Appreciating our drivers
By: Phil Sneed
National Truck Driver Appreciation Week across the country kicked off on Sept. 11. From coast to coast, the middle of the month is the perfect time thank the nearly 3.5 million drivers for the work they provide.
In a press release, American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear described how this week helps raise awareness for the men and women who may not always be recognized by the general public.
"These men and women are safety-minded professionals who deserve our respect and praise," said Spear. "We're fortunate that truck drivers have dedicated their careers to delivering critical goods like medicine, food and school books."
The importance of drivers
If it weren't for drivers and the trucking industry as a whole, every facet of the American economy would be affected.
According to the ATA, about $700.4 billion worth of goods, or nearly 80 percent of all freight, are transported by trucks in the U.S. And it's not just in this country where this form of transportation plays an important role. For instance, trucks bring in about 67 percent of the shipment value into Mexico.
The food industry relies on trucking for the deliveries of food products to grocery stores, restaurants and other establishments. Water also has to be delivered to various locations. As demonstrated by the recent Louisiana floods, truck drivers helped deliver hundreds of gallons of water to the affected residents.
"The impact of trucking truly goes beyond what is reflected in the yearly GDP."
In an extensive study, the ATA looked at how society would function without trucking. Needless to say, a world without trucking or one where truck traffic is severely reduced would look vastly different. The impact of trucking truly goes beyond what is reflected in the yearly gross domestic product and other economic measurements.
And it's not just the various industries that rely on trucking. On a smaller scale, approximately 80 percent of U.S. communities depend on trucking to deliver commodities and other goods. Even the most rural of areas are able to enjoy the benefits of a modern society.
What the week entails
All throughout the week there are many National Truck Driver Appreciation events planned. On Tuesday, morning radio shows broadcasted a live feed from ATA First Vice Chairman Kevin Burch. He discussed the industry and the significance of the week.
Companies are also utilizing other means to show their appreciation. According to Heavy Duty Trucking, Trucking Moves America Forward has an outreach program in place that will place ads on billboards, websites and newspapers to showcase just how important drivers are.
RoadPro, which provides clothing and accessories to make the long hours on the road more comfortable, is holding a sweepstakes specifically for drivers. Truckers can enter a contest for a chance to win products from Garmin, SiriusXM and more.
Companies, community leaders and public officials will all be able to benefit by recognizing and highlighting the importance of drivers. The ATA also has a collection of resources that will help promote National Truck Driver Appreciation Week.