I am a 55-year-old OTR driver who, for the last 10 years, did windshield time 24/7. My girlfriend, who learned from me, has been with me the entire time. We became a team. We pull for a flatbed company out of Springfield, Mo. Like most companies, they can be fair as well as unreasonable. With only six months to go, our lease will be up and our dream truck (W-9L-Studio) is ours. This is our retirement, which brings me to write the next story.
In May of ’05, she dropped me off in Arizona at my home due to my health problems. One thing led to another, and now I’m in Long Beach Medical Center receiving radiation treatments for cancer. The Marines taught me that just about when you think times are tough, they get tougher! They were right. After fuel and truck payments come right off the top of our settlement, with little or no paycheck, she has still managed to keep going and still helps me as much as she can. One driver can only turn so many miles.
She could quit, but she won’t. She is dedicated. Dedicated to her job, her man and her responsibilities. She is independent, sometimes boneheaded and when she needs to be, mad dog mean. We get to see one another about once a month for 24 hours or so. We know she’s already gone before she gets here!
She always brings to me a copy of Truckers News. So driver, if you are reading this, listen up. Keep her between the lines, and drive safely because after they rid me of cancer, I’ll start looking for the W-9. When we hook up again, I’ll ask for your hand in marriage. You are a keeper, and you will always be Steelwoman to me! Ten roger?
Your Knight in Shining Armor,
Truckers Need Practical Training
I’m only 26 years old, and I know I still have a lot to learn, but I’ve been around the industry my whole life. My opinion is that in the last three years the industry has gone to crap. We’re giving licenses to anybody that has the money to go to a six-week school, and when they graduate, they’re considered professional drivers. My little boy knows more about trucks than these guys do.
I believe if you want to be a driver, you should start in the tire shop and work your way at least two years in the industry before you get behind the wheel. I believe this would deter a lot of idiots from the business. It will also make the ones that do make it through respect other drivers and the road more.
Joseph City, Ariz.
‘Super Truckers’ Are Idiots
I always hear other drivers complaining about four wheelers. It is not so much the four wheelers that are the problem. The real problem is truly those “super truckers.” They pass other trucks in construction zones where there is no room and things are tight. They shove others out of their lanes.
An example: I was going north on I-75 north of Ocala, Fla., when a truck with trailer decided he was in a hurry. I was in the middle lane. Super Trucker was in the right lane. A bunch of cars were along my left side. Super Trucker decided he couldn’t wait to get around an RV. So he whipped his tanker right at me. I laid down on the air horn. Super Trucker kept going. I had to hit the left lane, and a bunch of cars went in a ditch.
I turned him in to my company and told them to call his. I hope Super Trucker got fired. It is sad you have drivers like him. If it was up to me, these super truckers would lose their precious licenses. We don’t need them on the road. It is tough enough out here without these highway Rambos making it worse. The problem is not the cars. It is these nasty, inconsiderate super truckers. We all have a job to do. But let’s do it safely and stay alive out here.
We Have the Power
The way I see it, we are the very backbone of the American economy and to a certain degree the global economy. Sure, we get a little help from trains and planes, but it’s the truck driver who keeps this economy moving. We are capitalism, the very epitome of it, and without us the country would shut down. Think about that for a minute – what an awesome and important responsibility we have all undertaken. We are up there with doctors, law enforcement and educators as far as the impact we have on the American population.
But despite what we do, I still have seen owner-operators struggle to stay above water, even selling their trucks. I’ve seen drivers beg for showers, living on Ramen noodles, trying to live on 18 cents a mile. I could go on and on, but you have seen it too.
But our biggest adversary is Uncle Sam. They sit up there in Washington with nothing better to do than to come up with new rules and regulations for our industry that are not even close to being conducive to the realities of the trucking industry.
It’s not enough that we have to put up with greedy companies, adverse weather, difficult shippers and consignees, four-wheelers, etc., etc. Now we have to put up with Washington and its idiosyncratic agendas.
One driver has no power. Many drivers do. We as a collective unit have so much power to make changes, and yet we don’t use it. All I’m saying is that maybe it’s time we use that collective power. It’s time.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
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