National Truck Driver Appreciation Week
September 11-17, 2022
Truck drivers move 72.5% of America’s freight, driving over 300 billion miles a year. They wait in line at shipper and consignee locations, loading and unloading their cargo, inspecting their equipment and securing their commodities. These men and women drive down the highway, navigating through heavy traffic, construction and bad weather. They stay out on the road all week, sleeping in their trucks night after night, keeping the U.S. economy in motion. If America’s truck drivers stopped driving, our country would be thrown into chaos in just a few days.
Every year, we observe one week to thank truck drivers for their heroic sacrifice, unwavering commitment and fierce dedication. National Truck Driver Appreciation Week was started in 1998 by the American Trucking Associations as a way to aid driver retention and increase recognition for truckers. For more than 20 years, we have celebrated our truck drivers each September, saying thank you all week long for a job that truly is 24/7/365.
There are currently 3.36 million truck drivers in the U.S., servicing industries like healthcare, food service, construction, aerospace, retail, automotive, metals and more. Businesses across the country are connected through trucking, and roughly 80% of communities rely solely on trucks to bring them essential goods. Truck drivers deliver raw materials to manufacturers, finished goods to retailers and purchased products to consumers. Look at the items around you—everything you see was likely once a truck.
Trucking is a vital industry, fulfilling Americans’ basic needs every day, and yet, we are facing an unprecedented driver shortage. Without new drivers, the country will see a decrease in the availability of essential goods, even longer shipping delays and extreme supply chain issues, many of which we’ve already begun to see. Life on the road isn’t easy, and the job isn’t for everyone. America’s truckers will continue to drive, sustaining our economy, but now we need a new generation of drivers to answer the call.
Young adults can take advantage of the current shortage to make a high salary within their first year, earning almost $80,000. With the average cost of CDL training around $4,000-$7,000, first year truck drivers can easily cover the cost of school and set themselves up for a successful future. Compare that to the average cost of a four-year degree ($35,551) and the average starting salary for college graduates ($55,260), and the 22-year-old driving a truck is miles ahead of the 22-year-old struggling to find a job out of college.
Truck driving is a chance to explore the country, taking time to plan out life before settling down. Drivers can visit new cities, tour national landmarks and experience regional cultures, all while earning a respectful paycheck. As work cultures shift away from stereotypical office jobs with employees working nine-to-five in a solitary cubicle, truck driving provides a great alternative with a chance to experience life on the road with a community of tenured drivers, interacting with people from all across the U.S.
Those entering the trucking industry now have the opportunity to build a long and prosperous career. At PGT Trucking, a young adult can start as a company flatbed driver right after receiving their CDL and enter our Enrichment Program, designed to help new apprentice drivers succeed behind the wheel. After a few years, they can enter our Lease Purchase program and start the path to truck ownership, eventually managing their own fleet, or they can transition to a specialized career in heavy haul or cryogenic tanker transportation, diversifying their skillset and increasing their earning potential.
Flatbed trucking also offers an active lifestyle. Flatbed drivers climb up and down a trailer to secure a commodity so it won’t move in transit, lifting heavy chains, cranking down binders and throwing weighted tarps. They make routine stops to inspect their equipment and securement, and when they arrive at the delivery location, they remove the securement to start the unloading process. Flatbed truck drivers are constantly in motion, and the job provides a rewarding and satisfying physical challenge.
Truck drivers at PGT have the opportunity to take part in various Future of FlatbedSM initiatives, helping to transform trucking into an innovative and sustainable industry. With a data-driven approach, PGT is applying advanced safety protocols and improving operational efficiency. Progressive technologies like automation will provide more options for regional and local routes, creating more home time for drivers and increasing fleet utilization. We will also add zero-emission vehicles to our fleet, reducing the industry’s carbon footprint and implementing environmentally friendly practices. The Future of Flatbed is the new age of trucking, ready for the next generation of pioneers to drive revolutionary change.
Whether you’re looking for a career change, just starting out, or already an experienced veteran, there are countless opportunities to enter the trucking industry and continue the service that 7.65 million transportation workers provide on a daily basis, none more important than the men and women behind the wheel. National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is our chance to recognize these drivers, letting them know we are grateful for their efforts. It’s a week-long acknowledgment for a job that never ends.
Take a moment to say thank you. Let a truck driver know you appreciate their hard work and sacrifice.
PGT Trucking thanks all of our Proud Professional Drivers and honors a job well done!
Interested in a transportation career?
Apply today at PGT! We are leading the way to progressive freight solutions through the Future of Flatbed, and we have openings for Company Drivers, Owner-Operators and Lease Purchase Operators, along with a wide range of professional, clerical and technical field opportunities. Everyone at PGT plays a part in our success to keep materials moving across the country. As the transportation industry grows, America prospers.