The American Truck Driver: this usually pulls up images in people’s minds of 18-wheeled semis tearing down the interstate, the big burly driver with his canine companion in the passenger’s seat, and the use of CB terms, such as 10-4 and good buddy. What most don’t realize is just how important they actually are in literally keeping America moving. Truckers deliver the majority of all goods in this country (and this is the same around the world). If just half of all truck drivers went on strike or decided not to work for a few weeks, this country would come close to buckling. It would be so bad that the president would more than likely order them back to work.
Look at everything around you: your clothes, shoes, food, the materials to build your domicile/place of work, your TV, toilet paper, lamps, sofa, desk…all have been hauled at one point in their existence by a truck driver before entering into your life. Now imagine if truckers stopped working. How would you get anything you needed? Who would deliver grocery and retail inventory to your favorite stores? Who would deliver beef cattle, chicken, and pigs to the slaughter house to become your ground beef, bacon or chicken nuggets? Who would get the fuel to the gas stations or transport new cars to the dealers? The answer is NO ONE. Sure there could be small amounts of things delivered by people with pick-up trucks and trailers to local grocers and such, but it would not be enough to keep the economy going.
Now having told you how truck drivers are the lifeline of America, how do you think they are treated? What do you think that do with all this power? Well, it is really pathetic. Drivers are treated extremely poor. They are treated like babies: every moment has to be tracked in log books, even when they are at home and not on the truck. Every minute has to be accounted for, for as long as they are drivers. They are limited as to how much they can work in a weeks’ time, 70 hours or less (if a driver goes over this they will be fined and could even be fired). Do you think a CEO, doctor, or even a McDonald’s employee would stand for that? No, of course not. Now, with new laws and regulations enacted in 2010, drivers are suddenly responsible for defects on their company issued trucks. For example, if a company has not serviced a truck and the steering wheel horn is out, but the big air horn works, the driver – not the company gets the ticket. Until now it the ticket went to the owner of the truck, not the employee who has no say-so over the equipment. What have truckers done about this you ask? Nothing but piss and moan about it.
See, even though truck drivers are the heartbeat of America, they demand zero respect. They industry is filled with drivers doing all sorts of free work, such as fueling, checking/airing up tires, cleaning out trailers, securing freight if the shipper did not secure their own load, and much more. This would be the equivalent of your boss telling you that in order to keep your job you have to work extra hours without pay and the government allowing it. The sad part of all this is that truck drivers accept the bad treatment because they are completely divided in every way. There is a race division, region division, owner-operator/company driver division, and even company to company division.
Drivers could gain a hold of their industry if only they were not so divided and cared about being respected for the work they do. Instead, they just sit day after day in the driver’s seat and do nothing more than complain about the high fuel costs, regulations, their treatment, and each other. Maybe one day they will see their value to this country can get together to make something happen for the Trucking industry, though I don’t hold out much hope.