I had the chance several years ago, to get in gear with a TruckerBuddy program in Layton Utah, but I never could make it fit.
I caught this article on Overdrive Online.com about companies trying to get the 20 something age people involved in trucking, more over driving trucks.
Which one could inject here, the idea for and of the foundations of the Rode Knytes Association, was built on a tiny, cb club/junior truckers organization built loosely on the idea of the Independent Truckers Association the originators of the magazine Overdrive. Our group was called the TeenAge Truckers Association.
The idea came not only from me but two area trucker pros that said if these kids wanna drive lets get em in a truck. We had area companies that would put 16 to 17 year olds in behind the wheel of milk haulers, bull wagons and grain hoppers, hey it wasn’t the romanticized that Smokey and the Bandit, or Convoy was, but it was trucking in the real world.
Many of us made plenty of mistakes too. I remember the first truck I drove. It was with a fellow TTA member . Our run was to take grain to a area dairy, that had as a bonus was at Mathers Dairy just outside of Wendell Idaho where the Mather’ twins lived.
I didn’t slow down in time, kissed a phone pole and sidelined an irrigation ditch. But I drove a truck.
After that I learned the skills I needed. I was lucky, the TTA was and is geared towards rural farm local hauling, but hey its trucking.
Of course the history of the TTA is extensive as again, the TTA was the igniter of the Rode Knytes, but thing is, I became fascinated with anything trucking. Of course there came the day, when I discovered LexiBelle> and fell in love with going towing. The money was better, I was home most of the time, and I liked the better brotherhood of those in towing were tighter than my trucking friends. Seemed and I think its what has made all too many younger people gun-shy of going trucking. There just are not enough older drivers out there willing to show the younger ones the ropes. The pride of the industry is gone or nearly there. Government regulations have taken the enjoyment out of long hauling. The son of a lady friend of mine, says he wants to get into trucking, thinking he’s going to not have anyone looking over his shoulder and so on, I say he’s in for a very rude awakening. The industry is just not as it was. For that matter few things are. All of us are too busy trying to make a survival living, that helping anybody learn is just not possible not enough time, however I still try to make time. I will always take a teen who wants to tow, put em in behind the wheel and send em out with my trainers. The learn to tow.
The industry too shot itself in the foot, demanding new start truckers to be at least 21. When I got in I got my Chauffeurs License the predecessor to the CDL, at 18 years old. We need that kind of entry level license today, get youth who want to truck in the cab at high school graduation, not after they have gone through college.
In my days it was a highway brotherhood, you talked all night on the CB back and forth, you pulled into mom and pop true truck stops not mega plex travel plazas selling diesel. You got a shower, a home cooked meal or coffee at 80 cents. Today nobody stays open all night, at least in our part of the nation. Coffee is $2.00 from a quick store, and home cookin is KFC if you can find a place to park a truck.
The trucking industry can fix itself, it needs to get big companies, and truck makers to invest in programs like our TTA, or TruckerBuddy. It needs to admit there is a pride problem, and start rebuilding that love of the open road again, not just the love of money.