A Better Road
In October 1996, Jim Coulter decided it was time for a career change. The then-37-year-old factory worker was looking for something different — something, he says, that would “make a better living for my family. I’d been working at a factory all my life, and [trucking] just sounded like a better road.”
Fourteen years later, the flatbed hauler has recorded more than 1.3 million accident-free miles and no moving violations. Safety, he says, is about “looking at the big picture.
“You can never let your guard down. You always have to be looking. Safety has to be on your mind at all times. You want to do your job and get home like everybody else, but you want to keep everybody else safe in the process.”
Coulter hauls steel for D.M. Bowman in the Northeast and Midwest. The Berlin, Pa., resident says he gives “no less than 110 percent at all times,” something Bowman Safety Manager Christine Lape attributes to Coulter’s passion for the trade.
“He loves what he’s doing,” she says. “I don’t think he would do anything else. Some people aren’t cut out for this job — Jim just is. He is aware of other road users and respectful. He knows how to get his job done and how to do it safely.”
Coulter says he still has some work to do before he leaves the road. Trucking, he says, is “the career I chose, and I’m sticking with it.
“I’ll just try to keep adding up the miles. I’m only 51, I’ve still got another 15 years — at least until retirement, anyways.”
Q & A
Q: What is one thing you always carry with you in your truck while on the road?
A: I’ve always got a cooler with my food in it, but I keep everything in my truck. I live out of it, so, not really one specific thing, but I’ve got to keep everything I need for work for any situation.
Q: What advice would you give younger drivers?
A: Try to learn something new every day. Keep your eyes open, because it’s a busy highway out there. The day you figure you know it all, that’s the day you’re going to have a problem. You’ve got to be open-minded.
Q: What is your most memorable moment in your years of trucking?
A: It’s all been a memorable experience. Some days more than others, but just the fact that each day is different is one of the most memorable parts. I get to do something different every day, and that’s part of why I like it so much.
Company Driver of the Year
Truckers News will select a 2010 Company Driver of the Year, to be announced in early 2011, from its current Driver of the Month profiles. The winner of the contest will receive prizes from trucking industry vendors.