Trucking Heroes: A Story of the One Who Keeps the Country Moving
As we celebrate National Truck Drivers Appreciation Week, Logity Dispatch wants to share with you an incredible story of the veteran truck driver Robert Feeney. Robert told us his amazing story and insights into the trucking world. Let’s take a moment to reflect on the essential role that truck drivers like Robert play in our daily lives and realize the dedication and sacrifices of truck drivers that keep our country moving.
- Trucking Heroes
Logity Dispatch: How long have you been a truck driver?
Robert Feeney: I bought my first truck when I was 18 years old, and I’m 59 now. So, yes, I’ve been doing it for a long, long time. I did have a bit of a break when I broke my back while driving a truck. I was bedridden for over 10 years and had numerous back surgeries. Finally, I found the right doctor who fixed me. So, yeah, that’s my journey.
Logity Dispatch: How has the trucking industry changed since you started? What is it like to be a truck driver in 2023?
Robert Feeney: It’s a world of difference. There have been many changes, including our hours of service, laws, and unfortunately, the pay has declined significantly. Courtesy towards truck drivers on the road has diminished. Nowadays, they’re putting anyone in a truck, even those who shouldn’t be behind the wheel. The differences are vast, especially when it comes to income. The pay scale is at its worst in recent memory. Large corporations like Warner, Swift, and J.B. Hunt are hiring inexperienced drivers and taking advantage of them by paying them far less than they deserve and not providing proper training. So, these are some of the major differences I’ve observed today.
Logity Dispatch: How do you see the role of truck drivers in the United States? Some say truck drivers are the backbone of the country. Do you agree with this view?
“Without trucks, people would go without essential goods – no food on their tables, no gas for their cars, no clothes on their backs.”
Robert Feeney: Absolutely. Without trucks, people would go without essential goods – no food on their tables, no gas for their cars, no clothes on their backs. During the COVID pandemic, while everyone was quarantined at home, truck drivers were the lifeline, delivering online orders and essential supplies. We were out there, making it happen while facing many challenges. Without trucks, this country would come to a standstill, potentially leading to unrest. So, yes, I wholeheartedly agree. Hopefully, more people will recognize our crucial role and treat us with greater respect. One notable change I’ve seen is the treatment we receive at shipping and receiving locations. We’re often treated poorly, denied restroom access, and spoken to disrespectfully. Unfortunately, this trend seems to be growing, not just in the trucking industry but overall in the world today.
Logity Dispatch: What initially drew you to this profession at such a young age?
Robert Feeney: I was born into it, actually. My great-great-grandfather started a moving business in 1892 using a horse and wagon to deliver kegs of beer around Baltimore City. Eventually, he began moving pianos, and that’s how our moving business began. I’m the fifth generation in my family to continue in this line of work. I grew up around the warehouse, and I started driving trucks around the yard as soon as I could reach the pedals and see over the steering wheel. It’s in my blood. I’ve always loved trucks and the opportunity to see the vast and beautiful country. However, it’s not a profession for everyone, especially if you have a family.
“I’m the fifth generation in my family to continue in this line of work.”
Logity Dispatch: Can you describe a typical day in your life as a truck driver?
Robert Feeney: A typical day is long, usually 12 to 14 hours. I aim to be at the receiver and nearby to get shipments off and pick up the next one promptly. We often maximize our allowable hours to get things done. It’s not a regular nine-to-five job, that’s for sure.
Logity Dispatch: How do you maintain a work-life balance, having such a challenging schedule?
Robert Feeney: It can be tough, especially for those with families. Personally, I’ve been single for a while, which makes it easier. However, I try to make the most of my weekends when I’m home. For example, I visit my son in Denver or spend time with my daughter and grandkids in Southern Virginia. Flexibility is key to balancing work and life in this profession.
“Flexibility is key to balancing work and life in this profession.”
Logity Dispatch: What types of trucks have you driven, and do you have any preferences?
Robert Feeney: I’ve owned various trucks in my career. Peterbilt and Kenworth are known for being the best-built trucks out there. Currently, I’m driving a 2023 Freightliner, which is a nice truck, but higher-class trucks like Peterbilt are my preference.
Logity Dispatch: Can you recall the most unusual load you’ve ever delivered?
Robert Feeney: Throughout my career, I’ve had some extraordinary experiences, such as transporting camera equipment for the space shuttle Challenger and moving President George Bush, Sr. out of the White House. I’ve also handled logistics for the Baltimore Orioles’ baseball team and worked with various government agencies. Given my diverse work, it’s hard to pick just one unusual load.
“I’ve had some extraordinary experiences, such as transporting camera equipment for the space shuttle Challenger and moving President George Bush, Sr. out of the White House.”
