All Thanks to Great Truck Drivers Everywhere
If you’re in the trucking industry, you’ve heard about the driver shortage. It goes something like this. At the end of 2016, we were short about 36,000 drivers. By the end of 2017–the number was sitting at 50,000. The American Trucking Association (ATA) predicts the shortage to rise to 174,000 by 2026 if we don’t figure out how to better recruit, train, and appreciate our drivers!
Lots of experts believe the driver shortage is contributing to the tightened capacity and rising rates of 2018. So what can we do?
Here at AM Transport Services, we do not take good drivers for granted. In fact, we’re lucky to work with some of the best drivers in the freight business. We’ve been in logistics for 30 years and have had the great fortune of building relationships with a wide variety of folks who spend the better part of their lives on the road.
A few facts about truck drivers:
- Driving a truck is hard work. It requires long-term focused concentration, physical stamina, and the ability to spend long hours alone.
- There are about 3.5 million truck drivers working today.
- While women make up 47% of the workforce, only 6%, or around 200,000 truck drivers are women.
- Truck drivers can spend more than 240 nights away from home in a year and may drive 125,000 miles in that same time frame.
- The average truck driver makes a salary around $43,000 a year.
Did you know that 71% of the nation’s freight is hauled by trucks? It’s a huge percentage. The economy depends upon truck drivers. It’s not an overstatement to say that without truck drivers, the wheels of the economy would stop turning. In other words, we’d better start appreciating our drivers today and every day!
Yes, this week–September 9-15–is National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, but at AM Transport Services, we believe it’s important to appreciate these great men and women every day of the year.
Here are just a few ways shippers can say Thank You to truck drivers every day!
- Don’t make them wait! Truck drivers are paid by the mile and regulated by the hour. That means the more time they are waiting for you to unload or load, the less time they can spend driving. This hits drivers in their wallets.
- Offer pleasant waiting areas! Drivers appreciate waiting areas with televisions or radios, vending machines, and comfortable seating, as well as, access to nice bathrooms.
- Simple respect! Be honest about the status of a load. Speak with drivers (heck, we should try this with everyone) the way you would speak to your best friend. Kindness and respect go a long way.
Don’t forget to say Thank You to your drivers this week, and remember that drivers, like all of us, want to be appreciated every day. You might be surprised by how much a bright smile and a kind word means to the hardworking men and women who travel our roads day and night, keeping our businesses, our stores, and our houses stocked with everything we need!
For more truck driver fun, check out these iconic trucker films:
Convoy (featuring Kris Kristofferson and Kurt Russell)
Smokey and the Bandit (Burt Reynolds and Sally Field)
Breakdown (a thriller with Kurt Russell)
Big Rig (a 2007 documentary about long-haul trucking)
Every Which Way but Loose (Clint Eastwood)
For the musically-inclined, here are a couple good trucker songs:
18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses (Kathy Mattea)
Me and Bobby McGee (Janis Joplin)
Six Days on the Road (Dave Dudley)
Teddy Bear (Red Sovine)
500 Miles (Bobby Bare)