The nation celebrates Truck Driver Appreciation week this year, from September 11th - September 17th. It is during this time that we honor the 3.5 million hard-working truck drivers who keep the nation running and goods arriving on time.
Did you know that 90% of the food we eat is hauled by refrigerated trucks? Or that trucks carry 91% of our nation's lumber and wood?
That's right! In fact, most of the commodities we use daily are brought to us by truck.
Truck driving has been around for over 100 years. The industry began when Alexander Winton of Cleveland, Ohio, invented the semi-trailer, back in 1898. Winton was an automobile manufacturer, looking for a way to efficiently deliver vehicles from his factory. The industry continued to grow as the interstate highway system was expanded.
Today, truck drivers help completely link homes and shops in our country to a global supply chain, moving an estimated 11.84 billion tons on 15.5 million active trucks.
A Few Interesting Truck Driver Facts for Truck Driver Appreciation Week
Truck Driver Appreciation Week is a time to pay our respects to those who keep goods flowing through our nation. But who are our nations truck drivers?
Here are a few interesting facts about truck drivers to ponder as we celebrate the eclectic mix of awesome people who make up the ranks of our nations fleets of trucks.
Truck Drivers Move More Freight Than Most People Could Imagine
Individual drivers will clock an average of over 100,000 miles this year; enough to drive across the US almost 40 times. Because of this, trucks have to be built strong and long-lasting. While the average 200-400 horsepower car engine will only last around 200,000 miles, a 400-600 horsepower truck engine can be expected to last up to 1 million miles. There are so many trucks operating in the US currently, that if they were all lined up they could reach the moon.
Extra Fun Fact: A whopping 70% of the freight moved throughout the US is moved via truck!
Truck Drivers Help Maintain Our Highways
These truck drivers keep our highways clean and in good repair. In fact, they contribute about 36% of the taxes and fees that make up theHighway Trust Fund. Meanwhile, they only make up 7% of the total traffic on our highways. Truckers have also paved the way in developing clean diesel technology. As an example of this, just a single truck in 1988 produced roughly the same emissions as a fleet of 60 modern-day trucks.
Truck Driving is a Profession That is Going Through Some Transitions
While truck driving jobs have historically been a male-dominated profession, about 8% of America's truck drivers today are women according to the ATA. Even better, that number is increasing year over year and there are now initiatives that aim to keep driving that number up. One such initiative created by the ATA to help on several fronts is Women in Motion.
Various other minority groups are also well represented in the trucking industry, making up around 41% of all truck drivers.
They Make The Open Road Their Home
Truck drivers are some of the nation's most integral supply chain workers, spending an average of 240 days away from home each year to keep our economy moving and keep making our lives more comfortable. It can get lonely being out there on the road for most of the year though. That is the reason why about 40% of truck drivers take their pets with them on the road. Others may bring their significant other along, seeing the country together as a couple. More and more truckers today let out their creative side as well; many are photographers, while others practice needlecraft, and yet others still have found new hobbies to explore while on the road.
Extra Fun Fact: As they crisscross the country, about half of those truck drivers prefer to listen to country music, with the rest of them split between classic rock and talk radio.
Driving trucks for a living can be tough at times. It truly takes a dedicated driver to thrive in the truck driving industry. Having said that, it is an essential role for our nation's economy, and those who answer the call should be celebrated... Hence, Truck Driver Appreciation Week!
Trucking and Our Economy
Trucking is currently putting $30 billion per year into the economy by employing not only truck drivers but also millions of support personnel. The trucking industry is no small employer in the US. In fact, 6% of all full-time jobs are in the trucking industry. Walmart employs more than 8,000 truckers alone.
The nation also needs more Delivery and Light Truck drivers. These drivers are projected to earn around $30,500 per year.
The average age of a trucker today is 49. Needless to say but young truckers are urgently needed in the industry as older truckers will go into retirement. Today only about 4.9% of truck drivers are under the age of 24. Already in 2022, the industry is short 48,000 truck drivers to fulfill demand.
The next time you're out on the road, give the hard-working truckers plenty of room; they need 40% more time to stop than a car due to the heavy weights they carry. Also, give them a wave or as head nod wave to show your truck driver appreciation. Who knows, they might even say hello back with a friendly blast of the truck horn.