1. Truck Drivers Kept Going When the World Stopped
Although the nation’s 3.6 million truckers should be remembered and appreciated on a daily basis, the American Trucking Association founded National Truck Driver Appreciation Week in 1998 to bring more awareness to these hard-working and dedicated men and women. This year, Trucker Driver Appreciation Week is from September 12-18.
We all take for granted the fact that there’s always plenty of products on the shelves, medical supplies on hand, and food in our grocery stores, and we have truckers to thank. The country’s reliance on the trucking industry became increasingly evident this year during the Coronavirus lockdown when big rigs were among the only vehicles on the road.
2. Supplying the Country with Home, Medical, and Comfort Goods
Truckers truly kept the country running as the pandemic has made its way around each state. When toilet paper, disinfecting supplies, personal protection equipment, medical supplies, and grocery items were in short supply during mandated lockdowns, truckers put longer hours on the road to get all of these goods where they were needed the most.
Even as truck stops, gas stations, and other rest and refuel areas frequented by truckers were closed indefinitely, truckers showed resiliency and adaptability to get the job done. And as the Coronavirus vaccines became available, truckers once again stepped up to make them available nationwide.
3. Navigating a Stressed Supply Chain
As if navigating a global pandemic wasn’t enough, an additional challenge for truckers this year has been the U.S. supply chain. With ports still behind and continuing to face lockdowns due to the pandemic, plus the temporary blockage of the Suez Canal, the striking of longshoremen, and fires at a Japanese computer chip factory, the supply chain continues to be a comedy of errors.
Having to navigate new routes, limited staffing, and other big supply chain issues has not been easy for the trucking industry, and experts forecast that the supply chain may not see any real relief until well into next year.
4. Adapting to Hours of Service and Other Regulation Changes
Keeping the country stocked and running takes a lot of hours, miles, and self-sacrifice, and top of it all, truck drivers have also had to adapt to major changes in Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. At a time when truckers are working harder than ever due to the pandemic, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration passed new HOS rules in the Fall of 2020 concerning:
- Short-haul exceptions: Expanding the exception to 150 air-miles and allowing for a 14-hour work shift as part of the exception
- Adverse driving conditions exceptions: Expanding the driving window by up to 2 additional hours
- 30-minute break requirements: A break of at least 30 consecutive minutes after 8 cumulative hours of driving and allowing an on-duty/not driving time to count as that required break
- Sleeper berth provisions: Allows drivers to meet the 10-hour minimum off-duty requirement by spending at least 7 hours in the berth combined with at least 2 hours inside or outside of the berth.
5. Getting the Job Done Through Heavy Traffic, Hurricane Season, and More
The country’s needs for long-haul, short-haul, and last-mile deliveries stayed constant this year as people looked to e-commerce to fulfill their needs rather than shopping in person. When there was minimal traffic on the road, a full resurgence of traffic after lockdowns were lifted, and unpredictable weather during the heart of this year’s hurricane season, truckers continue to be the backbone of America.
And as the pandemic continues with the Delta variant, truckers are still carrying America forward with vaccines, medical gear and equipment, and more.
Whether you know a trucker whom you can thank personally or whether you give a wave to one you see driving down the road, take a moment to thank a trucker today for their continued dedication to a job that requires long miles and long hours away from home. We appreciate you!