A day in the life of an American trucker.
September 18, 2015
We are celebrating Truck Driver Appreciation Week by talking about the trucker's crucial role in our lives, transporting goods businesses and people depend on. Driving a truck calls for a unique skillset that helps to ensure those items arrive efficiently and safely.
There are some things about the daily lives of truck drivers in the freight shipping industry that you may not know. Since it is Truck Driver Appreciation Week, we thought it was a good time to take a look at a day in the life of an American Trucker.
The American trucker: Beginning of the day.
About 125,000 miles a year is what most truckers drive. That breaks down to about 2,500 miles a week or roughly 500 miles a day.
Before they hit the road, the day generally starts with an alert from a dispatcher who gives them the location of the freight they will transport and the time it is available. From there, the driver heads to the shipper's facility and makes note of any special instructions.
Then their trailer is loaded and they sign off on the freight count. Once behind the wheel, they record data in a logbook and alert their dispatcher to tell them they have completed the pickup.
The American trucker: En route.
Truckers spend about 3 weeks at a time on the road- with potentially 20 hours of solitude each day. Truckers turn to different means of entertainment to keep them alert and awake while in transit. Electronic books, satellite radio, and podcasts are some of the most common sources of on-the-go entertainment.
Trucks are typically equipped with a small bed, refrigerator and sometimes even a portable television - all of which can make it more comfortable on the road. "I have a fridge, a microwave, I bring my own food from home, so it is pretty much an apartment on wheels that I bring around with me," says tractor-trailer driver David O'Neill in an article from The Globe and Mail.
Additionally, twenty-four-hour truck stops provide relief for drivers to eat, rest and sleep. These stops also give drivers the opportunity to converse with others in their profession.
The American trucker: Delivery.
About 70% of all freight tonnage transported in the U.S. is moved via truck. Truck drivers and the freight shipping industry are quintessential to our economy. Over 3 million truck drivers are needed to transport 9.2 billion tons of freight annually. So, shippers may consider the job done when their freight delivers, but for drivers it is a constant cycle.
At delivery, the receiver or consignee unloads the trailer, since the main responsibility of the driver is the transportation of the goods. At this point, the driver records the arrival in their logbook. From there, the trucker informs their dispatcher the load has reached its destination and awaits details on the next pickup location.
Trucking requires a special skillset and is a demanding lifestyle, but many find it rewarding. "I enjoy posting pictures and video of the views from my 'office window' on my Facebook page," says Loren West, a former long-haul trucker in an ABC exclusive. "Many of my followers marvel at the places I’ve been and tell me how fortunate I am to live this kind of life."
If you are one of those delivering America, thank you! We hope everyone has the opportunity to extend gratitude to a trucker as we celebrate Truck Driver Appreciation Week.
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