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Highway becomes home for Swift trucker

Published on Thursday, October 4, 2018

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The highway has become home for Andrew Shaffer, a truck driver for Swift Transportation headquartered in Greer.
 

The highway has become home for Andrew Shaffer, a truck driver for Swift Transportation headquartered in Greer.

 



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By GEORGIA GAY

A long stretch of highway crammed with vehicles, most eagerly trying to get to their destinations, may be a big inconvenience to some. For Andrew Shaffer, it’s his job.

Being a truck driver for Swift Transportation headquartered in Greer, the highway becomes home.

Shaffer mostly sees highways and fellow drivers on their phones.

Shaffer, 24, from Walkertown, N.C., has been a trucker with Swift for about a month. He worked in the fast food industry – Wendy’s, McDonald’s, and Denny’s – for six years because his student loan was denied. Shaffer finally had enough. There had to be more out there for Shaffer. That’s when he turned to trucking.

“My father had been a trucker and I can remember as a kid going out with him and being able to see the country,” said Shaffer. However, Shaffer never saw himself as a trucker.

“I wanted to be a structural engineer, or work on building different structures,” Shaffer said. With that falling through, Shaffer had to find an alternative and did in Driver Solutions.

A large demand for truck drivers across the country exists, but the training and CDL license needed for these jobs are often out of reach due to the high-cost of truck driving school tuition.Driver Solutions helps people like Shaffer find a truck driving company and guide them through the process to become a fulltime trucker.

“I filed for a loan through Driver Solutions, took the classes that lasted about four and a half weeks, and eventually had my contract bought by Swift,” said Shaffer. The loan would be paid off through his paychecks and after 13 months

Shaffer has already been to more than eight states and enjoys the traveling side of his job. “I get good benefits while driving and get to see different parts of the country,” said Shaffer. Driving and getting to know different truckers has also shown him that not all stereotypes surrounding truckers are true.

“I’m a person, you’re a person. Not all truckers are mean, we are people, too. I like people, just not when they cut me off on the highway,” said Shaffer with a laugh.

“There will be times when I’m driving and someone will cut me off because they’re on their phone,” said Shaffer. “I can sometimes see people checking their Facebook as they’re driving. I don’t think anyone really considers that,”

Shaffer described how a truck traveling 55 mph and weighing 80,000 pounds takes a football field and a half (150 yards) to stop. “People just really need to pay attention.” Shaffer said. ?

Shaffer learned honking a horn when children gesture is illegal. “The horn shouldn’t be used unless it is an emergency. A driver can be ticketed if caught,” said Shaffer.

Working in fast food restaurants is in Shaffer’s past. Now he frequently finds they are a big part of his diet.

Georgia Gay is a senior at North Greenville University.

 

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