Trucker Tools recently spent some time getting to know Jacinda Duran, also known as Jacinda Lady Truck’n. As a third-generation female truck driver who grew up around trucking, Jacinda spoke to us about her journey from driving limos to working as a FedEx courier. In our conversation with Jacinda, we learned about her current career as an enclosed car hauler transporting high-end and vintage cars all over the continental United States and how Trucker Tools’ free driver app is her go-to when she’s out on the road.
Jacinda, could you tell us about your background and how you got into trucking?
“I’m a third generation truck driver, a lady trucker, in my family. I come from trucking. My mom has driven, and so have my grandma, grandpa, my dad and my cousin, who is more well-known in trucking. I grew up in trucks. My mom drove for most of my childhood and my teenage life. I spent a lot of time in the truck. My mom worked all the time. She would pick me up after school and we’d drive around in the truck all day until it was time to go home. So trucking has always been a part of my life. And honesty, I didn’t love that growing up because I was a passenger, but I didn’t realize it was just in me to do it.
My mom’s parents owned a trucking company in California — that’s how it all started. And my mom and I both started out driving charter busses and limos. Also, my dad drove cement trucks and U.S. mail trucks from Yuma to Phoenix, Ariz. Trucking was just kind of always there and I didn’t realize it was going to be a passion of mine until I actually got in the driver’s seat myself. Now, I don’t want to stop!”
What is it that you like about trucking? Why does it work for you as a career?
“I love trucking because of the freedom. I love being somewhere new and in a lot of unfamiliar places every day. I define my love for trucking through freedom. I feel like a modern-day gypsy — that’s what I’ve often called it because I’m always somewhere different almost every day.”
You worked for FedEx Express for 10 years as a courier and then transitioned into long-haul. How and why did you make that transition?
“I started at FedEx in 2004 as a courier. In 2008, I got my Class B commercial license with the passenger endorsement and that’s when I started driving busses and limos and shuttling people around. Then, in 2014, it was the women who drove the semi-trucks at FedEx Express — they’re called ramp transport drivers and they haul the freight from the airport to FedEx terminals in the semis and the trailers. They asked me, ‘J, how come you don’t come try rigs with us?’ I honestly had never thought about it — no reason why. The schedule, more than anything, was ideal for me and my kids at the time. I’d be home in the afternoon with the kids because I’d start at FedEx at 3:00 AM.
FedEx was willing to train me to get my Class A license. I got my Class A permit, which allowed me to drive with someone else, through FedEx. I did two weeks of training prior to getting on a truck, three weeks of actual tractor trailer training and then two weeks post-training during that time when I was getting my license. It wasn’t easy. I always tell people that not everybody passes all three tests the first time. It took me three times, but I was determined to get it. Once I got it, I loved it.
After doing that for two years — I called it “corral truck driving” and I loved it and I left the job with super sharp backup skills because we’re asked to do that a lot — I was ready for more. I was ready to grow in trucking and at that point, I’d been with FedEx for 12 years. I was invested, I was committed, but I was ready for more in trucking.
My go-to leaving FedEx was a temp agency for truck drivers called Pro Drivers. I didn’t want to get myself into a trucking job that I wasn’t 100 percent sure about. So I went to the temp agency and that’s where I started gaining my experience in different aspects of trucking. One of the first jobs I did was a reefer trailer for cold storage, which I had never done before. After that, I did flatbed and flatbed with piggyback, which is basically a forklift on the back of a trailer. I did dry van and grocery. I expanded my knowledge and experience in trucking through the temp agency by doing whatever job assignments that they gave me. That helped me figure out what direction I wanted to go in trucking. I’m a committed person, so if I’m going to take a job, it’s because I want to be there and want to stay there.
After two years at the temp agency, I found my first over-the-road gig. It was three days every other week and I would go from Phoenix to Denver hauling compressed oxygen tanks, which are those small cylinders that people carry around with them. I would haul 80,000 lbs. of compressed oxygen from Phoenix to Denver and then bring back the empties.
After doing so for about a year and starting my Lady Truck’n social media page, Plycar Automotive Logistics approached me. Plycar told me that they admired my passion for trucking and asked me if I’d ever thought of going over-the-road because I’d never been out on the road like this before because I was dedicated — Phoenix to Denver and back. Honestly, I’d never even heard of Plycar before. I had to find them on YouTube because I didn’t know what Plycar was. When I looked them up, I was blown away by what this company was doing, which is hauling cars, a lot of high-end cars. I mean, we haul all kinds of cars, but with an emphasis on high-end cars. It completely grabbed me. That was something that I knew was for me to pride myself in.”
