While I know many people think of big trucks as something that gets in their way on the highways and roads, as more of a nuisance when you are in a hurry, step back a minute and think about it. Those trucks are what delivers the majority of the goods and products you have in your household to the stores you purchase them from. If it weren't for those trucks you wouldn't be able to drive to the store to get the food on your table, the clothing on your back or even get in that car to drive to the store! Yes trucks even delivered your car to the dealership so you could purchase it!
Many people think that trains deliver most goods however that just is not true and even the goods trains do haul across the country still need trucks to get those goods from the trains to warehouses and then to the stores. Now imagine as a truck driver the laws they must abide by in order to do their jobs. Hours of service regulations, safety guidelines to keep those trucks in good running order and the hours of maintenance due to the extremely high number of miles these trucks run week after week. The expense of maintenance, repairs and general upkeep, not to mention the day to day running of a truck's operation expenses are extremely high. We all complain when filling our car's gas tanks with the high cost of gas these days. A car's gas tank holds an average of 14 gallons so if you are paying $4.00/gallon of gas to fill that 14 gallon tank it will cost you $56.00. Now lets look at it from a truck driver's point of view. An average truck's fuel tanks hold 300 gallons! Yes, I'm serious! 300 GALLONS! And diesel fuel is actually higher nowadays than gas prices are in most places in the country even though gas has to be refined more to be used in a car's engine. Makes no sense does it? So if diesel fuel is averaging $4.25/gallon compared to $4.00/gallon of gas and the truck holds 300 gallons it will cost $1275.00 to fill that truck up with diesel fuel! That's just one cost of the day to day expense of a truck. Add to that of course regular maintenance of PM's (which is oil changes, greasing all of those necessary truck parts so they work properly along with of course making sure all the other fluids the truck needs are filled to the correct levels). Then there is tires, breakdowns (which unfortunately occur more often than any truck driver would like) and other unforeseen problems like delays in loading or unloading.
Time is of the essence when it comes to a driver as they are limited to the amount of hours they can work per the FMCSA regulations. Any good driver, which 99.9% of drivers are will be following these guidelines as they should be. FMCSA is the acronym for Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration. They oversee the trucking industry in order for all of those goods and products you purchase to be delivered safely each and every day. Yes accidents happen. Yes, there are times when a driver will ignore these rules. Thankfully those drivers who do ignore them are the exception to the rule. With the high number of trucks on the road unfortunately the media has a tendancy to focus on the negative rather than the positive of that truck drivers do.
Some of the good truck drivers do? How about banding together to raise money for such things as Special Olympics. How about donating thousands of toys, clothing and much more each year for the Trucking Santas program. They volunteer their trucks to haul necessities to disaster areas without a thought as to whether or not they will get paid for their time or expenses. These are just examples and there are many, many more great things truck drivers do on a daily basis. So the next time you see a truck driver please give them a smile and thank them for their time and service. Because you see there is one other thing you don't realize. While they are doing all of this they are also giving up one huge and very important thing.......time spent with their loved ones and friends. Being a truck driver is a very hard job. It can take the truck driver away from their families and loved ones for weeks at a time. It's not only hard on the driver but on the family.
All I can say is HATS OFF TO THE AMERICAN TRUCKER! WITHOUT TRUCKS AMERICA STOPS!
(And how do I know all of this, you see I'm a retired truck driver. I now spend a lot of my time doing volunteer work however I did as much volunteer work even while still driving. I gave up a lot of my time with loved ones to deliver those goods and products you all rely on to be in the stores. While I no longer drive over the road, I will always give thanks to each and every driver who is still out there giving his life and time so that we can have the ease of going to the store or even ordering online and having those items we purchase hauled by who? A truck driver!)
This is a picture of me with my truck. (A few years ago) Yes I miss the truck but I don't miss the stress or anxiety related to the job. It's hard to describe completely what a driver goes through so someone who has never experienced it could understand. I do have to say I did love my job though and if given the chance would jump right back in that truck and go again!