Fleetowner 8545 Scania142b

Old drivers never die … but they do retire one day

Aug. 23, 2016

I love stories about old school truck drivers: the kinds of folks who get the job done, day in and day out, without any of the drama that seems all-too-prevalent in our social-media-driven world these days.

[I digress for a moment to emphasize that “drama” most certainly applies to big-time show trucks, like the ones seen here, here and here!]

That’s why the story of Leif Eriksen, a truck driver in Denmark, recently caught my eye.

Nearing 70 and contemplating retirement, Eriksen pilots a 1980-era Scania 142 tractor: a truck with some 2.57 million miles (4.147 million kilometers) on the odometer.

[And he hauls BEER for a living – specifically for the great Danish brewer Carlsberg. How great is that?!]

Yet the no-frills, no-drama approach to guiding his big rig safely along Denmark’s roadways is perhaps what’s most appealing about his career.

Eriksen – who hails from the town of Hadsund on Denmark’s Jutland Peninsula – still spends his
Saturdays washing and attending to minor repairs on his now-classic Scania truck.

Indeed, after owning it so long, Eriksen said he knows exactly where its “sweet spot” can be found while driving.

“I drive nice and easy at 80 to 85 kilometres an hour (roughly 50 to 52 mph). That’s just the right speed, about 1,500 revs per minute,” he noted.

Yet after having in his words “enjoyed a satisfying career,” Eriksen believes he’s now ready for a rest. “I’ll be 70 in October, so it’s about time to retire,” he explained.

It’ll be a loss, no doubt, when Eriksen’s skill leaves the road for the last time – something we here in the U.S. are experiencing as older drivers retire with few young ones taking their place.

Yet trucking will soldier on. That’s just what this industry does.

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