- Joseph Sarcona
Debunking 7 Myths You Might Have Heard about Truck Driving
For those outside of the trucking industry, separating fact from fiction can be difficult. A trucker’s life is far from easy, demanding dedication to deal with challenging weather conditions and difficult roads. With many misconceptions surrounding the industry, we attempt to separate the truth from the myths.
Myth 1: Truck Driving Is a Man’s Job
Often pedaled in tandem with the theory that men are better drivers than women, 200,000 female truck drivers in the United States can attest to the fact that women are not only perfectly capable of entering the trucking industry, they thrive within it. Women are actually three times less likely to be involved in a collision than their male colleagues, four times more likely to pass their CDL exam on the first attempt, and five times less likely to breach safety protocols.
Trucking may have been characterized as a man’s world in days gone by. However, in reality, the only qualities anyone needs to become a trucker today are commitment and the ability to complete the required training.
Myth 2: Trucking Leaves Little Time for Family and Friends
While it is true to say that truckers typically have to cover extended distances, and sometimes their schedules can require them to miss some occasions, this does not equate to permanent absence or force them to live in social seclusion. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, truckdrivers are no more than a call, text, or video chat away when their job does take them far from home.
Myth 3: Trucking is Boring
Driving for long hours with few breaks may sound tedious, but for most truckers, every trip is jam-packed with stimulation. A great deal of preparation goes into each journey, from mapping out the route to ensuring that the truck is in tip-top condition to avoid any problems on the road.
Even once truckers are on their way, they need to remain vigilant at all times, planning each turn carefully to avoid obstructions and other drivers. With truck stops, the radio, and the constant need to keep their eye on the road, truck drivers have little time left for boredom to creep in.
Myth 4: Trucking is a Dangerous Job
Truck driving does present some hazards. With truckers venturing into unfamiliar places while delivering goods to fulfill public needs, they can sometimes be targeted by criminals. That is why responsible trucking companies are meticulous in their preparation, education, and communication. They make driver safety a top priority.
Another common concern is cargo space being used to transport illegal freight like drugs, or human trafficking. The American trucking industry is heavily regulated to prevent transportation of illegal freight. Groups like Truckers Against Trafficking provide truck drivers with comprehensive instruction to help tackle the problem.
Truck drivers do need to be aware of safety hazards, such as road and weather conditions. However, on average, truckers are actually three times less likely to be involved in an accident compared with civilian drivers. Trucks are also four times more likely to pass an inspection than non-commercial vehicles.
Myth 5: Truckers Spend Days on End Without Sleeping
Sometimes two truckers travel together in the same truck, sharing the driving in a practice known as “team driving.” With one person driving while the other sleeps, the need for rest stops is eliminated, decreasing total journey time substantially.
Other truckers have the option to overnight at a hotel en route, taking five hours out to recoup their energy before resuming their journeys. Irrespective of whether truck drivers team drive or travel alone, they must be given sufficient periods to sleep and refresh themselves, no matter how long the journey.
Myth 6: Truck Drivers Have No Job Security
Trucking is a specialized job without the rigidity of a 9-5, five- or six-day-a-week working schedule. With the autonomous truck industry still in its infancy, there are concerns that self-driving trucks might one day eliminate the need for human drivers.
At the current time, the US transport sector is short by approximately 80,000 truck drivers. According to the Harvard Business Review, automation is not going to make truckers obsolete any time soon.
Truck drivers do so much more than simply driving trucks. They maintain logs, secure cargo, check vehicles, and provide customer service. Many of these tasks are nowhere near being automated. Many predict that full automation is far into the future, suggesting that the current surge in demand for truck drivers is unlikely to ebb in the coming years.
Myth 7: The Pay is Bad
With such huge demand for truckers today, trucking companies have been forced to up the ante. They are hiking up pay and offering generous benefits packages in order to lure the next generation of truck drivers.
With oversized load truckers making over $54,000 a year, truck driving is actually more lucrative than many white-collar professions. Opportunities exist for drivers with the right experience, qualifications, and drivetime to pull in six-figure salaries.