Before I began working for PDQ America in White Oak, TX, I must admit that I was among the many Americans who take professional truck drivers for granted.
I had never thought about what it took for my morning cup of coffee to make it into my mug. I didn’t fully appreciate how the clothes I perused at my favorite stores made it to the racks.
However, after spending some time blogging and learning about this industry and the drivers who are literally moving America forward, I must say I have a whole new appreciation for the 3.5 million hardworking truckers who make it possible for us to have the everyday necessities we often take for granted.
Professional truck drivers deliver all of the essentials, from food, to medicine, to clothing and more, and this industry contributes $738.9 billion in revenue to our economy per year, according to a recent Fox News article.
However, these men and women are often underappreciated for what they do. This is why we celebrate truckers during National Truck Driver Appreciation week, September 9-15.
Although you might notice freight being moved every day on your commute to and from work, or on your way to pick up the kids from school, did you know that 80 percent of communities depend on trucking alone for delivery of goods? These communities are experiencing slower delivery times and higher-priced goods because of the truck driver shortage.
While this driver shortage can be just as inconvenient for the trucking industry as it is for the communities they serve, just imagine the issues our country would face without truck drivers! No much-needed deliveries of goods to hospitals, businesses, or schools… our economy would be in serious trouble.
Our economy depends on professionals like Gilbert Lopez, who drives for PDQ America and has been a truck driver for about a year.
Gilbert began driving for PDQ America in July, and says he became a truck driver because he wanted a change of scenery, literally.
“I wanted to travel around and see the countryside,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed meeting different people and seeing the different environments and sceneries of the areas where I’ve been.”
One particular town has stood out to Gilbert during his travels.
“There’s a small town called Ridgeway, around the Appalachian Mountains, with probably less than 10,000 people, but it’s beautiful,” he said. “It’s a small, authentic, old town, and the people were so friendly as well.”
While he enjoys the scenic views this job offers, Gilbert said one of the most difficult aspects of his job is staying focused and on alert while on the road.
One thing that surprised Gilbert when he entered the truck driving profession about a year ago is the scarcity of parking.
“It’s kinda like a hotel, trying to find a safe place to park and be comfortable where you stay, finding a truck stop,” he said. “It’s overcrowded because it’s a big industry.”
Before I began blogging for PDQ America, I had never realized the struggles professional truck drivers face every day, and how underappreciated they can sometimes be.
From having to remain constantly vigilant on the road, to struggling to find parking, to dealing with electronic logging devices and missing time at home with family, truck drivers go through a lot to keep America moving.
And for that, I’m grateful.