TRUCK DRIVING MYTHS, DISPELLED

Truck drivers are a solitary bunch, spending most of their work hours alone in the cab of an 18-wheeler. Because of this, there’s a sense of mystery around truckers and how they spend their time. Here are just a few of the myths surrounding truckers, along with the truth behind them.

Truck drivers often times are seen by other motorists as “the enemy”, when in fact they are working to make their living just like everyone else. Here are a few common misconceptions about truck drivers and the trucking industry.

MYTH:  TRUCKERS ARE AWAY FROM HOME FOR WEEKS AT A TIME. THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY REQUIRES ALL DRIVERS TO BE AWAY FROM HOME FOR WEEKS AT A TIME DURING THEIR CAREERS.  

FACT: This is typically true, particularly for drivers just starting out. Initial training may require up to 6 weeks onsite with the trucking company, and after training, drivers are frequently assigned a trainer or mentor. Driving with a trainer can also require up to 6 weeks away from home, though this will vary by company. Once they have some experience under the belts, truckers are better able to find a company whose location and routes work best for their desired at-home time. Truckers with 2-3 years of experience can even find opportunities to allow them to be home weekly.   

While truckers are typically away from home weeks on end during the beginning of their career, many have the opportunity to drive local or regional routes allowing them to be home more frequently. Once receiving their CDL, drivers must gain some form of experience before qualifying for many companies that offer more local routes. Driver’s typically gain experience through Over The Road (OTR) routes, offered to them by transport companies that do not require as much experience as others. Following their time OTR, driver’s are able to gain the experience necessary for companies that offer routes closer to home; giving them the ability to be home most nights, if not every night.

MYTH: TRUCKERS FREQUENTLY DRIVE TO THE POINT OF EXHAUSTION.

FACT:  There are strict guidelines, intended to protect both truckers and other drivers. Their routes are carefully planned to allow for consistent, frequent rest stops. Commercial motor vehicle drivers are required to limit their cumulative driving time to 11 hours in a 14-hour period, followed by no less than 10 consecutive hours of rest time. In addition, truckers are limited to no more than 70 hours over 8 consecutive days.

The Department of Transportation enforces laws put in place to protect both truckers and other motorists. Driving routes are planned in compliance with these laws and other regulations to ensure drivers are able to stop when required without repercussions. Most states require commercial drivers to limit their cumulative driving time to 11 hours in a 14-hour period, followed by no less than 10 consecutive hours of rest time. In addition, truckers are limited to no more than 70 hours over 8 consecutive days.

MYTH: ALL TRUCKERS ARE MEN. ONLY MEN CAN DRIVE A TRUCK

FACT:  Only about 6% of truckers were women, as of 2006. There are a number of reasons for this, including the fact that women’s typically smaller stature can make it difficult to operate a big rig. But women can drive trucks just as well as men, and insurance industry data shows that women are frequently even safer drivers than men. The number of women truckers continue to grow, though slowly, and could provide a viable career over time.

About 6% of truck drivers are women as of 2018. While some believe this is because men are better drivers than women, insurance companies are claiming the opposite. Statistics show that women are safer drivers than men and tend to pay more attention during training. This attention to detail helps prevent accidents and spills, in addition to any errors during pre and post trip inspections. The number of female drivers is climbing slowly as more women discover trucking as a viable career path.

MYTH: TRUCKERS ARE IRRESPONSIBLE DRIVERS WHO ARE JUST CONCERNED WITH GETTING THERE FAST. TRUCKERS ARE IRRESPONSIBLE AND AGGRESSIVE DRIVERS WHO ARE ONLY CONCERNED WITH GETTING TO THEIR DESTINATION QUICKLY.

FACT:  Truckers are professional drivers who plan their routes well in advance, in order to avoid unnecessary hurry. They rely on their driving ability and their driving record to earn and keep jobs. Truckers also drive about 5 times more miles than typical commuters, so they get a lot of practice. In addition, they are more rigorously trained than typical drivers, and routinely tested for drug and alcohol use. In short, most truckers take their driving responsibility very seriously and simply cannot afford not to.

While there are good and bad in every profession, most drivers see their job as just that. A profession. They rely heavily on their driving ability and care deeply about their driving records. Much like their version of a resume – a driver’s record tells future employers the facts they need to know before deciding to hire them or not. Many drivers take extra precautions to protect the state of their CDL whether that is on the road or not. Driving responsibly is not an option, but a requirement for drivers, as they cannot afford not to.

MYTH: TRUCKING IS A DYING INDUSTRY.

FACT:  The trucking industry is expected to add an estimated 100,000 new jobs by 2026.  Truckers provide a critical service in the American economy, delivering everything from fresh produce and other food to cars and electronics. And given the rise in online shopping, it’s unlikely that trucking will slow any time soon.

The trucking industry is expected to add an estimated 100,000 new jobs by 2026. Truckers provide a critical service to the American economy, delivering everything from fresh produce and other foods to cars and electronics. With the current rise in online shopping, it is unlikely that the trucking industry will die out any time soon and will likely continue to grow.

These are just a few of the common misconceptions about truckers and the trucking industry. If this is a career path you’re considering, you owe it to yourself to learn more. Visit J & M Tank to learn more about job opportunities and apply online.  

Learn How J&M Tank Lines Debunks Trucking Myths in Birmingham, AL

J&M Tank Lines has been a leader in transportation for 70 years in the Southeast with terminals in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, South Carolina and Texas. We provide high-caliber truck driving solutions locally and nationally and partner with SmartWay, American Trucking Association (ATA) and many more! Contact us or call us at 205-798-9988 to learn more today