Christian Palmer" />
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Friday, September 29, 2023


Older truckers make roads safer

When my mother was 7 years old, she witnessed the gruesome deaths of her mother, two baby sisters and two best friends. They were on their way to swimming lessons at the YMCA when an 18-wheeler drove recklessly into their lane and took five young lives.

The lives of my mother and her younger sister were spared only because they happened to be buckled up.

Big trucks – or death machines on wheels – have always been a source of discomfort and even fear on the road. When I drive with my mother, she still can’t drive along side of them.

For years, criticism has been placed on truck drivers and the companies that would push them beyond their limits for profit’s sake – and rightfully so. In the July 30 edition of Newsweek, the magazine decided to take an unusual look at the situation from the perspective of a recently unemployed baby boomer.

The news story opened with some promising information. Apparently, the trucking industry is going through something of a change in employee demographics. Schneider National Trucking, top dog in the trucking business, now boasts that drivers at or above the age of 50 constitute about one third of its staff, up 46 percent from 2005.

Companies such as Schneider, along with the help of Web sites such as, are now actively courting these more experienced drivers because of their many years at the wheel.

There just might be something to it. The article stated that employers are going after them because they know their own limitations, aren’t quite so inclined to fast or reckless driving, are more dependable and take instructions better.

It’s music to my ears.

Baby Boomers are also great candidates for truck driving positions because many are starting to get to that age where the managers at more traditional jobs are looking to trade them in for younger workers. Not to mention, after sending their children off to school and spending 20 or 30 years behind a desk, many are looking for a change of scenery.

In fact, they can take in all the scenery. Their new and exiting opportunity would have them travel from one end of this great nation clear to the other.

One couple interviewed by Newsweek likened their new jobs to early retirement because of the freedom it gives them. Another man appreciated the casual dress code. Another still welcomed the chance to exercise his vocal chords to the tune of Italian opera, all in the privacy of his truck cab.

I hope others approaching senior citizenship will take advantage of this golden opportunity, not only to escape the cubicle and see the country, but to rid trucking of its stigma and let other drivers, like my mother, drive a little easier.

With any luck, more drivers and passengers will live to take advantage of the same opportunity one day.

Palmer, a communication senior, can be reached via [email protected]

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