How long driving: 2 years
Company driver for Swift
Hauls: Dry goods
Where: 48 states
Drives: 2008 Volvo
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Steve Enderle began his trucking career back in the 1970s and drove for five years, but gave that up to become a mechanic for Penske Truck Rental. Following a move, however, he was unable to find work so he returned to trucking two years ago and now drives for Swift.
Enderle now lives in Ft. Wayne, Ind., having returned to live in his house after renters moved out. He said there was no work for him there as a mechanic so he went to driving school. He spent one week of driving school training over-the-road.
“The Midwest — there’s hardly any jobs up there — it’s a ghost town,” he said. “The RV factory shut down.”
Enderle hauls dry goods all over the U.S., but won’t drive in New York City. His favorite place to drive is “down south, because the food is better.”
He’s divorced after 12 years of marriage and has two grown daughters and one grandson. Enderle said he’s usually out on the road for a month at a time and then gets three days during which he takes care of business, goes to the movies, goes out to eat and pays bills.
The Trucker wondered what changes Enderle had seen since he’d been a trucker so long ago and then returned.
“It’s safer,” he said. “The trucks are better. It’s more regulated. You gotta know a lot more now than back then. This job is not just a change in job it’s a change in lifestyle. It’s alright. [To cope with stress] I take a deep breath. Driving a truck reminds me more of being in the military than anything because you’re always camping out.”
Enderle served three years in the Army and was an ammo carrier. He was fortunate because he didn’t have to participate in combat.
He said the trucking rules don’t really bother him, that he just goes with the rules and that it’s difficult to keep up with all of the changes.
“It’s really totally different than it used to be,” he added.
Swift keeps him running and he’s content with 34 cents a mile.
“It’s alright; everybody wants more,” Enderle said. “Wages don’t keep up with inflation.”
As for the overall economy, Enderle offered his thoughts: “Companies don’t want to pay anything. Manufacturing sent all our jobs oversees. They make huge profits overseas but the people in this country can’t afford it. The solution is obvious to the man on the street but it escapes the politician, the man in charge. Wages aren’t in line with the cost of things.”
Enderle plans to stay in trucking but would like to find a dedicated route to be home on weekends.
He isn’t too concerned about the possibility of an electronic on-board recorder (EOBR) mandate for all trucks.
“Electronic logs don’t really matter,” Enderle said. “They check my Qualcomm and if I cheat on my log they can tell. I keep a manual logbook but it has to jibe with the Qualcomm. I drive legal. I try to make eight to nine hours a day of driving so I can drive my 70, so I don’t have to do a reset. If they paid us hourly they wouldn’t have problems with log violations.”
Enderle said Swift keeps its drivers up-to-date on changes in the industry by talking to each driver in person and also requiring them to take courses online.
Barb Kampbell of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at email@example.com.
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