In our “Dispatches from the Road” blog feature, KANE shares the thoughts of our drivers – the men and women who live and breathe the transportation topics we often write about. In our latest installment, we interview new KANE driver Marjorie Carney.
How long have you been with KANE?
Since March 2019. But I’ve been driving for about six years now.
What led you to the trucking profession?
I was working in a Walmart in Florida. A friend of mine was a driver who made deliveries to the store. When I discovered that he made twice as much as me, I decided that I should go into driving. The national carrier I went to had a terrific training school, however, I didn’t like the long periods away from home. I wouldn’t be back at home for six weeks at a time. That got old fast.
What is your typical day like at KANE?
It’s pretty consistent. I arrive at dispatch at the Scranton terminal, get my assignment, do my pre-check and inspection, and hit the road. There is a run I’ve taken lately that sends me back and forth to Bensalem, PA. It’s a terrific customer and I enjoy it. The dispatch team is great and makes my day painless.
What’s the best part of your job?
Being home every night without a doubt. I have a four-year old daughter. If I didn’t drive for a regional carrier like KANE, it would be difficult.
Speaking of difficult, what’s the toughest part of the job?
The easy answer would be traffic. But I honestly think it’s less of an issue than some of the tough consignee locations in and around the major cities. Many East Coast cities were simply not designed for large rigs. At times, I can have a clearance of only a couple inches on either side of the truck. It definitely helps to build my driving skills. I get tons of compliments from consignees when I make deliveries.
Describe the worst consignee location.
The only consignees that I run into delays with are a couple of mass retailers who regularly make you wait for long stretches. I just don’t understand it. I know these retailers have dedicated people working in the stores to unload the trailers. Heck, I was one of them when I was with Walmart. Appointments are set and it’s basically pulling straight pallets off the truck. That might take 30 minutes, tops. The excess waiting is unfortunate. I don’t like burning the clock, especially in the NY-metro region.
How are you challenged by Hours of Service regulations?
Being a relatively new driver, I have never driven without e-logs. Before KANE, I learned to use them with a national carrier. I’m certainly in favor of the safety aspect of the HOS regulations, however, the thirty-minute break rule is obnoxious and impacts the flow of the workday.
Any ways that technology could help?
With recent updates to the HOS, any work done in a drop lot counts against your drive time. We deliver to some huge facilities and I could be driving around a lot at 5 MPH for 20 minutes and logging time. That feels a little unfair. It would be ideal if the ELD units could geo-fence, knowing when you are on a road versus in a yard.
What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you while on the road?
In the middle of a stand-still traffic jam, I witnessed a guy stop, get out of the driver’s seat, walk over to another car and kick out the window. I don’t know what it was all about, but people need to take a breath and count to ten. Just bizarre and disturbing behavior.
What’s your favorite food while on the road?
I’m lucky to have a wonderful husband who makes me breakfast each morning and a packed lunch for the road.
Any thoughts on the current driver shortage?
Driving is not for everyone. In the driver school I attended, the company offered everyone the ability to quit the school after a week and receive a complete tuition refund. I think that’s a good way to ensure you’re only training people who truly want to be professional drivers.
What advice would you give to those considering a driving career?
Depending on what people want from a job, it could be a great choice. It certainly has been for me. For would-be drivers, it would be great to offer a “ride-along” program where high school or even college-aged students could ride with an experienced driver. It would give people a more accurate view of what the job really involves.
Just six percent of American truck drivers are female. What would you say to women thinking about a career behind the wheel?
Being one of the few females in a male-dominated profession hasn’t really been a problem for me. The consignees I visit are overwhelmingly polite and respectful. As for truck stops, the more progressive chains are making positive changes, like better lighting to improve safety and nicer, cleaner facilities. Of course, working for a regional like KANE, any issues related to truck stops are not relevant any more since I’m home at the end of each day.
If you could change one thing about the job, what would it be?
If I had the road completely to myself, now that would be nirvana. Just me and the open road. I enjoyed my long-haul days and got to see all 48 contiguous states, and there are definitely times when I miss driving for long stretches. But I would never give up the consistent schedule and home time I enjoy now with KANE.