Itinerary of a super heavyweight driver in Draguignan


I had to re-code, but I passed all the exams.

Catherine Bonvicini was born under X, in Chambéry. She was adopted by her mother, Savoyard, and her father, Vietnamese. “I am an only child. My parents have always done everything so that I do not stay idle.”

They succeeded. Catherine never remained without work. “I think I was unemployed for only a month.” She does not have the Bac and has done everything to push the doors of employment. “As soon as I finished high school, I went to special school to do secretarial work.” But finding her in an office? “Never!”

She then turned to a chocolate production company. Two or even three years later, she quit to become a cleaner. There again, she decides to leave and turns to catering. “I became a waitress for a few days then I went to a garden centre. I liked it. To continue, however, I had to do a CAP on a work-study course.” Moment of hesitation. Then, she learns that she can go to the Army. “There was no longer any need for a diploma! And that was my first vocation.”

She joined in 1998. “I decided to change my life. In 2004, I came to settle in Draguignan. I went back and forth for four years to La Valbonne. But I stopped the Army in 2009 in because of health problems. I developed a chronic cough, a hernia in the stomach, I became asthmatic…”

Catherine Bonvicini does not intend to leave here. “I will, moreover, repatriate my mother to my home. My father died in January. I want my mother to stay with me until the end.”

Catherine Bonvicini is exceptional, impressive. Already because she is the only woman in the Dracénoise agency Exa’rent Pizzorno, made up of 45 men. Then, because she is a super heavy truck driver. Baleze.

His baby? A truck 11 meters long with a hitch of more than 38 tons. Number 3040, 186,000 kilometers on the clock. “I take great care of it.”

On board, the 48-year-old blonde travels the roads of the Var to transport waste to treatment centers. “I start at 5 a.m., I finish about 9 hours later and I travel at least 230 km a day. I collect bulky items, cardboard, wood, rubble or plants. I go and get boxes, I empty them, I trade, I tie nets, etc. It’s physical!”

Suffice to say that she does not fuss. “Don’t be afraid to get dirty!”

Catherine Bonvicini is not delicate. On the road, either. “I’m not patient. I’m more the type to get angry behind the wheel and turn the music on loud.” She adds, teasingly: “I’m a pretty calm person otherwise!”

Punctures, breakdowns, hiccups? The driver has experienced tons. Nothing to confuse her for as much: “It took me 11 years to figure out how to back up my trailer without it going all over the place. Better late than never.”

But when we talk about an accident, his radiant face suddenly tenses up. It was in 2011, in Pierrefeu-du-Var. Catherine Bonvicini is working and driving quietly that day when a vehicle hits her head-on. The driver dies on the spot. She is shocked. “I was off for 10 days. The recovery was difficult. I was stressed to ride.” Over time, his trauma fades. “I’m all the more careful now.”

No speeding or crazy driving. The adopted Dracénoise has only made two offenses since the start of her career in the company, in 2009. “The first was a few years ago. I lost 3 points on my license because I had the phone in my hand. I was looking for an address for an unloading. And the hands-free kit didn’t work, I had an old truck.”

Regarding the other, it was last November. Catherine Bonvicini says she did not see a radar. She loses a point. “I was at 63 instead of 50. Otherwise, apart from that, I’m very strict!”

She regularly checks the condition of her super heavy truck and fills it up every evening in case she runs out of diesel. “You never know…” This eventuality has been worrying her since childhood. Already when his father took him to school!

It was he who introduced him to driving. “He ran a driving school with my mother in Chambéry, Savoie. I passed almost all the permits there. I had to retake the code once, but I passed all the exams on the first try.” Car at 18. Then motorcycle, boat, bus and truck at 20 years old.

Initially, Catherine Bonvicini did not like to drive that much. It wasn’t until she was in the Army that she started to like it. “I was in transport and, afterwards, I became an assistant instructor at La Valbonne for five years.” Since then, she never intended to let go of the wheel. “I will continue as long as I can.”