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Trucking’s image is improving, but more still needs to be done

Attendees at the MId-America Trucking Show each year love trucks, but the general public’s perception of the industry has not improved dramatically in the last five years. ( Photo: Mid-America Trucking Show )

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky. The view of the trucking industry from the American public is basically unchanged from four years ago, suggesting the industry still has more work to do in its public relations campaign.

Trucking Moves America Forward (TMAF), the industry-wide education and image movement, announced result of its latest research this week at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky. The research found that 67 percent of American drivers have a favorable view of the industry, versus 68 percent in 2015.

The research did find some positives, proving that TMAF outreach efforts, which started five years ago, are paying off. Americans who believe that truck drivers play an important role in the nation’s economy improved to 74 percent from 71 percent in 2015, and 70 percent of motorists are “overwhelmingly positive” about the industry’s safety record.

Most Americans, 86 percent, see trucking as a professional career option rather than just as a temporary job.

“TMAF was founded five years ago to help shift the public’s perception of the trucking industry, which had suffered from an outdated and tarnished reputation. We’re proud of the milestones we’ve accomplished in five years. Our latest poll shows that more Americans recognize that truck drivers are hardworking professionals who work diligently to safely deliver our goods on time,” Kevin Burch, co-chairman of TMAF and president of Jet Express, Inc., said. “Motorists have a much more positive view of the industry now, describing truck drivers as the ‘backbone of our country.’ Americans also understand the industry plays a very important role in the country’s economy.”

The online survey, conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, surveyed 800 American adults with driver’s licenses from February 14-18, 2019, and it compared results from a replicated survey from 2015. A breakdown of the research findings, including verbatim responses, can be found at

 “As we enter our fifth year of operation, we will extend our message more broadly through our outreach and education efforts to reach more of the motoring public and aim to shift public perception even further,” Burch added.

During the press conference, TMAF touted some of its accomplishments over the past five years, including:

  •  200 donors

  •  3,410 subscribers

  • 240 trailer wraps on the road, reaching a total of 38.4 billion Americans each year

  • More than 344 million advertising impressions

  • More than 200 earned media placements totaling 162 million impressions 

  • 16, 276 Facebook followers; 4,586 Twitter followers; 1,100 Instagram followers

  • 24 blog posts

 In 2018 alone, TMAF said it secured 35 million billboard impressions and 385,000 social media impressions during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week; 254 million radio listener impressions; 16,000 Facebook followers; 4,500 Twitter followers; 116% growth on Instagram; 79% growth on LinkedIn and its mascot, Safety Sammy, traveled across the U.S. and helped TMAF reach more than 130,000 attendees at events.

Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at [email protected]