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A Shout-Out To Truck Drivers

Updated on March 11, 2015
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Trucks Deliver It

Trains, planes, and boats are great ways to move cargo, but they are limited to specific areas of delivery. You don’t see a train track out behind the average mall delivering cargo. What you do see is Transport Trucks. As the saying goes, if you’ve got it, a truck brought it. Trucks are the most efficient way to quickly move cargo from one place to another. Their drivers are a special breed of skilled labour, and while the trucking industry is still very much male dominated, women are joining in more than ever before.

Most drivers start by taking a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) course. In order to receive their license, they must undergo a medical exam, written test, and road test. The stigma of ‘oh, you’re just a dumb truck driver’ still exists, but nothing is further from the truth. Yes, it only takes about six weeks to take a course and obtain a CDL, but stupid people need not apply.

Piloting a truck and trailer requires a sharp mind, attention to detail, and some basic mechanical aptitude. Good handwriting is a big plus because your log book had better be neat and tidy if you get pulled into a weigh scale.

24/7 and 365

Trucking is a 24/7 industry and drivers should expect to work varied shifts. Over the Road Truckers, or Long Haulers as they are sometimes called, are more likely to drive during the day and sleep at night, but it depends on the individual driver and company. Day cab delivery trucks often run all day and night. A daytime delivery driver uses the truck for the day shift, and then a night line-haul driver takes it to a main terminal to pick up more freight for the next day.

Trucking is much more than simply driving a truck. LTL (less than truckload) delivery drivers are constantly dealing with city traffic, tight loading docks, and many different customers who may or may not be happy to receive their freight. The delivery driver is the go-between for the customer and the trucking company. Often the customer won’t see a company salesperson for months at a time, if ever, so their entire perception of the company comes from their experience with their driver. The drivers are often required to manually unload freight, either onto a loading dock, or with a hydraulic tailgate.

Thank a Trucker!

Delivery drivers work in all weather, some of it dangerous.

Obviously, there are good and bad people in any industry, and trucking is no exception. There are lots of drivers out there who are obnoxious and bad news for the rest of the industry, but these are the exception, not the rule. Truckers are average workers, who want nothing more than to get home safe to their families. They work under a lot of pressure, both from their company, and the law. The companies want their freight delivered on time, in good condition, as do the customers. The law wants safe, courteous, alert truckers on the road.

Truck drivers can only work for 14hrs a day. In Canada, they can only drive for 13 of these 14 hours. In the USA, they can only drive for 10 hours. It’s common to be left sitting at a loading dock waiting for a load, waiting on border crossings, waiting in traffic, fuelling, and doing routine maintenance. For drivers who are paid by the mile, a lot of these activities are unpaid. Once out on the road, truck drivers are often required to travel in bad weather, and even while they’re sick.

Truck drivers don’t just have a job, they have a career, and a lifestyle. They may not have a University Degree (though some do), but they are skilled workers all the same. Next time you see a transport truck, remember that the drivers are people too, and the trucks are necessary to the life you enjoy. Be patient, be courteous, and thank a trucker next time you see one.

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