Most people would agree that the image of the American truck driver needs an Extreme Makeover. The average trucker, much like Dallas Cowboys offense, has been viewed inaccurately for some time. In recent weeks a few high profile accidents seem to have dominated the national conversation. One driver in one accident has caused the media to place all drivers under harsh public scrutiny. To combat this negative, and inaccurate, commentary, there is a movement underway to help the general population better understand the modern truck driver. Leading the way is the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and their “Trucking Moves America Forward” campaign. This media campaign is the first of this kind and size meant to show the work being done in the transportation industry.
Years ago driving a truck driving was a well-respected and coveted job. Kids looked up to drivers with a certain awe in their eyes and wished to ride in or drive a truck someday. Truck drivers were viewed as Knights of the Highway and could be counted on to help stranded motorists. What happened to that image? Can trucking regain the image from those days gone by? Truck driving is a highly skilled position and not something just anyone can do. With growing regulations, changes in law and other requirements make the job increasingly difficult and sometimes technical. The industry is still proud to be one full of dedicated professionals who work everyday to deliver the goods.
The mission of this campaign is to re-establish a positive image for the trucking industry. The ATA hopes to inform the general public about what services truckers provide each and every day. Trucking Moves America Forward tells the story about how vital trucking is to the economy. Public education is the most important piece of the campaign. For too long and far too often, policies, procedures and perceptions are shaped by individuals who do not know or understand the industry. By bringing better public awareness, a better understanding and appreciation of these professional drivers can occur.
The public generally does not understand the training and skills required to be a professional truck driver. Oftentimes people driving alongside a tractor and trailer do not know the pattern of the work day. What if people understood that the driver they see is delivering food, medicine, office supplies or parts for a factory? If the drivers and the freight are seen as vital as a plumber, doctor, electrician or teacher, would the profession be better appreciated? The professional trucker is the human behind the wheel that keeps the economic engine running. Even in the midst of a growing driver shortage the transportation industry continues to keep freight moving. Today there are an estimated 30,000 job openings in the industry. How is it that this vital profession is so hard to fill?
When it comes to image there is no single magic bullet that will change public perception. Each individual company and driver must become an ambassador for the industry. Using the tools provided by ATA each and every carrier and driver can begin to correct misinformation and teach the public about the industry. Drivers and professionals in the trucking and transportation industry should take every opportunity to speak to the public on the importance of transportation and today’s truck drivers. Visit both the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and ATA to find your local state chapters and get involved! While the industry will continue to change we can work together to direct the conversation about trucking.
Doing Our Part
Paramount Freight Systems is a proud members of the Ohio Trucking Association, ATA and TCA. We know that when we support our drivers we are supporting and making better the transportation industry. For ways we can assist you please visit us on Facebook or our website www.drivepfs.com