Monday, January 22, 2018

Averitt driver looks forward to retirement, says truckers have lost camaraderie


Tuesday, November 9, 2010
by BARB KAMPBELL

Driver Joe See says truckers have changed over the past several years and trucking isn’t what it used to be because of it. (The Trucker: BARB KAMPBELL)
Driver Joe See says truckers have changed over the past several years and trucking isn’t what it used to be because of it. (The Trucker: BARB KAMPBELL)

See file:
Driver for: 40 years
Company driver: At Averitt
Hauls: General freight
Route: All over
Truck: 2007 Volvo

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Joe See, of Kuttawa, Ky., says he’s been a trucker for 40 years and while that is all he plans to do before retiring, he does hope to get out soon so he can “sit at Walmart and watch the pretty girls go by.”

See says he’s been a long-haul trucker during his long career, except for a brief stint as a dump truck driver because he wanted to do something different. During that time he was home a lot and realized he had to “be married,” meaning he had to tend to things around the house and deal with all that comes with marriage.

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See turns 64-years-old on Nov. 2 and hoped to retire at 65, but said the Social Security Administration has now made him wait until he’s 66 to retire and draw benefits.

When he does retire, See plans to fish, but said he’d probably “still be doing honey dos. I live up there in the land between the lakes in Kentucky. I have a new pole. My wife bought it for me. That was a hint I think.”

See hauls general freight for Averitt, where he’s worked the past nine-and-a-half years, and delivers loads all over the U.S.

Trucking has changed for the worse, according to See.

“Years and years ago it was adventurous; it still is in some ways,” he said. “There was a mystery around every corner. I met all kinds of different people. We had camaraderie. We had a code. Years ago if you broke down you had three or four trucks stop to help. You knew where the good food was because [you’d see the trucks parked there].

“There’s no honor or code. It’s dog-eat-dog. It’s about the almighty dollar.”

See said his company is fine, although it, too, has changed over the last eight or nine years, changes he attributed to the Department of Transportation and the world economy.

“Back when you were a young girl (speaking to The Trucker reporter), a $100 [worth] of groceries couldn’t be carried out in three sacks,” See explained. “Now you can carry it under one arm.”

Speaking of changes, See thinks those who want drivers to use electronic logs are in it for something other than safety.

“I think it’s foolish myself,” he said. “It’s not about safety, it’s about money. You can’t get the shippers and receivers to get together. Averitt doesn’t pressure drivers to exceed Hours of Service limits. We tried electronic logs. It depends on how it’s set up. One of our guys who tested them couldn’t drive around the lot looking for an empty trailer because it kicked on at seven-tenths of a mile. The only way you can do it is to get everybody on the same page.”

When asked what he thought about trucking, See said, “Job. Years ago it was fun, it was interesting, it was always something new. Now it’s just a job. More rules, more traffic. It’s just no fun. People use foul language on the CB. Women get treated badly on there. The next generation doesn’t have the same morals and respect.

“I refrain from using foul language,” See continued. “I’ll stop people and ask them if that’s how they speak at home and then tell them not to do it out here.”

See is married and has a grown stepdaughter. His wife is retired and “takes care of the kids — two cats and a dog,” he said, adding that his wife also “puts up with me when I’m home.”

Barb Kampbell of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at barbkampbell@thetrucker.com.

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