Meet a CDL Driver

Faces of Trucking: Rebecca - A Fantastic Trucker Life

There are over 3.5 million truckers in America, and 3.5 million great trucking stories. This one is about Rebecca, check it out!

Rebecca started her trucking career because of a dare.

“My ex told me I couldn’t do it. He was a driver; I was really young. It was something he told me often, that I could never be a truck driver. I turned 21, got my Class A, and have been doing it since.”

Thirty years later, Rebecca still loves driving. It doesn’t matter if she’s over the road, or vacationing with her wife, being behind the wheel is where she feels she belongs. Rebecca doesn’t make those long-haul trips anymore; she’s settled down a bit and is now driving medical supplies for Kaiser Permanente as a Penske Logistics employee. She’s more of a per-hour type of woman now, instead of that per-mile she got paid when she was OTR driving.

Life And Trucking

As the mom of three daughters, it was a rough road. “Every once in awhile, I look back and say ‘damn, how did I do that?’ but I just always pushed forward to get ahead. And, I had to stay positive.”

She speaks of regret, though. “I missed out on a lot of important things in my girls’ lives. You just can’t rewind time and have that back, ever.”

This is why she says it’s so important that potential young drivers really evaluate why they are considering trucking.

Regardless of what she missed in the past, Rebecca still struggles with a growing longing to go back to over the road. Stopping her is her brood of 15 grandchildren. But, she’s just as much a truck driver at heart as she is a mom and grandmother. She just has to wait for her kids to stop surprising her with grandchildren, and then she may consider hitting the road again.

Advice On Trucking

Rebecca is a self-proclaimed “little woman” with strong personality and positive spirit. She has experienced almost every aspect of the trucking industry, from student to driver and trainer to boss.

Based on her findings, she thinks more companies need to have their fingers on the industry’s pulse. There’s a vast disconnect.

“The industry on a whole needs to stop and ask their truckers if they are happy. Because, if they are truly happy, then they’ll be more productive.”

She doesn’t believe that bosses/owners are listening to their employees anymore; she thinks they’re too concerned with their bank accounts. The bottom line is that the companies need to focus on their people. The bank accounts will grow naturally.

In Rebecca’s opinion, not everyone is cut out for trucking.

“It depends on who they are and what’s up in their lives. It’s a great short-term solution while maybe trying to get your real life sorted out. Maybe work like four days, and go to school, too.”

She will say you need the right attitude combined with the proper skills to make a go of it in trucking.

“You really need to understand everything about it, and then it can be a great career. I mean, it’s been wonderful to me. I made good money, and my girls never went without. For a fairly uneducated woman, I’ve been paid well.”

Her advice for newer drivers, and even some old timers who may have forgotten some of the nuances of driving a truck: “Don’t ever drive in bad weather at night, because all you’re asking for is a jackknife.”

She also says, “If the weather had been bad all night, don’t do early morning driving. Wait until around 7 a.m. when all that crap has had time to melt or do whatever it needs to do.”

When it comes to the health problems drivers face, “schedules are filled with redundancies. We are sitting in our cabins for hours at a time, eating junk food. That’s where the health problems come in.” However, she’s noted that some truck stops, like a Flying J in Tennessee, are addressing the obesity issue by installing gyms in their facilities.

Homelessness And Trucking

“We have this shortage in our industry. Why aren’t we heavily tapping our resources—the homeless, and the vets—in every possible way we can? If we invest in people, they’ll invest in themselves and others. It can only benefit our economy.”

Rebecca mentions that if truckers united together and went on strike, it would bring America to its knees. So, she says we need to make sure we have a surplus of truckers by giving qualified people a trucking education.

Final Thoughts On Trucking

The trucking job market is a competitive one. However, the money isn’t the same as it used to be. Rebecca claims she made great money back when she started.

“Nowadays, it’s hard for people to make money out there.”

But, she feels she’s got a bit of both worlds. She still gets to drive daily, and she’s making a great hourly rate. She’s home and can spend time with her ever-expanding family. She missed out on raising her daughters, so she’s exceptionally active in her grandchildren's lives.

The one thing she wants her children, grandchildren, and anyone who knows her to say when she dies is, “That old woman. She really knew how to live it up.”

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