ONCE a year the US trucking industry comes together to celebrate drivers during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week (NTDAW).
NTDAW started in 1998, after the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and its members wanted to thank professional drivers for their hard work and commitment in what, for many, is an under-appreciated but essential job.
So they set aside one week where carriers and state associations were encouraged to honour their drivers by hosting a barbecue or other events to say thank you.
Since its conception, NTDAW has become an industry-wide event with carriers, shippers, trucking industry manufacturers and suppliers, industry associations and local communities hosting special events and promotions.
At some firms, dispatchers and fleet managers cook burgers and hot dogs for drivers. While some travel centers provide free windshield cleaning services and coffee.
Governors and local leaders issue proclamations in honour of the 3.5 million professional drivers who tackle their economy’s most demanding and important jobs.
ATA President and CEO Chris Spear said:
Truck drivers provide one of the most important services to this country – the timely delivery of critical goods – and the American people demand more and more from these hard working men and women each day.
As an industry, we want to recognise and thank drivers for the work they do and for making safety a priority.
ATA First Vice Chairman, Kevin Burch, added: “People in the industry have tremendous respect for truck drivers and NTDAW gives us a chance to demonstrate that support while also expanding our message to people outside the industry who might not understand the high-level of commitment that these men and women have for their careers.”
Wouldn’t it be nice if something like this happened on this side of the pond?
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) launched National Lorry Week to help entice new blood into an industry that is suffering a serious driver shortage.
The theme of the event last year was to “love the lorry” but what about the unsung heroes that are already keeping this country moving? In the words of the Jackson 5 “Who’s lovin’ you?”
We are a nation who appreciate good manners but are slightly more reserved in in the way we express gratitude.
Perhaps we could take some ‘stiff’ out of our upper lips?
We would, obviously, be hugely uncomfortable with the full-on ‘High-Five’, ‘You Are Amazing’ approach that our American cousins find so easy.
Also, we don’t like things to drag on that long, apart from cricket. So, that discounts ‘full-on appreciation’ for a whole week.
There are simple things that can be done to show professional drivers that they are valued. For one, making sure there are toilet facilities available for them to use. Imagine how awful it must be to not have access to a clean toilet at work?
But, perhaps the easiest thing of all is a simple “thank you” for a job well done.