By: Steve Vaughn, National Director of Field Operations at HELP Inc.

It wasn’t that long ago in our nation’s history that society and commerce were centered in cities reached by train or ship. Today, Americans can choose to reside, work or play in locations far beyond the reach of tracks or navigable waterways because of our highway system… and because of truck drivers.

We celebrate National Truck Driver Appreciation Week (NTDAW) September 9-15 this year. Take time this week to thank truck drivers for their hard work and commitment to safety. Give a shout out through your local radio station or newspaper to the men and women who make our everyday lives possible by bringing the goods and services we need to wherever we choose to be.

Just think about these facts:

  • 80% of U.S. communities are served only by truck. And only trucks reach every loading dock, storefront and front door in the country. Truck drivers literally hold the fabric of our daily lives together.
  • True, we are now in the “technology age,” where telecommunications and digital transmissions connect us all. But those cable lines and cell towers were brought into place by truck drivers. Indeed, the very roads that reach every hamlet and vacation cottage were built from materials hauled by truck drivers.
  • To put another way, wherever you go, a truck driver was there first.

Today’s truck drivers are trained professionals, carrying a Commercial Driver’s License, adhering to a list of rules and regulations that would daunt many of us. Often, they are also our neighbors and members of our community. They are proud of the jobs they do for us all.

Here’s a few ideas on how to honor their work, during NTDAW or any time:

  • Carriers – Many of you hold lunches, picnics or dinners to recognize your drivers. If that doesn’t fit your operation, then send each driver a written thank you, something he or she can proudly share with family and friends.
  • Shippers – Time is money, for you and for truck drivers. Little things can make a difference. Have preprinted facility maps, showing the traffic flow in your yard, the inbound and outbound docks, and where the restrooms and drivers’ lounge are located. A fresh pot of coffee always says “thank you,” but so does a map locating that elusive dock that dispatch mentioned.
  • Enforcement – You and truck drivers have a shared commitment to safety. Certainly, the driver wants a “clean” inspection but that’s not always possible.  Many of you will be holding a “truck driver appreciation day” at your facility. Truck drivers will always remember the respect and caring you show them, whether it’s a special day or a simple “stay safe out there.”

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is an opportunity to thank hard-working men and women who serve us all with little fanfare. It’s also a time to reflect on the freedom of choice we have because someone else is tending to the goods we need. From us here at PrePass, thank you, drivers!

Steve Vaughn is national director of field operations for HELP Inc., the provider of the truck weight station bypass system PrePass as well as other trucking safety technologies. He previously served with the California Highway Patrol and is a past president of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.