As we approach Thanksgiving here in Canada it is always a good time to reflect on what we have and how it got there. With a table full of food, a large turkey waiting to be carved we often take for granted many of the items we have in our daily lives without much thought as to how they reached our table. Nearly 70 percent of all goods are transported by truck with transportation being one of the largest industries in North America. Yet we still seem to get a bad rap from the public.
Much of that bad rap is because the trucking industry operates in the background. We are seen to the public as a problem not a solution. The public sees closed trailers, deadly accidents, and slow moving vehicles. They don’t see the driver unloading in the middle of the night at a dock with 40,000 pounds of a certain product. They don’t see the driver driving all night to get their Amazon delivery to their door the next day. When we do get a chance to talk to the public we are often trying to tell them why we need more drivers or less regulations. We forget to show them the importance for what we do. We need to educate the public on how their goods get to the table, the stores, and into their homes. Do they know that the car they’re driving came from parts that were on more than a dozen trucks at one time and put together at the plant? Do they know that once that car was assembled at the plant that the car was put on another truck to be delivered to the dealership where they were able to sit inside it and take it for a test drive?
I would love to see a campaign where that was shown all the time. Almost like a message on the back of each truck that says on this truck is the steering wheel for the car that you are holding in your hands. On this truck are the tires that are helping you drive down the road. On this truck are the pillows that you lay your head on each night. On this truck are the potatoes that you will be having for dinner on Thanksgiving. If information like that was everywhere maybe people would start to listen and realize the importance of the truck driver.
We should also be showing the importance of freight on our roadways. Buses have priority on our streets when pulling out into traffic as all other vehicles must yield to the bus. Why are we not showing the importance of freight by dedicating lanes to the trucks allowing them to move faster during rush hour traffic. We need to show the public the importance of what we do and how their products got on the shelves. This will take a mass effort from the whole industry, but may be part of the solution to getting our industry to be professional in the eyes of the public. I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving this weekend and take a moment to reflect how the food got on your table.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com