Daily News Editorial
This year, Aug. 24-30 is National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, a time to thank those drivers who bring food to your table and a home for over your head.
Years ago, it was the railroads that carried most of the raw materials and much of the finished goods throughout America. That’s still the case in many European countries.
However, that began to change in the U.S. when President Dwight D. Eisenhower proposed the national interstate highway system. Since then, just about everything that we use in our daily lives is shipped by truck.
Probably one of the best ways to honor these dedicated men and women is to look at how they spend a typical day at work.
Their day starts early. Very early. Long before the rush hour traffic begins to thread in and out of our nation’s cities, they’re headed into the inner reaches of the cities to load or unload. If they’re in the eastern cities, they’re dealing with narrow streets and low overpasses. If they’re in the west, they’re dealing with high, mountain passes. If they’re in the desert, they’re dealing with baking hot weather that would sizzle the scales off a Gila monster.
They have to watch their weight so there’s not too much on any given axle. Oftentimes, that means trying to tell loading crews that don’t even speak English how to load their truck right. And if they should go overweight, they have to pay fines and make their weight right. They also have to undergo spot checks which can become so invasive as to include drug testing.
They’re expected to get their loads across the country in record time and in good shape but without going over their hours of service or the speed limit. That means pleasing dispatchers and police and scalemasters all at the same time – an impossible job.
If they’re independents, they need to deal with high fuel prices and brokers who pocket some or all of the fuel surcharges. They even have to deal with four-wheelers that try to pass them on the right when they’re making a wide right turn.
Despite all this, they’re expected to continue to be the “Knights of the Road” that they were when they actually had the time to do everything they were expected to do. Today, they’re driving on deadline, maybe even past deadline, and still expected to stop and help someone in distress. What’s so amazing is that they usually can and do.
American truckers are a rare breed indeed. They drive in any weather but they still get the job done.
So thank them. Honor them. And remember.
Without truckers, it just wouldn’t get done.