Logity Dispatch: How do you unwind after a long day on the road or during your days off? What are your hobbies?
Robert Feeney: I enjoy fishing and cooking. Since eating healthily on the road can be challenging, I often prep my meals at home during the weekends. It allows me to enjoy cooking while ensuring I have healthy food on the road.
Logity Dispatch: Do you have any advice for truckers trying to maintain a healthy diet?
Robert Feeney: I advise preparing your meals at home whenever possible. For instance, you can make extra portions of healthy meals to freeze and then warm up in the truck’s microwave. It not only promotes a healthier diet but also saves money. Truck stops used to offer good homemade food, but nowadays, it’s mostly fast-food options, and many major restaurant chains don’t provide truck parking.
Logity Dispatch: What’s the most challenging situation you’ve faced as a truck driver, such as adverse weather conditions or traffic congestion?
Robert Feeney: The most significant challenge these days is distracted drivers who use their phones while driving. It’s become a severe issue, leading to accidents and traffic jams. I’ve had close calls due to drivers not paying attention. I wish people would refrain from using their phones while on the road.
Logity Dispatch: As an experienced truck driver, what advice would you give to someone starting a career in this field?
Robert Feeney: My advice is always to stay aware of your surroundings and be attentive. Anything can happen on the road in an instant. Avoid distractions like using your phone while driving. I’ve witnessed some terrible accidents during my career, but I’ve never been in one, thanks to paying attention. Safety should always be a top priority.
Logity Dispatch: What skills do you think are essential for a successful truck driver?
Robert Feeney Common sense. Although it seems to be increasingly rare these days. Additionally, knowing how to manage your time effectively is vital. Being cautious, especially when backing into docks, and having the ability to adapt to different situations are also important skills for a truck driver.
Logity Dispatch: For how long have you been using dispatch services, and what should people consider when choosing a dispatcher?
Robert Feeney: I’ve been using dispatch services for about three years with the Logity Dispatch team. When choosing a dispatcher, look for someone who understands different areas, rates, and the availability of loads. A good dispatcher also takes weather conditions into account, keeps in touch with drivers’ preferences, and ensures efficient load planning based on available hours.
Logity Dispatch: What do you dislike the most about trucking? What are the most challenging aspects of your job?
Robert Feeney Dealing with brokers is the most challenging part of this job. Many brokers are dishonest and provide inaccurate information just to get loads covered, which can create difficulties for both dispatchers and drivers. Clear communication is essential in this industry, but brokers who lie and deceive create unnecessary stress and affect our earnings.
“The freedom and independence are the best parts of this job. I’m not stuck in an office; I’m out on the open road, seeing the beautiful country.”
Logity Dispatch: What do you love the most about your job as a truck driver?
Robert Feeney: The freedom and independence are the best parts of this job. I’m not stuck in an office; I’m out on the open road, seeing the beautiful country. I can manage my day without constant oversight, which suits me perfectly. This profession allows me to enjoy the freedom and flexibility I value.
Logity Dispatch: Is there something you’re particularly proud of in your trucking career?
Robert Feeney: There have been numerous accomplishments throughout my career, from moving the President to handling high-value equipment. It’s hard to pinpoint just one thing. I’ve had an amazing journey and countless memorable experiences in this field.
Logity Dispatch: During long hauls, how do you entertain yourself? Do you have any favorite podcasts or music?
Robert Feeney: I’m a music enthusiast, and I have a vast collection on Spotify that keeps me company on the road. When it comes to my favorite driving music, Bob Seger’s tunes are hard to beat.
Logity Dispatch: If you could drive your truck in any country worldwide, which one would you choose, aside from the US?
Robert Feeney: I’ve heard Ukraine is incredibly beautiful, I’d want to visit it when the war ends.
Logity Dispatch: What skill have you developed as a truck driver that has benefited you in other areas of life?
Robert Feeney: Time management. It is a skill I’ve honed as a truck driver that has proven invaluable in other aspects of life. It’s become a part of my lifestyle to be punctual and manage time efficiently.
“Truck drivers are hard-working individuals who endure a challenging lifestyle to ensure that the stores are stocked with essential goods. More understanding and courtesy from others on the road would greatly benefit all of us.”
Logity Dispatch: What’s the main thing people unfamiliar with trucking should know about truck drivers
Robert Feeney: Truck drivers are hard-working individuals who endure a challenging lifestyle to ensure that the stores are stocked with essential goods. More understanding and courtesy from others on the road would greatly benefit all of us. Recognizing the difficulties we face daily would be a positive step toward improving our working conditions and the overall driving experience.