Getting a Glimpse of Life on the Road

By Debbie Hersman

Chairman Hersman (second from left, first standing row) at the Salute to Women Behind the Wheel (photo by Paul Hartley, Add Media)

Last week, I had the opportunity to get a glimpse into what life is like for the professional truck drivers who drive the heavy trucks on our nation’s highways to deliver the goods — and who contribute to our economy and to our quality of life.

I learned a lot from my five teachers — Stephanie Klang, Jill Garcia, Clarence Jenkins, Angela Jordan, and Jo Carty — who safely drove me from Washington, DC, to Louisville, KY, so I could attend the Mid America Trucking Show and attend Women in Trucking’s (WIT) Salute to Women Behind the Wheel. As I told the professional women drivers at that event, I have a CDL (commercial driver’s license), but I think my biggest contribution to safety is not to drive a commercial vehicle. I leave that up to the professional drivers.

I was impressed by every driver’s commitment to safety and by their ability to handle big rigs in good weather and bad . We had all types of weather on our 632 miles, including snow, sleet, and fog! After last week’s trip, I feel safer driving on the road next to big rigs. I was also pleased with the discussions we had about the issues that the NTSB addresses in its investigations and recommendations, such as hours of service, fatigue, and government oversight.

For example, when I talked with Stephanie about the challenges of complying with hours of service, she said the rules are there to protect you. Even when they’re not in your favor, you have to respect them.

As for respect, I gained a lot more respect for these professional drivers behind the wheel and I want them to know that I will keep an eye out for them whenever I’m out on the interstate.

Here’s a link to the talk I gave at Women in Trucking’s Salute to Women Behind the Wheel on April 2.

4 thoughts on “Getting a Glimpse of Life on the Road”

  1. Chairman Hersman,
    I know the proper things are thank yous. But the time you shared with each of us goes beyond thank you. You gave me hope by truly listening to each of us, you gave us knowledge and insights, but most of all you gave us back empowerment and yourself being personable. My gratitude to Kara and your staff for being there as well with ears wide open. You are a true Lady and I am proud to call you my sister of the highways. God Bless You and Thank You.

  2. That’s one main goal of public vehicle owners and their drivers as well as private drivers – to be sure of the safety of everyone and everything that they drive for. It’s not really much of their accountability that they are concerned of, but their love for their work put into action.

  3. It was a true pleasure to meet you and talk, albeit briefly, with you. I Was very impressed with your speech and your willingness to actually get into those trucks and commit yourself to the ride alongside! I can’t tell you how many times over the 34 years I have been a driver I have asked, begged even!, government officials to do just that so that they might gain an inkling of what our lives entail! The fact that you did so forever endears you in my heart! I only regret that I wasn’t able to be one of the chosen drivers who took you on this journey.

  4. Chairman Hersman, truly appreciate you taking out time of your busy life, to be with us and showing us that as women we can do anything. I enjoyed our time together on the road and i think that even if the time was short, you got to see some of the obstacles that we face. Just wish that law makers would come out on the road and live in a truck before they made/passed laws. I think they would have a different outlook. But, anyway Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Go C A T S !!! Jo

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