National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is right around the corner — September 8-14 to be exact. This is the week where we honor professional truck drivers for their hard work and commitment to a job that is a vital part of our nation’s economy.
According to the American Trucking Associations, “It’s a chance for the industry to work with the general public, policymakers and members of the media to acknowledge truck drivers for their dedication to safety and professionalism.”
While it is nice to set aside a week to specifically honor drivers and to make the general public more aware of the important work they do, I think we would be wise to acknowledge the contributions of drivers every day. As I wrote in a recent IdeaXchange post, drivers are a key part of my three-legged stool theory. They are the first line of defense in spotting problems with the trucks they drive and their pre- and post-trip inspections are valuable tools in discovering developing problems well before they turn into catastrophic failures.
However, drivers provide more value than that. They are also a key link between a fleet and its clients. As it relates to the delivery of loads, they are the face of the company to the public, in a manner of speaking.
They have a tough job to do given the fact that they have to deal with road conditions, traffic/traffic patterns, weather, freight, delivery conditions, detention, road construction, etc. They do all this while having to work inside fairly narrow delivery windows. Despite all these obstacles, when they arrive at the customer location we expect them to be pleasant, professional and polite…even if they are kept waiting at a dock.
While we provide them with many tools and technology to help aid their performance, the driver is still the “captain of the ship.” Of course, some of the technology we have added to the trucks improves their safety, comfort and performance, but also serves to make today’s trucks more complex.
According to a 2017 Career Addict article, trucking is on the list of the top 25 hardest jobs in the world coming in at No. 7. The list was compiled based on how physically, mentally and emotionally challenging a job is. Jobs deemed harder than driving are being a pilot, lumberjack, prison worker, mortician, oil rig worker, and communication tower climber.
Honoring truck drivers one week out of the month with barbeques, safety awards and other special celebrations is all well and good. The better plan is to demonstrate to your drivers on a regular basis how much you value the important role they play in the success of your company. Remember, without them your three-legged stool would be quite wobbly.