CJeffers

Spotlight on an American Trucker: Chamaine T. Jeffers

“I’m a Brooklyn [New York] native and former military police officer. After leaving the military, I decided I wanted another challenging and exciting career,” Jeffers says. “In 1998, I graduated trucking school and here I am, 20 years later. I’ve enjoyed pulling dry van, refrigerated vans and containers. I now haul dry freight, mostly auto parts from Laredo [Texas] to Michigan.” -- Chamaine T. Jeffers, All State Express, Kernersville, NC

Q: Make of truck and trailer?
A: 2013 Volvo 670 and a 2018 Freightliner Cascadia pulling a 2018 Wabash trailer.

Q: Type of freight?
A: I’ve hauled refrigerated, container, hazmat, and dry goods. I currently haul general freight in a dry van.

Q: How are maintenance and minor repairs handled?
A: I do my own basic maintenance and have minor repairs done at local shops. By doing my own repairs, I keep a better handle on what’s going on mechanically with my equipment. And I’m able to locate and repair minor problems before they become on-the-road breakdowns, costing me more to fix, along with creating customer service delays.
For major repairs, I have a maintenance account fund and utilize national repair chains or OEM dealers.

Q: What are three challenges with your maintenance/repair program?
A: Not being able to utilize a single mechanic or repair facility consistently as an OTR driver. Having to prioritize repairs while maintaining safety. Diagnosing mechanical issues early in order to prevent major issues and breakdowns. To resolve these challenges, I use Verizon Network Fleet software to spot potential problems and schedule repairs.

Q: What are your mileage/time intervals on preventive maintenance?
A: Every 15,000 to 20,000 miles.

Q: How do you ensure good mileage from tires? Which brand of tires do you prefer? Do you use retreads?
A: Constant inspections and proper tire inflation. I use Goodyear tires a lot. I don’t use retreads unless it’s an emergency.

Q: Do you stock any parts for your trucks or purchase as needed?
A: I purchase as needed.

Q: How do you determine when it’s time to replace a truck or trailer?
A: [I replace] when [the truck] has too many issues that aren’t worth fixing and it’s no longer safe for operation. I also look at the amount of downtime due to repairs. When downtime is eating into our ability to be on the road producing revenue, it’s time to think about replacing the truck.

Q: What is the biggest business challenge with your trucking operation?
A: Extensive loading/unloading time, traffic in urban areas, traffic accident and construction backups, and winter weather delays, along with tolls and anything else that hinders the forward movement and profitability of the truck.

Q: If you could change or add one regulation to trucking, what would it be and why?
A: The electronic logging device regulations need to be revised by someone who has driven OTR.

Q: What do you enjoy most about trucking?
A: I enjoy the freedom to work without being micro-managed, the constant travel, and the great pay.

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