Take a look at all the objects around you. Your computer, all the items on your desk, the furniture and décor in your room, the very clothes and jewelry you’re wearing – all of these were delivered to you by a truck. But the sheer importance of truck drivers to the North American economy is often overlooked or taken for ranted, which is the reason for National Truck Driver Appreciation Week (September 19-25, 2010).
This year’s campaign marks the 15th year commercial truck drivers will be honored for their vital role in today’s world. Most commercial motor cargo transport companies will celebrate the week by recognizing their drivers in some way for their work and especially for their professionalism and dedication to safety.
According to the American Trucking Associations (ATA), there are 3.4 million professional truck drivers in the trucking industry. That means one out of every 19 Americans is employed as a truck driver.
Trucking is a $660 billion industry, representing 83.1 percent of the nation’s freight bill. According to the ATA, “Trucks are the sole supplier to 80 percent of U.S. communities. We deliver food, clothing and medical supplies — and we do it safely.”
Because commercial vehicles weighing 40 tons or more share interstates and roads with passenger cars, safety remains the key issue in the trucking industry.
The number of truck-involved traffic fatalities declined 20 percent in 2009, dropping from 4,245 in 2008 to 3,380 in 2009, according to figures released Sept. 9 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The reduction puts fatalities at the lowest level in Department of Transportation history and also reflects a 33 percent decrease in fatalities since the improved hours-of-service regulations first became effective in January 2004.