March 9, 2016 8:30 AM, EST
Montana Truck Driver Honored for 3 Million Safe Miles

Bob Pratt’s latest feat was the equivalent of traveling 125 times around the Earth at the equator without a single wreck.

Pratt, a 72-year-old truck driver, was honored March 7 by his employer, Agricultural Express, for driving 3 million miles for the Billings, Montana, company without a crash worth reporting.

It’s a feather in the cap for Pratt, who has spent 22 years with Agricultural Express and started driving big rigs at age 18 in his native upstate New York.

“It’s nice. It shows you get recognition for all those miles,” Pratt said during a brief presentation in front of his Peterbilt truck.

Officials at Agricultural Express presented a plaque and truck insignia to Pratt, also known as “Biker Bob” for his work with Road Dogs IRO delivering toys for tots during the holidays.

The 3 million-mile mark, about six trips to the moon and back, is a benchmark for the industry, improves the image for truckers and cuts down on insurance costs for the company, officials said.

“Drivers like this, in the trucks, take defensive driving to a whole new level,” said Kathy Larson, director of human resources and safety for Agricultural Express.

The company delivers groceries, produce, refrigerated goods and other products nationwide, owner Carl Baltrusch said. Pratt is one of 70 drivers for the company, which launched 37 years ago in Great Falls.

Pratt has driven in all 48 lower continental states and four Canadian provinces. His favorites are Nevada, Arizona and Utah because of the open roads and high speed limits.

Pratt has had a few close calls during his run.

About six years ago during a trip on sleet-covered roads in Idaho, a driver in front of Pratt skidded out of control and stopped in the middle of the road. In five seconds, Pratt had to make a quick decision.

“It was either lay the truck over the ditch, or tap her bumper. So I tapped her bumper,” Pratt said, adding that no one was injured or cited.

So what is Pratt’s secret to safety? Keeping his eyes on the road and paying attention.

“Keeping focused, watch the other guy. I ride a motorcycle, and I’m still alive,” he quipped.