by Pride Transport | May 09, 2019
Truck Drivers are the Country’s Backbone
If I said; “Without them, in one month the country would be totally disabled, come to a standstill and we’d experience violence, looting, riots and the complete breakdown of civilized behavior”, who would you think I was referring to? The police? Government officials? The medical profession? All of those would be good guesses but they’d be wrong. No, the people that are holding this country together, keeping it moving, supplied and fed are truck drivers.
If They Stop Civilization Stops
70% of all freight transported annually in the U.S. accounting for $671 Billion worth of manufactured and retail goods is delivered by trucks. Without trucks and those that drive them within weeks, we would have no clean water, no medications, no gas for cars, no money for banks and ATMs. If you pick up an object in your house, put on a piece of clothing, serve a meal to your family, chances are it got to you via a truck.
They Don’t Get the Respect They Deserve
Despite the literally life-saving service they provide, truck drivers are not given the kind of respect and thanks they deserve. From the people they share the road with, the four wheelers, to the images of them in the media and Hollywood, truck drivers are painted as lazy, nefarious, dirty scoundrels who hog the road and skirt the law at every chance. This image, this idea of the American truck driver is just not true.
5 Serious Misconceptions
Dirty, overweight Driver.
A large percentage of the population think the American truck driver never showers, doesn't change their clothes, never tidies up their truck and eats junk. Although some truck drivers are lax in their attention to hygiene this is not that case for all truckers. They shower, change clothes and keep themselves clean and presentable.
A job that requires being seated for 11 to 14 hours a day does present problems with weight control but that is certainly not unique to truck drivers. Most truckers have done research to change their diets, eat better on the road and exercise during their non-driving time.
The Foul-mouthed Driver
The CB radio is not helping to change this stereotype; once a useful tool of communication before cell phones, it’s now used as a channel for bored and frustrated drivers to swear and rant about politics, four wheelers or anything else they want to complain about. Once again this does not apply to all truck drivers. There is a prevalence of well mannered, thoughtful, educated, well-spoken drivers on the road who far exceed the foul-mouthed few. If you think about it there are a few foul-mouthed stockbrokers, politicians and police officers as well, but they are not the norm.
The Illicit Behavior Driver
Another misconception is that truck drivers all do drugs, drink on the job and solicit prostitutes or “lot lizards” at truck stops.
Carriers require drug and alcohol testing for all driver so this stereotype really doesn’t apply. As for prostitutes- yes this can happen but, it happens to businessmen, politicians, doctors and those in other professions as well.
The Road Hog Driver
There is a misconception that truck drivers don’t respect the road or those they share it with. Again, this is just not true. Truck drivers are professionals and safety is their number one priority. Not just their own safety but the safety of everyone they share the road with.
Keeping to the speed limit, being extra cautious in poor weather, giving room between the haul and the surrounding vehicles, are all precautions a vast majority of truck drivers take. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of all accidents involving a car and a truck, 80% of them are caused by the driver of a car.
A Boys Club
Although it is true women represent a small percentage of professional drivers, they are still just as capable and proud of their work as men. Women are breaking in, challenging the Industry and getting paid equal wages to men which is not common in other professions. For now, it may be a male-dominated industry however, it is open and welcoming to women.
Change the Perception Save the Industry
There is a major shortage of truck drivers in the United States. Studies show the industry needs at least 50,000 more drivers to keep the cost of goods down and to keep the country supplied.
There are several reasons for this shortage; the work isn’t easy, there’s a lot of alone time and it can be a dangerous job, however, one major factor that’s keeping people away from the industry is an antiquated, negative perception of truck drivers and the trucking industry.
Drivers and trucking companies can spend money on advertising with promises of big bonuses all they want yet until they drastically change the image of truck drivers, they’ll still have a shortage. Companies and individual drivers must do what they can to dispel the misconceptions of truck drivers and show the truth about how vital they are to the health and economy of the nation.
With some unified effort, the trucking industry can dispel these five and other misconceptions and return trucking to the days when drivers were road warriors and highway heroes once again.