From Sept 9th to the 15th it is
National Truck Driver Appreciation Week!
SJ Markham & Son, Inc. would like to give a shout out to all of the wonderful truckers out there for their hard work and tireless commitment. Truck driving is an incredibly important industry in the United States but it's often undervalued and misunderstood.
Perhaps you've heard about the shortage in truck drivers and how the shortage is predicted to hold back the economy and has hurt all of our wallets? The majority of US goods are moved on trucks. Truckers haul our medicines, chemicals that provide us with clean drinking water, our food and other important goods. Over 70% of freight in the US was moved solely on trucks last year, according to the American Trucking Associations or ATA. That's 10.77 billion tons of freight! Revenue for the industry last year topped 700 billion dollars. A significant amount of goods transported to and from other countries rely on the trucking industry as well. Trucks carried 65.5% of goods to Mexico and Canada in 2016 according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics or BTS.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or FMCSA reports that there are 6.1 million commercial motor vehicle drivers registered in the US. In addition to truck drivers, a number of other jobs are dependent on the industry. Excluding those who are self-employed, the ATA reports that over 7 million people were employed in jobs related to trucking in 2015.
Truckers provide crucial relief during natural disasters. During extreme events and emergencies, hours of services requirements, which require a driver stop after eleven consecutive hours following a ten hour rest period, are lifted for those providing emergency services to affected areas. The FMCSA recently lifted these requirements for drivers providing emergency services to Washington, Oregon, and California due to the wildfires, meaning truckers can drive over eleven consecutive hours in order to provide help. You may have heard of the fake story of truck drivers striking in Puerto Rico after hurricanes devastated the region, but the reality is truck drivers go out of their way to provide aid, working with the Salvation Army to deliver goods where they're needed. When the Texas Trucking Association issued a call for truckers to volunteer to transport supplies and aid in rescue efforts after Hurricane Harvey, those who could help answered (see here).
The future for the industry is promising. The ATA predicts that trucks will transport almost 16 billions tons of freight this year. BTS predicts that of the 22,474 billion dollars of freight shipped domestically in 2045, 16,227 billion dollars worth of freight will be moved solely by trucks.
However, there are real issues facing truckers today. The driver shortage is at the top of the list of driver concerns in 2018 and poor driver retention is also considered an issue (see here). Long hours spent away from home, increased regulations, and low pay are reasons for the high rates of turnover, although the latter may finally be changing with pay increasing due to the driver shortage. Truckers are faced with loneliness, missing birthdays, holidays, and important family events, and having a social life can be a real challenge. A largely sedentary lifestyle can also pose challenges to the health and wellbeing of truck drivers. On top of these struggles, many people don't respect the industry and the work truckers do, cutting them off while driving and viewing them as the villains of the road.
So this National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, let's show drivers the respect they deserve. Remember the billions of tons of freight they move and the challenging working conditions they face. Consider that the majority of goods you rely on were delivered by truck and the sacrifices those truckers made with family and friends to transport those goods safely and on time. Thank a truck driver this week. Whether it's saying thanks to your UPS driver delivering your latest Amazon package or using #ThankATruckDriver on social media, now is the time to give truckers the respect they deserve.