Less than a generation ago, most truck drivers conducted business just as their fathers and grandfathers had: from roadside public pay phones and with a shoebox full of paperwork and receipts under one arm.
Then came cell phones, followed by satellite positioning systems, increasingly affordable and portable computing power, the Internet, and, finally, technology that pulled it all together: the smartphone.
Trucking hasn’t evolved into the space age world of the Jetsons, but the industry has moved into the cloud. Now, through company intranets and global social networks, a driver and his truck are constantly connected for business and for recreation, and—as drivers increasingly recognize—for better and for worse.
Most obviously, the same technologies that let drivers instantly reach friends and family also expose drivers to interruption and distraction. And while communication tools combined with load-matching databases make for a much more efficient marketplace, a just-in-time supply chain puts a great deal of pressure on the men and women behind the wheel.
American Trucker Editor Kevin Jones talked with drivers for the April cover story, and it turns out that even self-declared “old-school” professionals have come to rely on a full range of gadgets and services that they couldn’t have imagined when they started their careers.
Indeed, so much technology has been so seamlessly integrated into the cab and into everyday trucking that most drivers hardly give it a second thought.
Yet despite this pervasive connectivity, veteran truckers feel more isolated than ever on the road. What’s going on?
Find out what they're saying on AmericanTrucker.com.