Larry Farnsworth of Mustang, OK, is a 32-year veteran of the trucking industry and one of the first OOIDA members. He has driven more than four million accident-free miles.
"Except," he laughs, "for the time I was parked in a truckstop sound asleep and another truck tore off my front fender."
Hauling refined petroleum products (gasoline, diesel, jet fuel) is what Larry does for a living.
"I just haul to four or five states so I can be home more often to be a grandpa," he says. "I've put in my time, I think I'm getting too old for the long haul. I've been hauling since I worked with Jim Johnston out of his house way back when."
OOIDA President Johnston remembers Larry as a hardworking advocate of truckers' rights. "He was one of our first OOIDA members," Jim recalls. "We handled a collection for him and then lost track of him for a few years. It's quite an accomplishment to have a safety record like Larry's. OOIDA is proud to claim him as a member."
Larry says he became a trucker because his dad was a company driver. "I kind of fell into it naturally," he says. "I got out of the Marines in 1955 and by 1958 I was an owner-operator driving a new G53 Mack. Over the years I hauled for a number of van lines, then went to hauling explosives. I even hauled radioactive waste from the famous Three Mile Island."
Larry then went to hauling petroleum products. Now he hauls for United Petroleum Transports, Inc./Oklahoma Tanklines out of Oklahoma City, OK. (This company nominated him for the 1999 Oklahoma Driver of the Year.)
"I hired him 10 years ago and I wish I had a fleet of Larry Farnsworths," says Bill Price, vice president of safety for UPT. "Larry takes pride in his profession. He is always helping out, he has served on the company's accident review board and takes new drivers under his wing."
Over the years, Larry has received a number of company and state awards for his exemplary driving record. In 1993 he received UPT's Driver of the Month award for June and in 1997 he was named their Driver of the Year. In 1995 he garnered his state association's Million Mile award, in 1997 and 1998 its Professional Driver award.
Although Farnsworth is proud of his record, he admits it pales beside the award he was given in February. He was named the 1999 "Driver of the Year" by his state association and the Oklahoma Safety Management Council. Gov. Frank Keating presented Larry with the award and spoke with appreciation of the way the trucking industry addresses safety. Larry's wife Eva and their three children were on hand when Larry accepted the award.
In addition, Larry has been nominated by his state's association for National Driver of the Year. In October, he will be in competition with more than 40 other drivers for the national title.