Clash of the generations

Carolyn Magner and Misty Bell | July 01, 2010

Kathy: I know what I’m doing. I can change a tire, I can check the oil, I can do whatever needs to be done. Of course, it often comes down to this: I’ve been out here almost 24 years. I get tired of hearing “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

John: I would guess 50-70 percent of the young drivers don’t carry a toolbox. I am very mechanical but can’t say the same for the new drivers.

Lacey: I’m mechanical. I have learned that if you have a roll of duct tape, a paper clip, a bandana and a bra you can fix almost anything to get you to where you need to go to get help.

Generational stereotypes


Professional, safe drivers

Good navigators

Technologically inept

Solid work ethic

Mechanically oriented

Excellent skills

Clean cut

Pride in the ride

Conduct pretrip inspections

Use CB rather than cell phone

Terrible health habits

Want to hear it for yourself? You can listen to or download the entire roundtable conversation at


Meet the Roundtable Participants


Jayme Snow, 24, Snow Farm Trucking, owner-operator, 6 years.






Chad Blackwell, 31, Blackwell Cattle Service, owner-operator, driving for 13 years over the road.






Stephen “Trucker Steve” Adams, 31, May Trucking, driving for 13 years OTR






Chris Mayls, 35, driver for KLI, driving for 12 years OTR

Lacey, 47, driver for large company in Northeast, wishes to remain anonymous.

Kathy Young, 49, former owner-operator currently working for Freight Inc.

John Bryant, 56, owner-operating trucking since 1976, Oregon.





Generational opinions

A driver’s take on the generation that’s not his own

I think most of them are inexperienced. They don’t get enough training before they put them on the road. You can’t learn to drive a truck in four weeks. They just put them out there too young, and they don’t know what they’re doing.

— Charles French, 66, Dyersburg, Tenn., leased to Tennessee Steel Hauler

[Younger drivers have] no respect for the rules of the road. We’re not talking about DOT rules. We’re not talking about company rules. There’s an etiquette on the road. And they either don’t want to use them or they don’t, period. Maybe they haven’t learned them or maybe they haven’t talked to older drivers. In the old days, like when I first came into trucking, you gather around, you know, you go into a restaurant and you hear stories and you want to hear them. Now this new generation that’s in, 28 into their upper teens, they don’t want to hear these stories. [Gathering] is a lost art.

In the old days you’d see a truck on side of the road and eight trucks would pull up alongside of him. This guy would have tools, this guy would have knowledge, this guy would have coffee, and they’d get that guy on the road. The younger generation, they shift lanes and keep going.