Sam Maier attributes three million accident-free miles to “a whole lot of luck.”
His supervisor disagrees.
“It’s attention to detail and having a heightened sense of awareness,” said Pat McDonald, manager of the Holland Freight terminal in Tomah. “He keeps the public safe by leading by example.”
Maier was recognized for 27 years of accident-free driving with Holland during a ceremony at Holland’s Tomah terminal Monday. He was presented with a plaque and a ring, had a cake baked in his honor and was given a Tomah Police Department escort out of town en route to Minneapolis.
In addition to luck, Maier attributes safety advances in vehicle and highway design and his own commitment to paying attention to the road.
“It’s just like anything else − know what’s going on around you,” he said.
Maier, who lives in La Crosse with his wife, Kendra, began his trucking career in 1976 driving for Erickson Bakery in La Crosse. He then hauled products for La Crosse’s G. Heileman Brewery Co. to its Chicago warehouse before being hired by Holland in 1990. His linehaul route (terminal to terminal rather than directly to customers) for Holland takes him from Tomah to Minneapolis and Rockford, Illinois.
Maier is one of just 28 Holland drivers nationwide to hit the three million mark.
“He’s in elite company with that many years and that many miles,” McDonald said.
According to a Holland press release, it would take an average American driver 220 years to log three million miles, during which time the driver would be involved in 13 accidents.
“Professionals like (Maier) not only help to make Holland great, they also help make our highways safer for everyone,” said Holland president Scott Ware. “We are extremely proud of Sam’s achievement and thankful for his continued commitment to safety.”
Maier, who also received awards after reaching the one and two million milestones, credits advances in vehicle technology for making roads safer.
“Trucks just keep getting better and better,” Maier said. “It’s just like cars; they keep upgrading them.”
He plans to keep trucking, at least in the short term.
“I’m going to try for a couple of more years,” he said.