Driver since 1984
Company driver for: Crete
Hauls: Dry Freight
Truck: ’09 Freightliner Cascadia
Birthday: May 4, 1966
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Roland Matarazzo lives one mile from the beach in Clearwater, Fla., and said he’s never been down to the shore.
He’s been driving trucks since 1984 and for about five years a decade ago he was an owner-operator but got out of that business and back into a job as a company driver.
“It was just cost effectiveness,” Matarazzo explained. “Fuel was going high and with the guys I was working with there was not much [of a] fuel surcharge so it was eating me alive. I like it better as a company driver these days because I have medical insurance and good pay.”
Matarazzo currently drives for Crete and sits behind the wheel of a 2009 Freightliner Cascadia hauling dry freight about seven weeks in a row and then he goes home for about eight days.
“It’s a choice,” he said about being out so long at a time. “You have to turn the wheels to make money.”
Back home he’s got a wife and two children. Matarazzo said when he met his wife he was a truck driver and she said she would never ask him to do anything that he would be miserable doing.
“She deals with it,” Matarazzo added.
“I’m taking my daughter out on the road this summer,” he said excitedly. “She’s 14, my boy is 17. He’s never been; he’s never liked the road. My daughter loves it though. Hopefully they’ll get me all over the country [while she’s along].”
When he gets home he said he does “whatever is on the list my wife has made. Although she pretty much likes to put everything on hold so we can have family time together. It’s more like we have movie night where we rent movies and stay at home and the kids watch with us. And sometimes I like to take my wife out to a nice restaurant.”
In August he’ll have been with Crete for four years and is happy to be driving their trucks and pulling their loads.
“I love them,” Matarazzo said. “I’ve been with a lot of companies and I truly believe they are one of the best companies out there. They hire you as a professional and that’s what they expect of you.”
Currently, he said, Crete’s trucks are governed at 62 mph and they don’t have electronic logs, but the company is looking into EOBRs.
“I know they are testing electronic logs — three systems — I assume they are getting ready [for a possible across-the-board mandate].”
Matarazzo may not be thrilled with every rule out there and everything that happens in the industry, but he handles it with a good attitude.
“It’s a career for me,” he explained. “If you’re going to make it a career you have to adapt to whatever they throw at you. They are taking Hours of Service to the table again and whatever they adopt will be another learning process.”
Matarazzo usually drives 10 to 10.5 hours per day and tries not to push close to 11 hours in case he has difficulty finding a place to park, especially in areas of the country where he’s already familiar with the shortages of parking spots.
When queried on whether he’d retire in trucking the answer was quick and short.
“Oh yeah,” he responded. “I go to the doctor because of things in my family [history]. I go every six months. Right now I’m fit as a fiddle. My goal is 65 and I’m done. That’s my goal [to retire at age 65]. I’ve pretty much done this my whole adult life. I say 65, but if I’m healthy I’ll still work. I can’t see sitting around.”
Matarazzo said it seems like everything out on the roads has become such a rush and drivers aren’t being as careful as they ought to be.
“I don’t know if it’s stricter rules or companies, but drivers need to quit being so offensive in driving and be defensive. It used to be us against the cars. What is getting worse is the guys driving 18-wheelers are driving worse than car drivers. I think if drivers would slow down — things would be a lot safer out on the roads.”
Barb Kampbell of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at email@example.com.
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