Trucker Moses Thomas: ‘I’ve got no complaints at all’

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Updated Aug 10, 2016
Moses Thomas

Moses Thomas has been driving for ABC Transportation since 1978, and from the sound of things, he’s perfectly happy with how things have turned out and is comfortable winding down his career with the Eufaula, Alabama-based truckload company.

“This is a good company,” Moses said during a recent interview with Truckers News. “They’ve been taking care of me for 38 years. My dispatchers and bosses have all been good to me. They let me be off when I need to be off.”

There’s likely a good reason that ABC treats Thomas so well. The 62-year-old veteran is closing in on 3.2 million safe miles, and the Alabama Trucking Association named him first runner-up for its prestigious annual Driver of the Year award at its annual Safety & Maintenance Management Fleet Safety Awards Banquet, held March 21 in Pelham.

“I’ve got no complaints at all,” Thomas said of ABC. “All companies have faults at one time or another. You might as well stick with them and their faults. It all works out.”

Thomas said ABC has many other good drivers who, deep down inside, also are good people – which sometimes isn’t the case among some of the driving populace these days.

“They all try to help one another,” he said of his ABC colleagues. “Some are loners, but the majority of us all want to help one another. There used to be more of a brotherhood out on the road, but not anymore. No one stops to help each other. They’re worried about what might happen.”

Thomas, who’s married and has one son, one daughter and four grandchildren, figures he’ll keep working as long as his health holds up. “Maybe ‘til I’m 66,” he added.

Like ABC, Thomas is from Eufaula. Before starting his career with the company, he served in the Army and gained early experience driving trucks, then got a job in nearby Columbus, Georgia, that lasted “a month or two.”

“Then this job came up,” Thomas said of his beginnings at ABC. There, he had been working for about a year when a driving position became available. “I told my coworker I could drive, and he said I couldn’t,” Thomas said. The coworker – perhaps out of disbelief and a need for proof, or divine intervention – filled out an application for the driving spot using Thomas’ name.

The safety-minded veteran has never looked back. He’s now lived in Pinson, Alabama, for 15 years, and today he hauls mostly prefabricated steel building materials and coils from Pell City, Alabama to Virginia and Mississippi. He returns to various Alabama destinations – McCalla, Eufaula and Pell City. Other times, he hauls to Carson City, Nevada, a three-day run.

Thomas has all of the comforts of home in his 2005 International 9400i, including a refrigerator, microwave and TV. The rig had nearly 1.23 million miles on it in mid-May.

One issue Thomas frequently encounters on his overnight stints is parking. “That’s a big problem,” he said. “The truck stops now are charging us to park. They already make money off of us when we buy fuel and supplies from them. Other places, we get told to move a lot, that you can’t park here.”

Thomas said that when hauling steel building materials, “sometimes you can park at the jobsites, but even that’s an issue now.”

Another issue is one cited by both Thomas and likely many of his fellow drivers: overzealous scrutiny by law enforcement. He recalled a recent Sunday in Atlanta when traffic was bumper-to-bumper on the downtown interstates. “My truck was cut off by a car cutting in front of me, and an officer said I was following too close.” He got a warning.

“We get accused of some things unjustly,” Thomas said of both the incident and the professional driver community in general. “That cost me and my company CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) points. It’ll cost me money to fight it off. It’s unfair. Warnings are still points. Lots of drivers talk about it.”

By comparison, Thomas said, no one watches four-wheel drivers nearly as closely. Meanwhile, there’s also plenty of TV lawyers telling them how to sue trucking companies and drivers for easy cash, which fuels traffic situations similar to the one that led to his Atlanta ticket.

“They’re always saying ‘big truckers have got big money’,” he said. “There’s folks that get all these ideas and just try to get the trucks to hit them. They think they can get a lot of money out of it.” Thomas said he frequently hears similar tales from his fellow drivers.

But through it all, Thomas has remained accident-free. “I just thank the good Lord every day for looking after me,” he said.