Truck Drivers Take Their Profession Seriously
|The Professional Trucker|
The general public's perception of the typical otr trucker conjures up a vision of someone dressed in jeans with holes in the knees, t-shirt with a pack of cigarettes rolled up in the cuff, a scraggly 3-day growth on his face, someone who spits in public, curses in public and does other unattractive things in public. They are perceived as uneducated, ill-spoken and without much of a vocabulary, and often look beaten up, worn out and tired.
And to be honest, they often are worn out and tired. But the majority don't fit the image I just outlined above and many of today's truckers are women. They are very well spoken, mannerly, personable, and often college educated. They are dedicated, friendly and helpful individuals. They are hard-working people who miss their family and are often on the road for three weeks at a time. They are respectful, law-abiding citizens who take their job and their profession seriously.
Unfortunately, truckers are often unappreciated, and their job is looked down upon - but in reality, they are the backbone of our economy, delivering goods to all of us in cities across the U.S., and making our lives easier. I can't imagine how our lives would change if trucking came to a halt.
Many years ago, 1986 to be exact, I was working in Memphis, Tn. While on a highway, I witnessed an accident that looked really horrible. It occurred on the other side of the embankment so I couldn't get there as I was going the opposite way. The very first vehicle to stop and help was an otr trucker driving a truck for J. B. Hunt, which had a major terminal in Memphis. He could have cruised right on by, staying on schedule and making his delivery on time, but instead, he chose to stop and help someone desperately in need. I've seen that scenario several times over the years. That is the American over the road trucker.
The American Trucker - An Honorable Profession
The American truck driver is frequently 1,500 miles or more away from home and family, dealing with traffic, weather, and load schedules. They often have job related health problems, suffer from lack of sleep, poor diet, stress, and worried about violating regulations often forced upon them by their employer. They have to pass DOT, and maintaining an accurate logbook which is subject to review by various officials at almost any given time. They are faced with road congestion and road construction which can cause delivery schedule problems. And on top of all of this, let's not forget road rage exhibited by the general public towards truckers.
Truckers are faced with anti-idling laws, disrespect from shippers, receivers and law enforcement. They are subject to forced dispatch, poor miles, financial worries, and sometimes a $300 pay check for the week. They are subject to unsafe parking areas, lack of parking areas, crime, truck stop beggars, racism, 14 hour plus work days and more regulations and incorrect DAC reports.
These are just some of the work related issues. Let's add the personal sacrifices: missed first steps, missed birthdays, proms, first dates, ball games, school plays, first tooth and first words, anniversaries and holidays. This is not an easy life ....
So, let's try and set things straight. Most of the general public, dispatchers and general trucking company employees, if forced into an 18-wheeler to live the life of a professional trucker, would wimper like a lost puppy, begging to come back home. They don't stop to think that almost everything that is available to them is there because a truck driver made certain that it was.
Truck drivers keep America moving and provide us non-truckers with the comforts of life that we have come to expect and take for granted. As a professional truck driver, you are the backbone of this country, maybe more than you and the general public realizes.
Truckers Are Crucial ... And Needed
Truckers are valuable ... they are important ... they are skilled ... they are intelligent ... they are significant ... they are crucial ... they are needed. And they deserve to be respected for the contributions they make to America.
Whether you are a newcomer or a veteran driver, remind yourself that while you sometimes may feel that truck driving is an unappreciated job, yours is an honorable profession. You've gone through extensive training and hard work to get where you are. You've had to pass many tests; physical, written, driving and skills. You've learned the skills of driving, navigating and maneuvering a big rig. You've learned the regulations of the industry, and how to maintain accurate records that will pass inspection. You've learned what life is like on the road for long periods of time being away from your family. You've learned a trade, and although others may say differently, you are highly skilled. You've made a career of long haul driving, and you are now included among an elite group making a living in an honorable profession.