By Debbie Hersman
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.