Yes, it’s true. I WAS once a rookie truck driver.
However, the word ‘rookie’ is not intended as an insult to any trucker.
What’s the Real Meaning of the Term Rookie Truck Driver?
Rookie, is but a descriptive word. In the Oxford English Dictionary, rookie is defined as ‘someone who is new to the job’.
So at some point in ANY career, an individual is new to the job.
Being a rookie does not imply that the worker doesn’t do his/her job well. It merely means the worker is new to the job.
It also doesn’t matter if the driver has been driving for 20 months or 20 years.
The object of a truck driving job, is to hone your skills and become a better driver.
I’ve known other truck drivers with 7-10 years experience who at some point became over confident and made very stupid mistakes. I call these ‘rookie mistakes’. They are mistakes which an experienced driver should not have made, because they should have known better, given their experience behind the wheel.
There’s nothing wrong with being a rookie. But there is something wrong with being a rookie if as a professional driver, you are not consistently learning and improving your driving skills.
Training Rookies With Rookies?
The American Trucking Association (ATA) tends to promote training new drivers with trainers who are new drivers (rookies). I am not in favour of training rookies with rookies!
Two drivers in a truck : one with 6 months experience and one without any experience whatsoever is not my idea of what truck driver training should be. This practice should be illegal.
The focus with this practice is to move freight to make money, not train and mould safe conscientious drivers.
The level and the skill set of the driver you become is UP TO THE DRIVER.
It’s the time and effort the individual driver puts into improving driving skills, which will take a driver from the rookie stage, to the professional driver.
I have been driving professionally for more than 40 years.
If I decided to take a job as a truck driver, hauling over sized loads, I would be a rookie at this type of trucking.
I would be new to the job with a lot to learn.
No one else is any different when they commence with a new job.
Graduating From Rookie Truck Driver to Professional Truck Driver
However, the object is to become consistently better and better at your driving skills as each year passes. Learning is accumulative. The more experience you have as a driver, the better driver you should be.
A truck driver must WANT to improve their skills. They must WANT to be a better safer driver. It’s not just a matter of hopping behind the wheel and hope all goes well. Truck driving does not work that way.
If a trucker concentrates and focuses on his driving each day, he WILL become a better driver. But it truly is a job which requires the driver’s full and undivided attention.
If the driver is more interested in who his latest text is from and other forms of distracted driving, or driving too fast for road conditions, they will always be a rookie, no matter how many years of driving experience they have.
When I started my truck driving career, my goal was to be the absolute best driver I could be.
I would follow experienced drivers and learn from them. I would observe their actions and ask them a lot of questions.
No need to take offence by the use of the term, ‘rookie’. It’s nothing but a descriptive word, not an insult.
Work at your driving skills and become a better driver. Be focused at being a better, safer driver, each day you are behind the wheel.
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