Deserved Recognition

Everyone likes a little recogni-tion now and then, a pat on the back for a job well done. But nobody gets it less or deserves it more than truck drivers. This month’s designated National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is one opportunity for trucking company owners and truckstop operators to take time to thank the men and women who drive the trucks and patronize the truckstops.

Just about everyone is jumping on this year’s National Truck Driver Appreciation Week bandwagon. Truckers News editors, art directors and sales people will be serving hot dogs and Cokes to truckers at the local truckstop. It’s an honor I’ve enjoyed over the years, and an opportunity to do exactly what the intent of the celebration has always been: to say thanks for a job well done.

No doubt about it, trucking is a pretty thankless job and trucking news usually hits the local newspaper in the form of truck accident coverage. Every time one unsafe trucker loses control of his rig and makes the front page, it’s 10 steps backward for the rest of you.

Unfortunately, good news is not always newsworthy. When a trucker accomplishes something monumental like driving a million safe miles, there’s nobody out there alerting the media. But safe drivers are the ambassadors of this industry. Safe and courteous drivers leave a lasting impression. Unfortunately, so do speeding, rude drivers. It’s a public relations battle out there, and in spite of a few bad apples there are more good guys than bad guys.

The positive media generated by organized events such as Naitonal Truck Driver Appreciation Week is one way to spread the good news about truckers who are also Little League coaches, and community and church volunteers. Not everyone sends a letter to Ann Landers thanking the trucker who stopped and helped their grandmother change a tire, but the times that good trucking news is reported make an impact.

Shell Rotella T wants to recognize safe drivers and promote them within the industry and their community. Beginning in September, the Shell Rotella T Safety Crew will spotlight drivers with a million safe miles under their belt. Each month, one driver will be profiled in Truckers News. Featured drivers will be chosen based on their overall safety record, along with demonstrated community leadership characteristics. Shell will be looking for safe drivers who also go the extra mile in their community by volunteering their time and talents.

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Every month a list of million-safe-mile drivers will be displayed in this magazine, and the local newspapers and media contacted to spread the good trucking news. Shell’s Shirley Yin-Piazza is excited about the new program and its potential impact both in the trucking community and the popular press.

“Health and safety on the job is key to the daily performance of our duties at Shell. But, also very important to us is the safety and welfare of our customers, the truck drivers of America. That’s why we have always supported and will continue to support programs that promote safety and recognize truckers who exemplify safety on the road,” Yin-Piazza says.

The first step toward improving the image of America’s truckers is by recognizing the leaders among us and encouraging new drivers by example. Shell’s program is one example of the trucking industry’s effort to improve trucking’s image.

Saying thank you, recognizing safe drivers and encouraging media coverage of local trucking heroes are all ways to leave a positive message in the mind of the driving public. From all of us at Randall Publishing, thanks for a job well done.