Over the last year, freight and mainstream media have been abuzz with stories about truck drivers: the driver shortage, the trucking capacity crunch, growth in driver pay, and the negative economic effects of inflationary transportation spending. The subtext is clear: driving a truck is a difficult, dangerous job that is absolutely vital to our country. Everyone now seems to have realized the crucial role truckers play in our economy, but the overarching tone has been worry about the profession alternating with prognostications about how to fix it.
Now, instead of more anxiety about capacity or hot-takes about how to fix retention, America is taking a week to celebrate its truckers. It’s National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. Thank you, drivers, for all that you do to keep our country moving despite all the obstacles in your way.
How are the enterprise carriers thanking their drivers this week?
Werner Enterprises is providing complimentary meals and gifts to drivers, and honoring five elite drivers who achieved two and three million accident-free miles in a special ceremony at Werner’s headquarters in Omaha.
“Werner looks forward to the opportunities to admire the hard work and dedication of more than three million highway heroes who keep America moving every day,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Derek Leathers in a statement.
Dart Transit set up a series of lunch events at its terminals across the country for Driver Appreciation Week, giving its executives a chance to engage with drivers.
“Sometimes, it takes weeks like Driver Appreciation Week for us to properly reflect on the value our drivers and owner-operators truly bring not only to Dart, but to our country. Our driving community not only keeps our nation moving, but it also provides every single person at Dart an opportunity to earn a living, one that should be in a never-ending act of service not only to our customers, but to the lifeblood of our company and economy, our drivers,” said James Langley, President of Dart Transit Company.
FreightWaves spoke to Todd Jadin, VP of Associate Relations at Schneider, by phone.
“For this year’s event,” Jadin said, “we will have leaders at 104 of our different locations. The leadership group from Green Bay will spread out and visit everywhere that our drivers come through. We engage with the drivers—for us, it’s a very simple ‘thank you’ that includes food, driver giveaways, and conversation, discussion, answering questions, and engaging with drivers, again, with the primary purpose being ‘thank you for what you do for us day in and day out.’ At our major locations, we have leaders pumping fuel and cleaning windshields to further the engagement with the drivers,” said Jadin.
“We really look at it as our job as an organization to create the appropriate support environment for those folks who are the backbone of the company,” Jadin continued. “They’re the foundation of what we do. It starts with our customers because without them, we don’t have a business, but it’s really our driver community that delivers freight to our customers. We get whatever barriers in that process out of the way so the driver can make a good living, have a predictable work schedule, have a predictable pay check, be treated like a member of the Schneider association. They’re part of the team and, quite frankly, the most important part of the team in delivering the goods and expectations that our customers have.”