When you’re out on the road, what tools do you use?
“On the daily, I use Trucker Tools’ driver app. I can sign on and completely plan my day, from my route planning to where I’m going to get fuel, stop and also where I’m going to park at night. It’s super helpful.
“On the daily, I use Trucker Tools’ driver app. I can sign on and completely plan my day, from my route planning to where I’m going to get fuel, stop and also where I’m going to park at night. It’s super helpful. And I’m talking from parking at Wal-Mart to rest areas or even at a truck stop. We do have to completely plan our days. I do love the Trucker Tools driver app. I share it and really encourage a lot of people to use it. I want to help make the app even better and the only way to do that is to get input from drivers. I also like the weigh scales. I try to use that one as much as possible. I can use the app to find out if a weigh station is open or not.”
What made you want to work with Trucker Tools?
“I believe in the product, the Trucker Tools driver app, number one. I also like that Trucker Tools has been around and is established. People trust it and have heard of it. I ask people for feedback about Trucker Tools’ driver app, what they like about it and what could be better. Like any product, if you want it to be better, you have to get feedback in order to fix it and improve it.
I’ve been using the Trucker Tools driver app since July or August. It’s one of the driver apps that has been around the longest. People just need to hear more about it. I’m honored that people trust me when I endorse a product like Trucker Tools. That’s a lot of the feedback that I’ve gotten so far from the trucking community — they’ve said, ‘If you believe in it, we believe you.’ And that’s huge to me because I don’t just endorse any brand. I really haven’t done any kind of endorsement like this before. With the truth that I offer in my personal videos and on trucking, I’ve established that trust. So to endorse Trucker Tools was almost like an easy process that makes sense for the trucking community.
I believe in Trucker Tools. That’s why I was willing and wanting to endorse Trucker Tools. I think it’s a really good app and that it needs more recognition to build trust and more use.”
“I believe in Trucker Tools. That’s why I was willing and wanting to endorse Trucker Tools. I think it’s a really good app and that it needs more recognition to build trust and more use.”
How can Trucker Tools’ driver app help truckers when they’re on the road?
“The biggest thing the Trucker Tools driver app can help with is with planning our days.”
“The biggest thing the Trucker Tools driver app can help with is with planning our days. In trucking, sometimes we solely rely on GPS and we’re not really planning and it’s a crutch. It’s important to let people know that there is this tool, the Trucker Tools driver app, that can help you plan your entire day. We don’t always do that a lot. I’m guilty of that sometimes myself, just rolling without a plan for the day in place. So, route planning is the most important thing to me, as well as fuel stops and where you’re going to finish your day.”
Since you drive all over the country, you must have to deal with snow fairly often. What tips do you have for driving in snow?
“The first thing I recommend is to always take your time. Don’t rush. That’s huge. Hopefully, companies are understanding about weather. Everybody is different, but if you don’t feel safe and confident, then just stop. Also, practice putting on your snow chains outside in the snow. A lot of people fail to do that and the time comes to use their chains and they’ve never done it. So take your time. Be safe and pull off. Learn to use your snow chains prior to the winter season. It’s stressful. The snow if probably the most stressful situation in trucking. It’s ugly. We’re fortunate with Plycar that they don’t push us to keep driving in snow. They tell us to go where we feel safe. If you have $3 million worth of cars on your trailer, it’s not even worth it to take the chance.”
What kind of advice did your family members offer you when you decided you wanted to be a trucker?
“My mom always told me to just be safe. There are more women drivers now than when my mom was driving, but still it’s important to be safe and be aware of your surroundings. Knowing your surroundings is the best advice my mom gave me. Don’t get caught up in doing something without paying attention to what’s going on around you. If you don’t feel safe, don’t get out.
There are good and bad people, men and women, everywhere. You just have to do your best to be aware. My lady friends back home who do different jobs ask me if I’m scared. I tell them that I’m not. All I can do is be aware because anything can happen anywhere. Not only at a truck stop, but at Walmart or CVS. You just have to be aware. These are the things I’ve shared with my daughter. She’s in her early 20s and in college and she’s out and about. I’ve shared things with her like not opening your trunk in the parking lot and just being aware of her surroundings. That’s all we can do.”
