Perspective: Truckers Are Undeniably Essential

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The term “essential” came into sharp focus during the pandemic. The urgency of the moment forced Americans to recognize the many hands at work that keep our society going. There was an outpouring of gratitude for our nation’s truck drivers, rightfully so, as they persevered through adversity to keep stores stocked and hospitals supplied.

But the true meaning of essential isn’t momentary. It isn’t fleeting like our country’s attention span. It doesn’t come and go like the news cycle. To be essential is a duty that endures. It’s constant. And as the severity of the pandemic wanes, the indispensable role that truckers play in our daily lives remains as vital today as it ever was.

Just ask the people of Jackson, Miss., who right now are suffering through a weekslong water crisis. American Trucking Associations is proud to be coordinating relief loads into the city, with our member companies already having delivered more than 1 million bottles of drinking water — the most essential good of all. For those residents, the sound of our engines is a herald that help is on the way.

Chris Spear


Of course, being essential isn’t limited to times of crisis. The drinking water that millions of Americans consume daily depends on purification chemicals delivered by trucks. The food we eat, the clothes we wear, the medicine we take — all of it is brought to us by a professional truck driver. Without them, the countless material blessings that fulfill our lives would not be within reach. These men and women are the heartbeat of America.

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, which took place earlier this month, is an annual opportunity to stress these points. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life and throughout the changing seasons, it’s easy for Americans to lose sight of that bigger picture. For those who don’t work in trucking, it’s hard to comprehend the sacrifice, dedication and skill required to keep the economy’s supply chain moving. But in order to understand why truckers are essential, all they need to do is look around.

There are millions of reasons to thank a trucker, and they surround us everywhere.

We’re glad to have taken a moment to appreciate them, but know they’ll be there next week, and the week after, and the week after that, too. You can thank a trucker for that.

Chris Spear is president and CEO of American Trucking Associations.

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