September 12-18, 2021 was National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, an annual celebration to recognize and thank the 3.6+ million men and women who are dedicated to keeping our shopping carts full and ensuring our economy and world continues moving.
Now, more than ever, Americans are experiencing first-hand the vital role truck drivers play in keeping the supply chain moving – especially when it comes to essential items related to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the truth is, truck drivers have long been the backbone of our economy.
While it is crucial to celebrate these often unsung heroes during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, here are three reasons to honor these individuals every day of the year:
1. Their Resolve
The old saying rings true: “If you bought it, a truck brought it.” Today, many consumers might take for granted trips to the grocery store where food items are stocked and plentiful, or to the gas station where we fuel up our cars without any real thought about how and why that gas is available to us.
We have also gotten used to the convenience of clicking “add to cart” and having our purchases show up on our doorstep, frequently within just days. If you take a moment to zoom out a bit, it’s our nation’s truck drivers who are responsible for getting everything from point A to point B, safely and on time.
It’s said that the trucking industry doesn’t stop, and neither do the drivers with wheels on the road. Driving truck often means traveling long distances – drivers drove more than 287.9 billion miles in 2016 -- and working long hours, and drivers may be sacrificing time at home with loved ones as a result. At Trimble, we appreciate truckers’ dedication to their trade, and aim to develop solutions that enable them to work as efficiently and safely as possible.
2. Their Bravery
Especially apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic, truck drivers have put their own health at risk in order to ensure that we have the food, medicine and other supplies we need to keep ourselves and our families safe and comfortable. While more people than ever were staying at home, truck drivers were still on the road, despite the potential risks and working harder than ever to meet the increased demands for supplies.
Truck drivers’ bravery shows up in other ways, too, especially in times of crisis and disaster. 2021 marked the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks and truck drivers played a vital role in the days and weeks following, to get vital medical supplies, food and other needs to Ground Zero. And no matter if there are hurricanes, wildfires, blizzards, etc. – when the rest of us hunker down, truck drivers are often still out on the roads, ensuring that much-needed supplies get delivered, even in the aftermath of an emotionally and/or physically challenging disaster.
3. Their Safety
Driving a vehicle that weighs tens of thousands of pounds is not something that truck drivers take lightly. Remaining accident-free is a goal they strive for every day, which is apparent when you look at the data, including that trucks have an overall crash rate 27% lower than that of other vehicles.
Truck drivers take numerous precautions to ensure they are keeping our highways safe, including rigorous licensing standards, meeting medical qualifications, and logging important metrics such as Hours of Service (HOS). This has resulted in a dramatic decline of truck crashes over the past few decades.
Furthermore, even with pristine driving conditions, the cargo drivers are hauling can be dangerous or require special care and attention. Every day, truck drivers are bringing chemicals or other flammables, livestock, huge machinery, and more across the country. They do so expertly on all kinds of road conditions, weather patterns, through mountain passes, and while navigating traffic jams in our nation’s largest, most populated cities.
How to Get Involved in National Truck Driver Appreciation Week
We hope you will join all of us at Trimble in extending our sincerest thanks to our country’s truck drivers. They are essential in supporting our infrastructure and economy, and they deserve immense recognition not just during one week, but every day of the year.
Transport Topics is also accepting nominations for the Trucking’s Frontline Hero Awards, honoring industry professionals for their honorable acts of the past year, including helping distribute vaccines, ensuring the safe delivery of necessities and providing aid in the midst of natural disasters. Know a deserving individual? Submit an entry by September 17, 2021.
Looking for further ways to support drivers? Later this month, our Supply Chain in.sights virtual series will focus on the theme of “Elevate Your Driver’s Perspective”. During the sessions, industry safety experts and professional drivers who have accumulated millions of accident-free miles will discuss ways to advocate for drivers and the trucking industry, enhance the driver experience, promote safety and compliance, and more. Save your spot at these free sessions today!