American Trucker Magazine
Richard Milam

Spotlight on an American Trucker: December 2017

Richard Milam | Road Runner Driving School, Sharon, TN The training program of Road Runner Driving School (RRDS) focuses on lectures, assignments, and hands-on training. The class is a three-week,160-hour course in a 2013 Freightliner and a 53-ft. Great Dane trailer. Classes are small so students receive extra time behind the wheel with the instructor.

Q: What’s the primary focus of Road Runner Driving School?
A: We provide students with a solid foundation of knowledge and skills necessary to become safe and responsible truck drivers.

Q: In teaching future truckers, what are the three biggest challenges?
A:

1. Electronic logging vs. paper log.
2. Manual vs. automatic. I train on a 10-speed manual transmission. Because students have heard most larger trucking companies have automatic trucks, they want to learn to drive with an automatic transmission.
3. Safety is a priority, and teaching students to take it seriously is tough.

Q: What are three important lessons a graduate should take from RRDS?
A:

1. Safety! Ensuring the truck is safe and operable and road/driving safety.
2. Confidence. When a student has been trained right and applied themselves 100%, they’re confident they made the right career choice as well as confident as a driver.
3. Apply, prioritize and pace yourself approach. There’s a lot of money to be made in the trucking industry, but not at the expense of family. Many new drivers learn that lesson too late.

Q: How’s maintenance handled?
A: We have a local shop that maintains the truck every 12,000 to 15,000 miles.

Q: How are major repairs handled?
A: If the repair is more than our local mechanic can handle, we take the truck to a Freightliner dealership.

Q: How do you handle maintenance to minimize downtime?
A: Operational hours of the school are Monday – Friday. If the truck or trailer needs to be maintained or serviced, it’s scheduled on weekends.

Q: How do you determine when it’s time to replace the truck/trailer?
A: When the cost of maintenance exceeds my expectations of the truck. The age of the equipment and mileage on the vehicle are also factors.

Q: What specifications do you look for in your training trucks?
A: The trucks need to be 10-speed. I prefer to have pre-DEF emissions equipment and condos to seat students comfortably.

Q: What one trucking regulation would you change if you could? Why?
A: I know there’s a lot of hype to the federal regulation on ELDs. Some think it’ll cripple the trucking industry; others tout it as a safety move. I see the pros and cons of ELDs; there’s work yet to be done in order to protect the driver and satisfy the Feds.

Q: What do you enjoy most about operating a truck driving school?
A: Since 2006, I’ve helped over 1,000 students get their CDLs. Many of these alumni keep in touch with me to this day. (Facebook makes the world a smaller place.) I’m thanked often, and told I “changed their lives.” It makes me feel like I have made a difference.

Q: What does your company do best?
A: Change people’s lives.

TAGS: News
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