘hell’ on new TV series: I said some of these were difficult to explain. This hardly qualifies as the industry’s biggest news story of 2012, however I can understand why it did such huge numbers. This show obviously developed a solid fan base that transcended the trucking industry and when they turned to Google to learn more about the show, well, into our world they wandered. Or, maybe we just need to use the word ‘hell’ in more headlines.
2. ATA praises newly passed highway bill: It’s an American story, but a significant one. The new highway bill passed this year was labeled as ‘historic’ and its effects will be felt on both sides of the border.
3. OPINION: How Walmart’s ‘supercube’ trailer fails the environment: Here we have our number one news story of 2012, when you take into account that four of the top 10 stories are related to Walmart’s controversial ‘supercube’ configuration, which included a 60.5-ft. trailer. My piece questioning the decision to install an EPA02 engine into what was being billed as an environmental saviour was the most well-read of them all.
4. ONLINE SPECIAL: Loblaws running ‘Triple-53’ in Saskatchewan: No surprise here. Big interest in big trucks and you won’t find any bigger than this one.
5. Walmart Canada unveils first-of-its-kind supercube trailer: Our first story on Walmart’s 60.5-ft. trailer. Before we started to dig up the dirt, including the use of an old-generation engine and the questionable permitting processes that were initially employed by the MTO, which would seemingly see Walmart control the permits.
6. Sixty feet of controversy: Yep, more Walmart. This time with questions about the permitting.
7. Six of top 20 ‘Best Fleets to Drive For’ based in Canada: Mildly surprised by this one. Its presence here within the top 10 shows just how much interest this competition has generated. Kudos to Mark Murrell, Jane Jazrawy and crew for inventing this contest. It has provided us with a lot of fodder and has brought some well-deserved recognition to the carriers that employ the best and most creative driver-oriented programs in the business.
8. UPDATED: Justice of the peace tosses speed limiter ticket; OTA unfazed: Remember when someone beat their speed limiter ticket and suddenly everyone thought the law would be stricken from the books?
9. Walmart’s supercube gets warmer reception after permit conditions revised: Make it four for Walmart.
10. Gravel haulers interrupt truck inspections in Milton, North Bay: A regional story but one that evidently created a lot of interest, even though the issue was short-lived. Top 5 Blog Entries of 2012:
1. Holy Schmitt! Purolator CEO sacked by board after shareholders meeting: I think this one did such strong numbers because everyone within the upper ranks of Purolator likely read, and re-read it while considering what to do with our intrepid blogger Harry Rudolfs, who also happens to drive for Purolator. In all seriousness, it was quite the scoop. Harry wrote this before the mainstream media got hold of it. Days later, the story surfaced in the Globe & Mail, National Post and others. And Harry got to keep his job.
2. The real case on speed limiters: Write about speed limiters and you’re going to get traffic.
3. A driver’s perspective on the state of trucking: Dan Goodwill steps outside his comfort zone and sees things from the professional driver’s perspective.
4. Why OOIDA is actually hurting its members: Think some of this traffic came from Grain Valley, Missouri?
5. What the Heck happened to Smith Transport?: When he’s not stirring the pot, Harry’s blogging about Canadian trucking history, something he does better than anyone. Top 5 Videos of 2012:
1. Big Man, Little Trucks: Fun video on a model truck enthusiast. Surely his mother couldn’t have watched it this many times?
2. Cool Solution: I’m pretty sure this made the list last year as well. Whenever the snow begins to fly, there’s a renewed interest in this topic: how to clear snow from trailer tops.
3. MSD Injury Prevention, Part 1: A look at how to prevent MSD-type injuries. This is an issue that doesn’t get near the attention it deserves. Part 2 of the series fell just outside the top five. They’re both worth watching, even though I’m in them.
4. Truck World Highlights: If you couldn’t be there, watching our video coverage was the next best thing.
5. Preventing Trailer-Top Falls: Another safety-oriented video about a contraption Sousa Truck Trailer developed to protect its workers from injuries.
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies