The author of this message to the general public in appreciation of drivers is Greg Fulton, president of the Colorado Motor Carriers Association.
Annually, Truck Driver Appreciation Week gives us an opportunity to express our thanks to those people who bring us all the things that we have in our homes, businesses and schools. Everything in our country, whether it be food, fuel or furniture, at some time is carried by a truck driven by one of America’s 3.5 million professional truck drivers. Truck Driver Appreciation Week, taking place officially September 14-20 this year, provides all of us with a chance to recognize the contributions of these individuals who safely and efficiently provide us with the essentials of life.
The U.S. Postal Service’s motto — “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers” — could easily be applied to America’s truck drivers, who are a critical part of our overall well-being. Studies show that most service stations have fuel supplies of no more than two days, most grocery stores realize serious shortages within three days, and severe problems occur for hospitals if they do not receive daily shipments of health care products. Trucks are used to meet those critical needs, and truck drivers are key in making this happen.
They accomplish this despite the logistics challenges of weather, highway closures, accidents, and etc. In many cases these situations require them to drive in road conditions that many of us will never experience — or even consider. They do this because they realize the importance of their shipments to people like you and me.
While we see trucks on our highways every day, many people have never met a professional truck driver. For them, drivers are merely a face behind a large windshield. Few understand the level of training involved in being a truck driver, the many regulations and laws with which they must comply, and the challenges involved in navigating a large vehicle on our nation’s highways each day. For many, their only interaction with truck drivers occurs on the highway. As a result they may complain about the truck driver that may be following too closely or inadvertently cuts them off, while forgetting the thousands of others who were safe and courteous. These professionals, for whom safety is the highest priority, are the standard in the trucking industry. They are also the key reason why the accident rate for trucks has continually dropped for the past twenty years.
So who are these people? A large percentage of them are proud veterans of our armed forces. They are patriotic and feel a commitment to our country for all the blessings that it has bestowed upon them. Most have families, and despite the distance and time away, which can be a couple of weeks or more, they have close relationships with their spouses and children. They are generous to a fault, and as a group give more of their disposable income to charity and helping the less fortunate than others. As a class, they also are people who are very compassionate. Whenever there have been major disasters or tragic events, such as 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina, truck drivers were some of the first people to help. In many cases they took time off from their jobs and donated not only their time but their trucks because of a desire to help their fellow citizens.
Professional truck drivers also tend to be selfless. If there is an accident on a highway, in many cases you will see a truck driver stopped and rendering assistance to the people involved or helping law enforcement. Each year there are countless stories of truck drivers risking their own lives to rescue others involved in a crash. They don’t do this because they wish for attention, but merely because, as they often say, “it was the right thing to do.”
While that may be the case, many other people traveling on that same highway on that day did not stop.
Sometime this week I would encourage you to go up to one these professional drivers and thank them for bringing all of us the quality of life that we enjoy in this country.