Armed driver pilots reinforced truck with secured loads

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Idella HansenIdella Hansen

Some drivers may consider delivering secured freight to be an intimidating niche within trucking, considering the required firearms certification and reinforced truck. For Idella Hansen, it’s just another day on the job.

Hansen, of Camden, Arkansas, hauls secured freight for IBI Secured Transport. She’s worked for them for three and a half years, but started her trucking career at 18 years old in 1968 driving a bulk tanker.

When Hansen started delivering secured freight, however, it was like she was a new driver again. She said it’s apples and oranges compared to the kind of freight she’s hauled before. Hansen was required to go through the same firearms certifications that law enforcement officers are and she is required to always carry a pistol. Her truck is reinforced with bullet resistant windows. She also never has to sit and wait for her loads. 

“One thing that’s different about this than any of the other jobs I’ve had is I get paid for everything I do. I get paid by the mile. I get paid by the stop. I get paid for sitting. I get paid yard pay. I get extra pay for picking up back hauls. I get paid for spending weekends. I get paid for everything I do,” Hansen said.

When it comes to the stress level of the job, though, she says she thinks it’s on par with other types of trucking.

“Once I load that stuff in the back there, it’s just like anything else. I’m more watchful, I’ve learned a lot. At 64 they took me and started training me like I was a new driver,” Hansen said. “Things that I’d never noticed before I do pay attention to now, but it’s just like hauling anything else. It’s a load. It doesn’t bother me. There are some people that they’re just too nervous, they think everybody’s looking at them. I do what I have to do and I don’t pay attention to it.”

Hansen drives team with her partner of 22 years, John Smith. On average they run about 3,500 miles a week. 

When she has down time, Hansen makes quilts for charity. She and one of her four daughters partner to create the quilts. Her daughter will assemble it and put on the binding, then Hansen will take it on the road with her and hand stitch the binding. They donate their work to several different charities, including baby blankets that Hansen donates to a truckers’ Christmas group.

Despite her long career in the industry, Hansen says she doesn’t have plans to leave the truck any time soon.

“I will retire right here when I can’t do anymore, when they make me quit. They’re going to have to make me quit,” Hansen said.

Hansen was recently recognized for her service to the industry with the Trucking Trailblazer’s Award from the Real Women in Trucking Association. The award recognizes individuals that “have served the trucking industry with distinction, dedication and professionalism.”

“This job demands respect and you get respect. When you do your job right, you get what you deserve,” Hansen said.