5 Reasons Being a Trucker Should Earn More Respect
Being a truck driver is an underappreciated profession. There are nasty stereotypes and the general public often show a lack of respect to truckers when they’re on the road. Driving a truck is often considered to be a “last resort” profession, even for a culture built proudly on the backs of blue collar workers. This mindset about being a truck driver is not only plain wrong, it’s also causing problems as younger drivers don’t take up the reigns for older drivers as they enter retirement age.
We want to correct the narrative. Truckers provide essential services to our country, undergo extensive training, work hard, and provide a good lifestyle for their families. Here are just a few of the reasons that being a truck driver should earn more respect.
1. Our economy would collapse –
This is perhaps the biggest reason that truck drivers deserve more respect. Just about everything that is used or consumed was at one point transported on a truck. This is especially true for essentials like food and household items. Imagine if truckers stopped coming to work. Supermarket store shelves would empty and people everywhere would go hungry. Is your garden bountiful enough to feed your family? We didn’t think so.
Food isn’t the only thing that wouldn’t make it to store shelves. Without truckers, raw materials couldn’t be supplied to manufacturers, new products couldn’t be produced, nothing could be delivered to end consumers, and even the postal service couldn’t operate. Not only that, gas stations would run out of fuel and even “white-collar” professions would have to halt transportation of all kinds failed. Without truckers, our economy would collapse.
Next time you buy a sandwich from your local deli, fill up on the way to work, or check your mailbox, remember that truckers are at least partially responsible for providing you what you need.
2. Lives literally depend on truckers –
Imagine what would happen if hospitals and pharmacies couldn’t get replenished with medicine and supplies. It would only take 24 hours for the absence of drivers to put lives at risk. Hospitals would begin to run low on basic medical supplies and people in need wouldn’t be able to get the help they require. Within a single week, hospitals would be running low on oxygen, leaving thousands of people in dire risk of suffocation. This isn’t even to mention life-saving medicine like insulin and antibiotics getting to the people who need them.
Besides medicine and medical supplies quickly running out, other life-saving products like heating fuels couldn’t be delivered either. People living where the winter is harsh would be at serious risk of freezing. Small children and the elderly are at particular risk if the heat goes out. Within one month of truckers being absent from our economy, bottled water supplies would be gone as well, causing issues for homes without reliable drinking water. Truckers are needed to make sure that these essentials arrive at the homes of the people who need them.
3. Truckers are highly trained –
There’s a misconception that being a trucker requires little skill and no training. This isn’t true at all. Our culture places undue emphasis on a 4-year college degree and often ignores the vocational and training programs used to prepare some of the most valuable workers in our economy.
Truckers go through extensive training to get to where they are. They have to become licensed in the specific type of rig they drive, which is often a CDL license, or they might get certification to handle chemicals or other hazardous materials they’re transporting. Truckers have to pass many tests including physical, written and driving before they can head out onto the road. They need to learn about the industry’s transportation regulations and keep up with the ever-changing laws. New tools like Electronic Logging Devices require them to adapt and learn about new technologies.
Check out this video of a driver completing a seemingly impossible maneuver with his truck. Now tell me that being a trucker doesn’t require skill, training and experience:
4. Truckers are tough, hard workers –
Being a truck driver isn’t for the faint of heart. During a 24 hour period, a trucker is allowed to be on the job for 14 consecutive hours, 11 of which can be behind the wheel. That’s a long day no matter the profession, but truckers need to work these long hours to complete long-haul journeys up to 1500 miles away from home. Truckers are true road warriors, sometimes spending weeks away from home to provide for their families.
It isn’t only the amount of time truckers spend behind the wheel that should earn them respect, it’s also for the difficulty of operating a truck safety and efficiently on the highway. As mentioned above, driving a truck requires training and certification courses, and there’s a reason for that. It’s because driving a truck isn’t as easy as the general public like to think. Though it would be great if every highway was a straight-shot without any traffic on a cool fall day, that isn’t the reality. Truckers need to battle severe weather, rude drivers of passenger cars and navigating unfamiliar and often small roads to drop off their deliveries.
Driving a truck isn’t about sitting behind a wheel and turning it occasionally, it’s about making sure that the products the public needs are delivered safely to their end destinations. This means being hyper-vigilant about drivers hiding in blind spots or zooming around the truck dangerously, staying aware of speed and weight limits, and keeping track of local weather patterns. This level of attention is tough and requires every trucker’s full attention.
5. Community –
Truckers have a strong sense of community despite spending many hours alone each day. Some have developed ways to communicate with one another using their headlights and the majority have strong relationships with law enforcement. Unlike common drivers who often feel anxiety when passing a speed trap set by a cop, truckers typically obey speed limits and have good relationships with the police.
There’s also a stereotype that truckers are unapproachable and unfriendly, something that’s been exaggerated in the media. Though there are undoubtedly curmudgeons in every industry, truckers have banded together to create some truly inspiring organizations. One such organization is Truckers Against Trafficking, a program where truckers can get certified to recognize and report incidents of human trafficking. The program exists to “educate, equip, empower and mobilize members of the trucking and busing industries to combat human trafficking.” Currently, there are 680,153 registered TAT trained drivers and more than 1100 victims have been identified due to the organization’s members. That’s a real difference!
Another organization run by truckers is Operation Roger, an initiative to “help needy pets travel to their new homes and have a better chance at a fun-filled life by giving them a hitchhike in the cabs of their trucks and a lot of TLC enroute.” This organization has united or reunited 970 pets, generally one at a time, with their families.
It’s clear to see that truckers deserve respect for the job they do every day. It’s an underappreciated profession that is truly the backbone of our economy. By transporting essentials, truckers are keeping people alive, fed, warm, and happy each and every day. If you know a trucker, make sure to thank him or her for doing what they do!
From the Kuebix team to every trucker, THANK YOU!