Have you thanked a truck driver today?

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I just read an article in the September 2021 issue of FleetOwner entitled, “The Importance of Truck Drivers,” written by Michael Roeth, NACFE executive director. In his article, Michael Roeth comments about how trucks and truck drivers are often viewed as nuisances. I asked myself, “Am I guilty of that mindset?” My first response was, “No!” After all, I work in the transportation industry, and I have total respect for truck drivers and for the tough job they perform.

However, as I continued to read the article and think about what he was saying, I had to come clean and be perfectly honest. Yes, I am guilty at times of being annoyed when I am stuck behind a truck in traffic or when sandwiched between two of them on the expressway. Even worse, I am irritated when I pull into my work parking lot and find my parking spot blocked by a semi waiting to  deliver to the plant next door. My irritation is totally fueled by selfishness because I am only thinking about how I am inconvenienced instead of the value of work being executed by that truck and its driver. Michael Roeth wrote his article to remind everyone how significant and important truck drivers are. And yes, I confess I am one of those needing this reminder.

The article reports that there was a short-lived moment at the onset of COVID-19 pandemic when truck drivers did receive much deserved recognition as they worked diligently to keep grocery stores stocked and hospitals equipped with PPE supplies. But how quickly we forget. Thus, I share Michael Roeth’s intent to remind the public just how essential trucks and truck drivers are to our existence.

First, Michael Roeth reports “that trucks transport 70% of all goods delivered across the US.” Just imagine what our lives would be like if trucks shut down and we had 70% less products on our store shelves. Let’s admit it. We are spoiled people and people of convenience. We are used to everything being right at our fingertips. I know I was frustrated on my last few trips to the grocery when they did not have Gatorade or the variety snack pack chips I was wanting to purchase. So, yes, 70% less would definitely get us riled up.

Secondly, Michael Roeth highlighted all the challenges drivers face each day. Following are a few he mentioned:

  • Finding Parking
  • Dealing with horrible road conditions, highway construction, and bad weather
  • Being detained for hours at shippers and receivers
  • Handling and maneuvering a truck loaded to its 80,000 lb. legal limit
  • Coping with the physical and mental demands it takes to drive a cab long hours on the road

Thirdly, Michael Roeth encourages everyone to show appreciation for truck drivers daily and not just during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. Instead of viewing them as nuisances, stop and think about what they are doing for us and the sacrifices they are making to make sure we have easy access to the things we need.

Michael Roeth surely got my attention and I hope by sharing his article, I got your attention too. So today when you go to the store for a gallon of milk or to the gas station to fill up or to the hardware store to buy lumber or to the pharmacy to pick up your medicine, remember you have a truck driver to thank for all your essentials. And for me personally, I vow that the next time a truck is blocking my parking spot, I will knock on that driver’s window not to say, “Move your bleeping truck,” but instead, with all sincerity from the bottom of my heart, I will say, “Thank you for a job well done.”

Roeth, Michael. "The Importance of Truck Drivers." FleetOwner, September 2021, p. 55.