Truckers are the lifeblood of our society in a lot more ways than you could imagine. The trucking industry is absolutely massive and the network of those on the road is mind-boggling, but for good reason. Without them we wouldn’t have store shelves stocked on a daily basis and most of our mail would take much longer to arrive.
But surrounding the career of a trucker is a lot of misconception. Much of this is fueled by our media or the short times we spend with them on the road. This article will clear up a few of these misconceptions to help give you a better understanding (and appreciation) of those road warriors.
#1: They’re aggressive drivers
You’ve been on the highways. When is the last time you’ve seen a semi-truck driver going way over the speed limit, dipping and weaving between traffic, riding bumper to bumper for now apparent reason, and suddenly cutting across lanes to the off-ramp?
You’ll almost never see this happen (and I bet you probably haven’t, anyway).
Truckers are very safe drivers because they understand the dangers of driving such a big rig. There are also road laws in place to keep them from being in the passing lane. Many trucking companies also track their drivers with GPS to ensure they’re not speeding.
#2: They’re accident-bound
Truck driving accidents account for just 2.4% of all car accidents on the road. Trucks are 3x less likely to be involved in an accident compared to cars (see the stats). Despite being around 500,000 truck-related accidents each year it pales in comparison to the 5,615,000 car accidents in the United States in 2012 (and that’s just 2012!). Overall most accidents you see truckers involved in are ones caused by motorists. Accidents still happen but when you look at the bigger picture it’s quite apparent that truckers being accident-bound is just a major misconception.
#3: Their trucks are dangerous
Semi-trucks are behemoths of the road and may cause your heart to flutter when passing but the technology behind trucks are absolutely top-notch. Take a look at www.nexttruckonline.com and you will see how robust and extensive options are for truck drivers and trucking companies. Safety is always a factor in the purchase of the truck and parts. These machines also go through regular maintenance (more so than the average auto on the road) because they’re used so heavily. So next time you’re driving and you have a truck on one side and a sports car on the other … you better keep an eye on that car because they’re the ones likely to get you in trouble.
#4: Their just a “good ol’ boy” network
There’s a huge misconception that the trucking industry is just full of men. The industry is indeed predominantly male but there has been a rise of females taking to this career choice. Out of the 3 million truckers you’ll find on the road you will find 200,000 of them to be female. This number has actually increased by 50% since 2005.
#5: They’re paid really well (or not)
Some see truckers with big, expensive rigs and immediately assume they’re loaded. Others see them with worn out machines that look like they’re living paycheck-to-paycheck. Like all careers there is a lot of variety. Truckers can make anywhere from $20 – $50,000 (on average) a year.
The reason why you may see some with more than others is the same as when you look at an employee and their boss – if they own their truck (or a fleet of trucks) then obviously they’re doing very well. Overall though truckers are able to make a decent wage and save money since they’re constantly on the go (no temptation to spend money).
#6: They’re the substance-abuse type
On a bit of the serious side is an issue that isn’t at all serious within the trucking community. Truckers are under strict guidelines when it comes to their job. At least 50% of trucking companies require truckers to take regular substance tests. Truckers also have to have squeaky clean backgrounds (which goes through a lot of checks). Truck companies are also fined heavily if one of their drivers fails a test. So you can bet that everyone involved is staying as straight edged as they can.
Truthfully we can all agree that truckers are good people (like you and me). They’re out there making an honest living. They’re providing a necessary service to our society. There are some bad eggs in the bunch but overwhelmingly the trucking industry is full of professional, well-mannered, and highly respectable individuals that deserve our praise for the hard work they put in.
What kind of misconceptions did YOU have about truckers (before reading this article)?