Greg Blair started trucking back when it was easy to get a license to drive truck. In 1975, at the age of 24 he bought a Peterbilt and kept on trucking until 2012, when he was forced to quit due to multiple heart conditions.
Last year Greg Blair sent in a detailed letter chronicling his experiences of over 30 years in the industry. His story is a great way for young drivers to get a glance back at what it was like back then, or for older drivers to have a chance to reminisce on the “golden era” of trucking.
Greg said that before deregulation, truckers had the authority to haul specific commodities to and from certain locations, but that authority looked “more like a phone book than a document.”
Blair points out that back then, there were no cell phones, satellite radios, computers or tubeless tires for trucks, and you had to have a license to use a CB radio.
Engine brakes and air ride suspensions were in their infancy and if a trucker had to travel east, he had to have a cab over. In those early days, Blair says 350 hp was considered a big engine, and trailer lengths were generally 38 – 40 feet.
The interstate system was not completed yet and the nationwide speed limit was only 55 mph. Diesel cost only about 25 cents per gallon and your log book was only checked about one time a year and “it wasn’t a big deal,” says Blair. He also said that he would fill out his own medical card when it expired because there was no long form medical, and it was hard for cops to verify it.
The letter from Blair showed many contrasts between trucking 30+ years ago compared to today, but perhaps the most significant difference revealed by Blair was his feeling that America respected and loved truckers a lot more back then.