Truck drivers keep the economy rolling and deserve much gratitude.
The value of the company, or owner operator driver, in keeping the economy moving forward, is not well understood by the masses until their anticipated or expected product doesn’t show up in a timely fashion.
Those who move the tangible and necessary products to sustain life and build infrastructure in towns and cities across the country are sometimes so easily overlooked in our instant gratification society.
The demand for immediate accessibility to product, adds even more pressure on trucking companies who must figure out how to find more creative practices and protocols, in hiring, training and providing incentives to keep product moving 24/7, 365 days a year.
Truck drivers must press forward independent of weather, traffic, E-logs, tolls, the price of fuel, tires, maintenance and the rapidly rising costs of insurance, etc., to name a few obstacles and roadblocks that must be overcome to keep product in warehouses and on the local shelves of our favorite stores.
Now add the constant of highway construction and endless legislative and technological changes to this multi-billion dollar a year industry, and perhaps you can begin to see why I believe this group of road warriors deserves our appreciation.
Unfortunately, the average citizen’s experience with truck drivers may sometimes be a frustrating one, especially when finding themselves upset when a fully loaded semi suddenly switches lanes going uphill to pass another truck in their quest to make a timely delivery of their treasured cargo.
This trucker, who may seem aggressive in the above stated scenario, is expected to deliver their cargo, intact and on time, despite the numerous obstacles they must overcome in order to make a deadline. Therefore, they must make numerous snap judgements and decisions on their way to their final destination.
Many of the drivers I know look for ways to shave off a few minutes here and there in trying to deliver on time. Sometimes it works and sometimes the educated guess fails, but the motive of the driver is often misjudged and should be viewed beyond the perspective of rear-view mirror criticism.
Drivers must be at the top of their game in safety, timeliness of delivery, be free of illegal drugs, maintain their equipment, and navigate multiple compliance issues, depending on the cargo or specific state laws, all while maintaining the highest customer service.
Truckers commonly miss many family events and holidays in order to keep freight moving and provide needed income for their families.
I’ve had the privilege to speak with many drivers over the years who have stated in one way or another that driving truck is often rewarding and necessary, but sometimes can be a thankless job. They often wish the consumer would show more gratitude for those who make many sacrifices to ensure food is on the table, the developer has materials to keep building and we can fill up at the gas pump without a second thought. Truckers make this happen!
Remember this, the next time you find yourself frustrated about the number of trucks on the road and your irritation of trying to navigate and share the road with these movers and shakers of the highway.
Truckinfo.net reports the following data:
671 billion dollars in merchandise is shipped yearly
9 billion miles are driven on U.S. highways, 139.3 by class 8 (tractor-trailers)
5 million trucks and 2 million tractor-trailers are on the road.
There are 8.9 million trucking employees, including, 3.5 million truck drivers
There are 500,000 trucking companies operating in the U.S.
We need to find better ways to show our appreciation to those truckers who carry our loads every day. Here’s one suggestion: The next time you are going up hill and a semi pulls in front of you to pass another semi, slow down, and later, when passing them, use your “whole hand” to waive at the driver to show your appreciation for their perseverance at moving the products that you and I rely on every day to make our lives more comfortable.
James C. Perry
West One Finance