Driver spreads the word about sharing the road responsibly
David Boyer • Wytheville, Va. • Driving for 41 years
I’ve always been a sucker for anything with a motor. When I was growing up, I didn’t care about hunting or fishing, but if it had a motor on it, I was ready to go. My first experience driving a truck was on my grandpa’s dairy farm in Virginia when I was 11. One of the farm hands came up to me and said, “You’re going to have to drive, boy.” He tied blocks to the clutch, brake and fuel peddles since I couldn’t reach them, and I followed the chopper all day chopping corn.
I’ve been hooked on driving since then. In fact, I’ve never had a job that didn’t involve driving a truck. When I graduated from high school in 1971, I drove a delivery truck for an oil company and then a switch truck for a furniture delivery company. I started driving over the road in 1974, and in ’78 joined ABF Freight System, Inc. I’ve been with them ever since.
I love the freedom of driving that big truck. You can ask my wife or all three of my kids, and they’ll tell you they’ve never heard me say, “I hate to go to work tonight.” Once I’m in the truck, I’m in my comfort zone — or my office as I call it — looking out my picture window and watching the world go by one white stripe at a time. After all these years, there are a lot of white lines on this head!
Safety and sharing the road responsibly have always been top concerns of mine. In my career, I’ve had one accident that was my fault, but it made me a better driver, and I learned a lot from it. Since then, I’m proud to say I have almost 2 million accident-free miles under my tires.
In 2010, I was honored to become a member of America’s Road Team, a public outreach organization made up of drivers who share superior driving skills, remarkable safety records and the desire to educate the public on safe driving and the importance of the trucking industry. It’s been the highlight of my career to be involved with the program and have the opportunity to educate others, especially the younger generation. In the last two years, I’ve gone to about 20 schools and spoken to 4,000 kids.
One of the best compliments I ever got was having a man come up to me in Wal-Mart and ask to shake my hand. I had spoken at his daughter’s high school, and he said, “I’ve been driving for 30 years and never knew y’all had blind spots around you.” His daughter told him that. That moment made it all worthwhile for me.
Without trucking, America stops, but without America, trucking stops. My goal is to share my knowledge about trucking with others so we can all share the road as safely as possible. Another driver said it best when he compared driving on the road to pushing a shopping cart. When we meet somebody head-on with a cart, we stop and say, “excuse me.” When we’re on the road, we blow our horns and scream. Why can’t we all be courteous and understanding like we are when we meet face-to-face?