Women In Trucking Association (WIT) recognized you as its February 2020 Member of the Month. Can you tell us about that and what it means to you to be recognized in the trucking community?
“It was an honor to be their member of the month. It feels really good to me that they recognize how I’m representing women in the highest form. So, it’s definitely an honor to have the title and the recognition — and them wanting to share my story for encouragement of the women who are specifically in that group, to encourage them to do whatever they want to do.
That is a huge compliment to me because, I’ll be honest, I share my trucking adventures and stories and it’s an honor to see what people get from it. I’m just sharing my daily adventures because in good ways, stuff happens every day and those are the moments I share. My videos and what I share are very raw and real. There’s no editing or filters. I try to be aware of how I speak in my videos because it’s important to me. It encourages the women in WIT to pursue different aspects of trucking. Whatever you want to do, I believe you can do it. You just have to put your mind to it and be willing to accept the challenges that come with it.
You have almost 40,000 followers on Instagram, which is impressive! What made you decide to develop a social media presence and launch Jacinda Lady Truck’n?
“I wanted to encourage people. I wanted to share the pros and cons of trucking and all of the different aspects of it. I think trucking is a great career choice, but by sharing honesty and truth — meaning the good and the bad of trucking — it’s a great opportunity. People can succeed out here, you just have to come out with the right mindset. I also wanted to build my brand because I have goals of things that I want to achieve. Eventually, I do plan on having my own truck with Lady Truck’n. What aspect of trucking, I’m not sure yet. Probably it will be car hauling. I think in branding myself, I’m just tapping into the natural entrepreneur part of me.
When I started at Plycar, the guys that were already here (there weren’t any women there at the time) only knew me from my social media. They saw a girl and a face. They told me that they didn’t they I was going to make it. Not knowing me personally, they didn’t know that I’m a do or die person and I was coming to get this job and succeed at it. So the first day that my trainer picked me up, he asked me, ‘Is this just another feather in your hat?’ And I took that as a compliment, like, ‘Oh, now she’s going to do this and then do something else.’
I ended up really liking car hauling. But do I believe this is the top for me? Absolutely not. I feel like I’m just gaining knowledge within the trucking industry, meeting people to prepare me for the bigger plan that’s coming for me. This is not where I’m going to finish. This is just a contributor in my growth toward whatever my big plan is in the future. I embrace it. There’s a bigger plan and it’s happening slowly, but I respect the time because I think everything happens when it’s supposed to. But, there’s more coming!”
One of the threads that we’re noticing when interviewing female truckers is that you are all so inspirational. Your passion really inspires others.
“When people tell me, random people through social media, that I make them want to get into trucking, to me it means that we’re doing something right. It’s super positive when someone wants to leave their respective career, whatever it may be, and do trucking. It’s amazing.
It’s good to have different channels. All of us, we all do the same job, but we’re all on our own path. Everyone has their own lane and purpose. We’re not in competition. We’re all providing something for everyone differently so everyone can get something different from each of us. That’s what it’s all about.”
Is there anything else that we haven’t talked about that you think is important for us to know?
“My kids are my two biggest accomplishments so far. Because before I was out here on the road, I was a full-time mom raising my kids. If I can do anything as good as my kids, I’m winning. My kids are awesome people. They were raised old school, so they’re super respectful, they’re good people and they also are succeeding. I feel like I led that drive by example.
I have a daughter who is 21. Her name is Mariah. She’s in the nursing program at Northern Arizona University. She has one year left and she’ll have her BSN in nursing. I also have an 18 year old son, Shane. He went into the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs last year and that’s a huge accomplishment because you have to get three letters of recommendation from the state of Arizona to get into that academy. Something I always say about my children is that they’re good people and they’re also driven and succeeding.
To me, you can succeed, but if you’re not a good person, it doesn’t mean anything. I’m a people person. I thank God every day for this gift I have because I’m able to connect with a lot of different kinds of people through my videos. The people that I meet in my videos are willing to speak with me and take time and share things with me. That’s a gift to me. And I thank God for that all the time. We’re all on a different path. There are times in our lives that are easier or harder, but there’s always an opportunity to make it a better day.
A lot of people don’t know my backstory. I was working three jobs and raising my kids. I share that with people who might feel discouraged in their current situations. I wasn’t always where I am now. I worked really hard to get where I am.”
Looking for more tips from your fellow truckers? Read Tools and Tips from Industry Influencer Sharae Moore. To download the free Trucker Tools driver app, visit https://www.truckertools.com/carriers/.