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1/16/2017 4:00:00 AM Write a Letter to the Editor Write a letter to the Editor

Opinion: Appreciate Truck Drivers Every Day of the Year

This Opinion piece appears in the Jan. 16 print edition of Transport Topics.

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By Norris Beren

Chief Executive Advisor

Risk Reward Consulting

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week was Sept. 11–17 last year here in America. It is recognized as a time to honor and acknowledge the nation’s truck drivers for their dedication and hard work and for putting up with extraordinarily challenging working conditions throughout the year.

Instead of trucking companies and vendors making commitments to provide substantive changes and address what’s really important on a daily basis, the “feel good” initiatives come out of the woodwork everywhere for just seven days.

Beren
It’s no wonder new entry and retention for this profession is in turmoil.

The trucking industry suffers from perhaps the worst employee turnover problems of any industry because of issues involving lack of respect, low driver pay, long hours, lack of home time, poor driver relations with dispatch/operations, long waiting times, lack of parking facilities for rest stops and on and on. These are real working conditions that have long needed to be addressed.

During National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, there is no shortage of “feel good” gifts, raffles and other chances to win something offered to drivers by truck stops, truck dealers, restaurants, all sorts of vendors and trucking companies. There is no amount of coffee, free food, baseball caps or points for free stuff that makes up for the conditions and lifestyle to which only a truck driver is exposed.

Then it’s back to business as usual.

This commentary is a reality check, not an attempt to disrespect or disparage any supporters of Driver Appreciation Week. For the most part, the companies involved are not part of the problem. It’s the trucking company CEOs and their executive leadership that need to take notice. Only they can help correct conditions that will make the difference that drivers will really appreciate year-round.

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