I could not find a "REAL" driver for the picture above

I was reading an article about a driver who recently won an award.  Instead of focusing on the accomplishment of this individual, fellow drivers commented on whether or not this person was a "REAL" driver.  

It's all too common when reading many publications and even sitting at the counters at the travel center, drivers seem to make claims about the qualifications of a "REAL" driver.  There are many examples of this:

If you speak with an east coast driver, he/she may tell you that you're not a REAL driver unless you've driven in major cities on the east coast.  Such as: New York City, Washington DC and Philadelphia.

The mid-west driver may tell you how difficult it is to get around in Chicago.  He/She may feel that drivers are not experienced unless they've driven in this city.

A truck driver from the west may feel that you need to experience the high winds of Wyoming or a blinding snowstorm while crossing Donner Pass.

A flatbed driver feels he/she is the "REAL" driver due to tarping, chaining and securing loads.  A tanker driver may feel more qualified as their load is constantly shifting and sloshing inside the tank.  Of course we all know that the cattle hauler is responsible for keeping his/her shipment alive during transport.  A refrigerated driver needs to keep all of their product at just the right temperature which gives them a stake on being a "REAL" driver.  Let's not forget about the Haz-Mat driver... as he/she has a huge responsibility to transport chemicals, explosives and other hazardous materials. 

If you talk with an over the road driver - long haul, they will tell you that the driver who makes it home every day isn't a "REAL" truck driver.  The local driver who makes deliveries all day within the city will tell you that it's much easier to be "over the road" which would qualify themselves to be a "REAL" driver.  The old time driver who drove trucks in the 60's will share their experience driving without anti lock brakes, power steering and some strange transmission combinations.

I realize I'm missing some more pieces of the pie in relation to what qualifies making you a "REAL" driver.  Some of these include: car hauler, oversize transport, team drivers and finally solo drivers.

In reality... we are all "REAL" drivers today.  In fact, I have many friends from different parts of the trucking industry that fit into each of these categories mentioned above.  For me, I learn everyday from all my various driver friends out on the road.  This is regardless of what their mode of transport may be.  We are all out here together making a living and we can lean from one another.  Let's support each other instead of creating division within our industry.

Comments (6)

Henry Albert

Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc., based in Statesville, NC. Before participating in the "Slice of Life" program, Albert drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class S/T™, and will use his Cascadia for general freight and a dry van trailer. Albert, who has been a trucker since 1983, was recognized by Overdrive as its 2007 Trucker of the Year.

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I find it is the "Super Truckers" who say all this garbage about who is and is not a "Real" driver. Personally I feel there are many different types of drivers. They are all drivers but some fit better in one segment of the industry as opposed to the others. I love doing long haul Oversized Hauling but that does not make me any more a driver then the Van or Reefer Haulers doing long or short hauls or any other segment. We are all drivers. I do believe that it takes more then having a license to make you a driver though. I do believe that it takes time to be a truly experienced driver. I have over 20 years in myself and find it does take a couple of years to really know what driving is all about. It is not something that you learn in a week or two at a driving school or riding along with a buddy.

October 17, 2014 9:59:59 AM

Good post Henry, This reminded me of all the flack Anne Ferro got when she did a ride-a-long with Leo Wilkins. Leo has an exceptional "large car" with a "condo" sleeper. Many were critical because the truck itself was not "representative" of what they drive - hence it wasn't a real ride-a-long.

October 17, 2014 8:07:24 AM

I agree with each post.One question, who can stop the FMCSA from killing the industry? I am all for regulations and safety, but some of these new rules have nothing to do with either.

October 16, 2014 14:05:13 PM

Henry good one! I have to laugh also as you are not a real driver unless you pull a certain type of trailer ...

October 13, 2014 16:23:22 PM

So true. If you are operating a truck then in my book you are a real driver. Whether you are a good driver or a bad driver is a subject that can fill volumes but good or bad you are still a real driver. It takes everyone of us in all the different driving segments to keep America moving. Everyone, not just a few that want to lay claim to something they don't own.

October 13, 2014 8:33:48 AM

What a diverse industry we really are. That's why I caution those who want to run to the FMCSA and make a new rule for "their" problem that regulates all of us.

October 13, 2014 7:45:37 AM