Ralph Garcia, a professional truck driver with ABF Freight System Inc. and a member of America's Road Team, told Obama administration officials about the rewards, and challenges, of a career in trucking during a White House forum as part of National Transportation Week.
"It was an honor to be invited to the White House to promote something I believe in so strongly – the importance of the trucking industry," Garcia, a native of Rio Rancho, N.M., said following the forum.
Garcia was one of 20 transportation professionals that participated in the May 16 White House "Champions of Change" roundtable that focused on how best to promote careers in transportation.
"There's no better way to earn a living than behind the wheel as a professional driver," Garcia said. "In my 30 years as a driver, I've seen so much of this great country that I wouldn't have had the opportunity to experience."
The government, Garcia said, could to more to encourage Americans to explore a career, or remain, in the trucking industry.
"Companies like mine are always looking for safe, conscientious and responsible drivers, and those qualities are found in spades in our armed forces," he said. "Making it easier for our fighting men and women to transition into jobs in trucking would be a win-win for everyone involved."
Garcia also said the federal government should be conscious of the impact of new and changing rules on drivers, using hours-of-service as an example.
"As a professional driver, I want to be safe on our roads and my more than 3 million accident-free miles can back that up," he said. "The rules we have now work, and changing something that's working just doesn't make sense and will hurt drivers like me."