Recap: National Truck Driver Appreciation Week 2017
National Truck Driver Appreciation Week 2017 is coming to an end, and we wanted to take one more moment to say “thank you” to all of the hardworking truckers on the road. Truck drivers play a huge role in our everyday life and our country’s economy, and they deserve our deepest respect and gratitude.
As an industry, we invest a lot of money in maintenance and health of trucks, but not necessarily for the drivers – arguably our most important asset. In a recent New York Times article, one trucker, Greg Hastings, said, “We’re throwaway people. Nobody cares about us. Everybody’s perception of a truck driver is we clog up traffic, we get in the way, we pollute the environment.” The article noted that, while there are 1.7 million men and women working as truck drivers in the U.S., “Truckers — high up in their cabs — are literally out of view for most Americans.”
Truck driving is also one of the unhealthiest professions in America, as 69% of truck drivers are obese. At our annual Carrier Symposium this week, speaker Siphiwe Baleka gave an insightful presentation to our carrier attendees on the importance of living healthy while on the road as a truck driver. Baleka shared his experience of being a driver, noting that he “needed a specific, measurable plan of action that I could do every day on the road to get me meaningful, sustainable results.”
Since drivers lack access to a kitchen, a way to store food and appropriate exercise facilities, Baleka compares long haul truck driving to being an astronaut in outer space without the proper space suit. And there is a direct connection between the health of a truck driver and the amount of accidents they may get in. This makes the health of truck drivers an issue that everyone should be concerned about because we all share the roads.
In order to do our part to help these valuable drivers and their families, we’ve made a donation to the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund (SCF), supported by our ongoing Transplace Cares program. This great cause has helped many drivers and their families, so thank you to all who have donated this week!
To all professional truck drivers: thank you for all of the long hours you put in. The dedicated drivers of this country feed us, shelter us, and keep this economy rolling. As Michael Gallant, another truck driver quoted in the NYT article, noted, “Truck driving is something I’ve always wanted to do since I was a little kid. I love it. There are some times when it’s kind of a crappy job, but other times it’s great. Overall, I’m very happy with my job. I wouldn’t change a thing about it.”
A few other key stats to consider about truck drivers in the U.S.:
- There are ~5 million commercial trucks on the roadways of America, with ~2 million semi-trucks.
- They would almost reach the moon if you lined them up!
- 75% of U.S. communities depend solely on truck driver deliveries.
- There are more than 200,000 female long-haul truckers in the U.S.
- The average small business semi-truck driver can cover over 125,000 miles per year.
- That’s ~3 million miles in a trucker’s whole career!
- U.S. truckers throughout the nation can travel as many as 200 billion miles in one year.
- Combined, they could have driven to the sun and back ~1,000 times!
How did you thank a truck driver this week?