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In the “TruckDrivin’ Ain’t No Easy Job” Department, A Day in the Life of an ABF Union Driver

| Mar 21, 2016 | Uncategorized


Labor News Up To The Minute

by   Samuel Morris               Godwin Morris Laurenzi Bloomfield

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 In the “TruckDrivin’ Ain’t No Easy Job” Department, A Day in the Life of an ABF Union Driver


A day in the life with Ralph Garcia


Ralph Garcia in front of his America’s Road Team Mack truck.

Ralph Garcia, of Rio Rancho, New Mexico, is an outstanding example of the best of the best in the trucking industry. As a driver for ABF Freight System for 23 years, Garcia has been recognized for the work he’s done both for his company and for the industry.

He’s one of the elite America’s Road Team Captains for the American Trucking Associations and recently was honored with ATA’s Mike Russell Trucking Image Award. He’s been a professional driver for more than 37 years and has accumulated more than 3.5 million accident-free miles.

Garcia recently spoke with us during his downtime and described a typical day in his life as a professional driver.

Ralph Garcia’s Career At-A-Glance

Company: ABF Freight System

Years trucking: 37 (23 with ABF)

Road Team Captain: Since 2005

PrePass user: Since 2011 (six years)

New Mexico Truck Driving Championship: 17 times, Grand Champion in 2009

National Truck Driving Championships: 33 times with one 1st, two 2nd and two 3rd place finishes

3 p.m. – Workday begins | Rio Rancho, New Mexico

Garcia wakes up from a two-hour nap and packs two healthy meals and some snacks. He says goodbye to Anita, his wife of 37 years, and heads out for an hour drive to the ABF Freight System terminal in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he clocks in. He then picks up his new model Mack Pinnacle truck or a new model Freightliner Cascadia.

4 p.m. – Pre-trip inspection | Albuquerque, New Mexico

He conducts a thorough pre-trip inspection. “I always check all the connections, fifth wheel and kingpin. I meticulously check all my tires for wear and tear and check the air pressure. Then, I start her up and check the lights, air lines, all the turn signals and then make sure my paperwork and registration is all in order.”

Tip: Never be in a hurry. Don’t skip any steps. If you have a nagging feeling in the back of your mind that you missed something, trust your instincts and double-check.

4:45 p.m. – Second pre-trip inspection | Albuquerque, New Mexico

“I know most truckers don’t do this but it’s my thing. I stop after 20 or 30 minutes and do another pre-trip inspection. I’ve always done this and I’ve caught things over the years that you might not catch the first round.”

While driving, he listens to talk radio, sports radio, Hannity on Fox News and religious talk shows. When he’s not listening to the radio, he’s listening to the Truck Driving Championship study guide as he sharpens his memory for the written exam.

Tip: Stay alert, look ahead, don’t get distracted and pay attention to everything.

7 p.m. – Weigh station bypass | Sanders, Arizona

He waves at the truckers lined up at the Sanders Arizona, weigh station. His truck is equipped with a PrePass system that offers qualified safe trucks the opportunity to bypass weigh stations. A small wireless transponder is mounted on his windshield and as he approaches the weigh station, an electronic reader scans the transponder, identifies the vehicle and a secure computer inside the weigh station accesses his truck’s information making sure it’s compliant with state weight limits.

Tip: Save time, fuel and money with PrePass weigh station bypass.

7:30 p.m. – Break | Navajo, Arizona

Garcia walks around the truck 22 times, monitors his activity via FitBit, eats a prepared nutritious meal and checks in with his family.

Tip: It’s hard to stay fit and make healthy food choices, but it’s one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family.

Garcia likes to work out, power lift, hang out with his family, children and grandchildren, tackle leadership positions with his church, go to the shooting range and study for the Truck Driving Championships.

10 p.m. – Break | Flagstaff, Arizona

Garcia takes a break in Flagstaff, Arizona to stretch, eat a small snack, walk around his truck and call his wife to say goodnight before she goes to bed.

12:30 a.m. – Lights out | Kingman, Arizona

He rolls into the yard in Kingman, Arizona, parks the truck, goes in to check on paperwork and then a van takes him to a hotel. “I crash and get a good solid night’s sleep,” he says.

11 a.m. – Morning routine | Kingman, Arizona

Garcia wakes up, hits the gym for a work out, eats breakfast, showers and is ready for his pre-check inspection and his trip back home.

2:30 p.m. – Break  | Winslow, Arizona

Walks around the truck 22 times, eats a healthy snack, calls home, checks over his equipment.

5 p.m. – Weigh station bypass | Gallup, New Mexico

He drives steadily down the highway, while other truckers pull over, losing time, fuel and money. “PrePass is such an important timesaver for me. I always appreciate how efficient the process is and how much I can pack into those saved minutes,” he says.

– See more at: https://www.ccjdigital.com/our-partners/prepass/a-day-in-the-life-with-ralph-garcia/#sthash.geWkSlUy.dpuf



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50 N. Front St., Memphis TN  38103

901 528 1702    901-528-1702 


established yesterday – subscriptions good until tomorrow – published as news breaks