“Truck drivers are the lifeblood of our economy,” said U.S. Department of Transportation undersecretary of transportation for policy, Carlos Monje. “More than 3.5 million professional truck drivers haul 70% of the country’s freight.”
Monje’s praise comes as the Department of Transportation celebrates National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, which took place last between September 12th and 18th. The department also held an appreciation event at its headquarters, and many DOT officials noted truck drivers’ key role in keeping the United States’ economy healthy–especially during the pandemic era.
These truckers have also been vital in keeping highways as safe as possible during the movement of freight that has been in particularly high demand over the last year and a half.
“The essential nature of the work that truck drivers do every day, often behind the scenes, is crucial to the nation’s economy, public health, and roadway safety,” Monje added.
Deputy administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Meera Joshi, also expressed her gratitude for truck drivers’ efforts in recent months.
“As we become more and more reliant on e-commerce, and through pandemic and climate crises, [truckers’] critical role is even more evident,” Joshi said. “Truck drivers, with their broad highway presence, set the tone for highway driving.”
When truckers are as safe as possible, so are our roadways, she added.
“Careful, professional truck drivers [who are] attentive to driving are saving lives every day,” she said.
American Trucking Associations also made sure to urge folks to thank a trucker during the dedicated week for truck appreciation, as well.
“Happy [National Truck Driver Appreciation Week 2021]!” ATA exclaimed in a Tweet. “A special thank you from Dana Incorporated and ACT1 Trucking, National Driver Appreciation Week 2021’s premier sponsor. There is no better time to thank the highway heroes that help keep our highways safe while moving America’s essential goods!”
ATA’s President, Chris Spear, also spoke out in regards to the appreciation efforts aiming to call attention to truckers’ prominent roles within our country’s economy and communities.
“This nation owes a tremendous amount to the men and women who drive our trucks,” Spear said. “In times of crisis, they are among the first to respond. And when others stay home, we hit the road delivering the things this country needs to keep moving.”
Spear also noted that although Appreciation Week isn’t necessarily all the thanks that truckers who have been on our frontlines during the pandemic deserve, the industry is happy to show its gratitude as much as it can.
“National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is just a small gesture acknowledging the efforts of drivers like Henry and April, and we’re glad that DOT has taken time to recognize them and all of the 3.7 million professional drivers,” said Spear.
One of the drivers Spear mentioned is April Coolidge, an America’s Road Team captain and Walmart Transportation driver. The other, another America’s Road Team captain and a TForce Freight driver, is Henry Bruster, who attended the appreciation event at DOT headquarters and explained his lifelong dream to work in the industry.
“My love for trucks and the trucking industry began at a very early age,” said Bruster. “As a little boy, I always wanted to climb in the truck, talk to the driver, and grow up to be one of those drivers I idolized as a young child.”
Other trucking organizations, state agencies, freight companies, and lawmakers also spoke out about their gratitude for truck drivers throughout the country.
“This week is Truck Driver Appreciation Week!” said U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee member, Representative Mike Bost of Illinois, last month. “As a former truck driver myself, I want to thank all of the hardworking men and women who spend long hours driving over the road to ensure that store shelves are stocked.”
Sherri Garner Brumbaugh, Garner Trucking CEO and ATA Chairman, also made sure to point out that 2021 is a particularly important year to acknowledge and thank truckers thoroughly.
“I call on every American to join ATA and me in honoring our drivers,” she said. “This year has a special meaning in recognizing these frontline heroes who have continued to deliver life’s essentials during the pandemic.”