‘Terrific Old-School Trucker’ is Almost 90 Years Old and Now He’s a Social Media Sensation
Bismarck, ND – An 88-year-old trucker has become a social media sensation during the 2021 Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) International Roadcheck.
This week, the North Dakota Highway Patrol (NDHP) took to social media to share a photo of David “Dave” Sheets, 88, of Loveland, CO.
NDHP stated its troopers frequently encounter professional drivers who are committed to safety, but Sheets stood out above the rest.
During this year’s annual 72-hour inspection blitz — which is focused on Hours of Service (HOS) and lighting violations — Sheets was lauded by highway patrol for his meticulously maintained tractor-trailer.
Sheets, an owner-operator who hauls for West Jordan, UT-based Savannah Transport, drives a maroon 2000 Peterbilt.
NDHP reported the truck was in “top condition.”
As of publishing, NDHP’s post about Sheets has racked up over 3,400 shares on Facebook.
On Thursday, Sheets told Transportation Nation Network (TNN) he was “surprised” by the reaction to the post.
The encounter with NDHP took place on Tuesday just after 2 p.m. at the Apple Creek Rest Area at mile marker 168, just off of Interstate 94, Sheets said.
“That [Trooper] in North Dakota couldn’t have been nicer,” Sheets stated, calling him a “very thorough and courteous individual.”
Sheets admitted he was taken aback when the NDHP trooper asked if he could take his photo and share his story online.
However, after thinking about it for a moment, Sheets decided he had “no objection” to it.
“It wasn’t going to be anything negative and I thought it would reflect good on the company and possibly the industry itself,” he told TNN.
At almost 90 (he will turn 89 in August), Sheets doesn’t have a computer, so he’s only heard about the fanfare the post generated from his family, which includes a son, daughter, several grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
“I really didn’t expect to get the response that they’ve told me about,” he acknowledged.
Sheets started as a driver in the industry in the 1950’s, but upon marrying his wife, Ardelle, he began a new career as a Volkswagen mechanic, as he “didn’t think [trucking] was the way to try to raise a family” since “it didn’t pay that good” at the time.
However, in 1974, he found his way back to the trucking industry, and has since hauled everything imaginable… but interestingly has never driven in Florida.
He doesn’t know exactly how many miles he’s logged in his career, but says it’s easily “millions.”
“I’ve been with some good companies and not-so-good companies,” Sheets recounted, but says he’s found a great home with Savannah for more than 20 years.
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These days, he doesn’t travel California or the east coast, but enjoys the over-the-road life.
“I run a pretty good size territory and am busy all the time,” he said.
Ardelle passed in 2016, days before their 64th wedding anniversary, so he said there’s “no need to be home” a lot.
In fact, he said he’ll continue to truck on as long as his health will allow.
“As long as I can pass medical and physical, I intend to keep doing it,” he said.
Terry Crawford, owner of Savannah Transport, told local outlet KVRR Sheets is a “terrific old-school truck driver,” who can “outdo” most younger drivers.
When asked what advice he would give to younger drivers, Sheets told TNN, “Listen to somebody older that knows what they’re doing, get plenty of experience, be careful and be respectful. Some of these new guys seem to lack that kind of stuff.”
He also reminded drivers, “Don’t get distracted! Make sure you’re doing it safe and not only looking out for yourself, but things around you to avoid getting into a bad situation.”
Take a look at the post from NDHP below.