Whether you know it or not, a new group of drivers is changing the trucking industry in the United States.
According to a new report, over 30,000 of the drivers who entered trucking in the past two years are Indian-Americans who practice the Sikh faith.
Sikhism is the world’s fifth most popular religion and focuses on equality and service to others. Most Sikh men wear turbans and do not cut their hair or their beards.
Prominent Sikh leader Raghunandan Johar says that hard work is one of the main tenets of his religion.
Sikh driver Mintu Pandher explained to CBS News, “For Sikhs, they want to keep their articles of faith, turban, unshaven hair, beard, moustache — it’s a safety hazard for a lot of jobs that require it. So in trucking they can keep everything, and still make a decent living.”
Music videos like the one below attempt to lure Sikh drivers into trucking by showing off custom big rigs, fancy homes, and stacks of hundred dollar bills.
Pandher said of the the video, “I mean the presentation can be a little eye-catchy, but you know that’s the reality [for Sikh truckers].”
Already, Sikh drivers are contributing to trucking in a meaningful way. Last year, Sikh groups were some of the loudest voices standing against ELD regulations, showing up in huge numbers to support movements like Operation Black and Blue and helping to organize protest activities across the country. In the video below, you can see Sikh participation in an ELD protest convoy in Sacramento last October.