Trucker Tools recently spent some time getting to know Gerald Johnson, known as Trucker G on Facebook and YouTube. Trucker G is a contracted owner-operator based out of Springfield, Mo., who is joined on the road by his wife, Mrs. G. In our recent conversation with Trucker G, he told us about his lifelong career as a trucker and why he’s become a mentor to new drivers who are just coming into the industry.
During our interview, we also asked Trucker G what he thinks are the top challenges that truckers face today. You can read what he had to say below.
Public Safety, Adequate Training, and Aggressive Driving
“The most pressing is public safety, in my opinion. Some of the larger companies don’t offer the training that they should. We’ve got to keep the industry going and there’s demand for truck drivers. But what some big companies are doing is letting people become trainers after three months or six months of experience. We’re losing out on some of the old school values and the information that an older driver can give a newer driver. You basically have two students teaching each other. Some of the trainers haven’t even seen a full year in the industry. Even ones that do have one year of experience, it may have been a mild year. What if next year, it’s a bad year when it comes to winter driving or something like that. I really think training is a big issue out here. It’s a huge one. My family and your family is affected by it.
Aggressive driving is another huge issue that is a pet peeve of mine. That’s not just new drivers, it’s veteran drivers, as well. A lot of it is older drivers are tailgating and driving aggressively. They know they can’t stop that truck on a dime. So don’t be tailgating Aunt Betty to get her out of your way. We have to be more patient out there.”
Coronavirus Impacting Truckers’ Access to Food and Supplies
“Obviously the biggest challenge right now is the Coronavirus. We have a lot of issues related to that. We all know that it’s mass panic and that people are buying out inventory in stores. We all know that the shelves are bare in a lot of these stores and it’s our job as truckers to get this stuff delivered. What’s going on now, is that a lot of people aren’t thinking about us. It’s getting a little better, though. Just the other day, we weren’t able to stop and get food at a lot of these restaurants.
Another issue is that us drivers have to be able to keep going and stay healthy. I can’t find hand sanitizer and that’s a major issue that I’m having personally. How am I supposed to stay healthy enough to keep these loads running if I can’t find hand sanitizer, to find medicine if I do start feeling sick? We can’t find that stuff. The hand sanitizer is a huge thing. As trucker drivers, we drive all across this great country. If I’m not able to sanitize my hands and I contract something, how many states am I going to bring it across?”
Truckers: Saviors During a Time of Hardship
“Truckers are going to be the saviors of this country during this time of hardship. It’s really imperative for us drivers to shine like we’ve never shone before to the general public right. This is the time to change the public’s view of trucking with our professionalism and by the way we drive — by getting these loads there, by getting grocery stores stocked and by going in harm’s way instead of hiding out and quarantining ourselves. If we’re delivering these products and doing it professionally out of risk to our own health, that looks great to the public. It’s up to each of us drivers to uphold our professionalism. It’s up to each of us to make sure we do it with zero accidents.
One thing that the Coronavirus crisis is showing us is that the hours of service aren’t as big an issue as they’re made out to be. That 14 hour clock kills us on safety. Back when I first started driving, we didn’t have the 14 hour clock. So if I was driving and I got tired after that first hour, I could shut down and take a four or five hour nap if needed. Now, I can’t do that. Even if I’m tired, I’ve got to keep going, otherwise, the load won’t make it there. For company drivers, it’s even worse. I can’t stop to take a nap because of that 14 hour clock. That’s a huge issue for us.”
For more of our interview with Trucker G, read Trucker G Shares 28 Years of Industry Advice with Fellow Truckers, New and Veteran. To download Trucker Tools’ free driver app, visit https://www.truckertools.com/web/carriers/.