Thumbs up when you see a professional driver on the road.
If you could rate the best National Truck Driver Appreciation Week ever held, it still wouldn’t hold a candle to the surprising amount of praise heaped on drivers during the coronavirus crisis. Truckers have been classified “essential” workers. They’ve been lumped with health care professionals, first responders, and others deemed heroes for taking personal risks for the benefit of others.
Quite a different tune than we’re used to hearing!
There’s a dawning realization that a professional driver is not just some nobody, virtually invisible up in the shadowy cab of yet another annoying big rig. Drivers and their rigs have become a welcome sight at food retailers and many other types of business’s waiting on the myriad of products that could be in their trailers. But the daily lives of professional drivers are more difficult these days, just the fact that a driver needs to eat, but can’t always find an open restaurant. Or when he does, he no longer can enjoy what might have been the day’s highlight: sitting down to a good meal in a truck stop diner, in the company of other drivers.
That long-haul driver embraces a new risk – that if he comes down with COVID-19 while far from home, he might end up self-isolating in a lonely truck stop. No doctor to consult in person. No family member to help while he suffers for days, wondering if he’ll make it. Most important in this spotlight on drivers is a greater awareness of trucking’s mantra: ‘If you bought it, a truck brought it’. Though grocery shortages haven’t been severe, there’ve been enough empty shelves over enough weeks for consumers to rethink their attitudes about truckers. There’s a lot more at stake than toilet paper.
While support within the logistics chain has been great, drivers have noted too many instances – often at the docks – where it’s not. As in the ironic sign observed at a Midwestern warehouse: NO TRUCK DRIVERS IN THE WELCOME CENTER.
Drivers are also asked not to use break rooms at other shipper /receiver facilities thus also making it harder and more uncomfortable for them to perform their duties. We are asking for our shipping /receiving friends to please use some common sense and human respect while having our drivers at your plants.
Hey, we’re in this together. Any one of us could be giving – or receiving – a contagious disease, so mutual respect, and even a little humor, goes a long way. As for the public’s newfound respect for truckers, let’s hope it lasts a lot longer than the crisis.
Parts of this blog were contributed from Overdrive Magazine.