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Dayton man receives award to honor his decades-long trucking career

Vincent Cote has been driving professionally for 37 years. He received the 2022 Driver of the Year award from the Maine Motor Transport Association.

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — For almost four decades, Vincent Cote of Dayton has started his work day by getting behind the wheel of a large vehicle. He has been driving professionally for 37 years, spending 25 of those years at ADUSA Transportation, serving Hannaford stores in northern New England. 

"When I was a kid, I was always interested in trucks," Cote said about his early passion for the business. "My uncle owns some trucks, and I always kind of looked up to him."

In January, Cote received the 2022 Driver of the Year award from the Maine Motor Transport Association. He was one of 12 drivers who were selected every month statewide for their attention to safety and other positive qualities. In a press release, the Maine Professional Drivers Association said those drivers had spent a combined 285 years on the roads, with more than 19 million accident-free miles covered. 

"I was in shock. I’m honored. I never thought I would’ve gotten picked for Driver of the Year," Cote said.

He said he wants young people to know that a four-year college isn't for everyone, and you can make a good living in the trades. For Cote, he said his favorite part of the job includes driving different routes in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts and feeling a sense of independence. 

"You can be your own boss. You do the job. You get to point A to point B, deliver or pick up," Cote said. "Then after that, you’re on your own."

Those who know Cote said they're not surprised he won this award because of his uplifting attitude. 

"He’s a very happy-go-lucky driver. He never has a bad day. Our customers all love him," Dick Brown, lead driver for ADUSA Transportation, said, later adding, "He seems like he never has a bad day, and if he does, he doesn’t let us know about it."

Brown said there's a big need for quality drivers in the transportation industry. Brian Parke, the president and CEO of the MMTA, said in an emailed statement the problem has been in the making since 2005. He added that the number of truck drivers needed nationally "is around 80,000 drivers, which is expected to double in the next seven years because of freight volumes and retirements."

"If we don’t have drivers, you don’t get the stuff to the stores," Brown said about the significance of this issue, also noting, "Everything in the Hannaford store and everything in the Maine Mall is delivered by a truck."

The MPDA said Cote has driven more than two million miles with no accidents during his career so far. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports the average American will drive about 700,000 miles in their entire lifetime.

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