If Truckers Are the Backbone of America, Why Do We Treat Them So Badly?

Feds call truck driver shortage 'fake news'

For three months during the Coronavirus crisis, all of America seemed to realize how vital truck drivers are to our daily lives. Truck drivers were finally getting the recognition they deserve.

Sadly, despite the recognition, truck drivers are still being treated badly in ways that the general public likely does not understand.

Even while drivers were out on the front line facing Covid, truck stops were shutting down restaurants — leaving truckers with very few food options. Some states shut down rest areas, leaving drivers without bathroom facilities.

Both before the pandemic and after, truck drivers face many challenges the general public isn’t aware of — but should be.

CDLLife asked our App community what they wished the general public knew about the trucking industry.

Truck Stops

Truck stop showers are expensive — they range anywhere from $12 to $16 per shower! Some truck drivers are forced to pay for parking. Parking is approximately $25. Truck stop food is expensive. Many truck stops don’t have enough showers. For example, some have 100 parking spots and 4 showers.

“We get charged for parking at truck stops an showers are at least $12.00 and it’s another $12.00 to weigh. That’s $50 a day to stay clean and legal.”

“Overpriced food items. Canned food is $5.00.”

Shippers and Receivers

The general public probably don’t know how shippers and receivers treat truck drivers. It can take 4 hours to unload a truck — add to that another hour or two of waiting for your turn to be loaded or unloaded — that’s 6 hours at a shipper or review. Now, imagine not being allow to wait in your truck and having to wait outside in inclement weather!

Many shippers and receivers won’t allow truck drivers to use bathrooms.

Lumpers

Some shippers and receivers charge drivers outrageous fees to load or unload the shipment. Lumper fees range form $300-$600. Why does a driver have to pay for a company to unload products the company ordered?

Previous Employment Reporting

If the general job pool, an employer would never give a previous employee a negative employment review, as it can lead to a lawsuit. In most states, the only thing a employers can verify is dates of employment and starting and ending pay.

Not so with trucking. There’s nothing that keeps a previous employer for reporting negative things about a driver…even if they’re not true. Adding insult to injury, the driver is often unaware of negative reports on his or her record. In fact, most don’t find out about a negative review until they’re rejected from getting a new job.

The only way for a driver to dispute something on his or her report is to submit a report to HireRight. This process can be lengthy and prevent a driver from getting a job unless or until the negative report is removed from the driver’s record.

Dangers

Truck driving is consistently listed as one of the most deadly jobs.

Truck drivers are often target by violent crime — robbery, having objects thrown off overpasses into trucks.

Parking

The parking shortage is a big deal. In most large cities, truck stops are full before dark, forcing drivers to park in unlit lots, along the side of the road, etc. This puts truck drivers in dangerous situations.

Truck driver face a lot of challenges. Make sure to thank them. Give them plenty of room on the highway and advocate for laws to help support truck drivers.