Whatever station you stop at, whether it is Pleasanton or Wyoming, you are probably pretty sure of getting a couple of suspecting glances from those civilians at the station. Throughout the decades North American truck drivers have been subject to stereotypical views and treated as such by those with certain assumptions about the truck driving industry. Even in Spielberg’s debut film, a truck driver is portrayed as a mad murderer, hunting an innocent person down for no reason at all.
But, as all of us know, the typical portrayal of truck drivers in the media, movies and television shows are far from the truth. In this post, we will aim to bust all those myths that put truck drivers in a less than favorable light in the eyes of civilians and people unfamiliar with the freight transportation industry.
1. All Truck Drivers Use Drugs and Other Substances
For some reason or the other, people believe wholeheartedly that the majority (if not all) truck drivers running long distances are up to no good and suffering from some form of substance abuse, like heavy drugs or alcohol.
If, however, you know your facts, in order to be able to drive a CDL or OTR truck, you have to have clean drug screening tests. There is absolutely no way for any substance abuser or addict to be on the road driving for a professional cargo transportation company. If you get caught with a tainted drug test, you are simply unemployable. Tests are conducted when a new driver joins a fleet and also done randomly.
2. All Truck Drivers are Murders and Criminals
We are not sure where this notion originated, but it started as recently as the 1990’s. apart from the fact that truck drivers were portrayed to be criminals in popular movies and tv shows. Also, due to the lifestyle of being on the road and traveling the whole time made them the first obvious suspects to the police and civilians as they were seen as able to easily get away with a crime committed.
This is of course not the case – all truck drivers in the country are educated men and women who have to go through strenuous training and testing to ensure they are mentally and physically fit enough to do the job.
3. Truck Drivers Are the Cause of The Majority of Road Accidents
Another one of those strange beliefs that we are not sure where it came from. Perhaps civilians feel intimidated by the size of the trucks and figure it must be difficult to drive it and therefore they cause the most accidents on the road.
Once again, this is sadly not the case. It has been statistically proven that CDL trucks and OTR trucks are responsible for as little as 2.4% of the road accidents in the country. The majority of accidents are caused by normal vehicles.
4. Truck Drivers are Poor
For some reason, the average American believes that truck drivers are part of the lower-class have-nots and that they are poor. This adds to the belief that truck drivers are criminals and suffer from some form of substance abuse, as a lot of people believe that it is only the very poor who murder and steal and have drinking problems.
If you know the industry, or if you know it is silly to cling on to what people say and think, you will know that this is absolutely false. Truck drivers in the country earn a lot of money, and some people even leave their corporate jobs to join freight transportation companies to earn a better living. Obviously, the salary depends on the level of experience, but as an experienced driver you can make up to $50 000 per year, have employment benefits like bonuses and health insurance, and still be able to live a good life.
5. All Truck Drivers Are Men
It is believed that the majority of truck drivers are male and that the female drivers are in the minority and not as great at driving either. There are some who even believe that there is no such thing as female truck drivers.
This is simply pure hogwash, the first female truck driver was a miss Luella Bates, who started driving trucks in the 1920’s. Since then, a lot of female drivers joined her example and according to some statistics, there are currently almost 200 000 female truck drivers in the US alone.
6. Truck Drivers Can Specialize in One Type of Cargo
Those not familiar with the freight transportation industry believe that truck drivers are only able to transport goods and get qualified for one of two vehicles, flatbed,and long-haul trucking and that the job is rather simple and exciting.
False. If you decide to get CDL-A certification and licensing, you are able to choose which type of cargo and vehicle you wish to drive. And you don’t have to stick to only one option either. What it boils down to really is the freight transportation company you end up working for, and what they specialize in. The majority of transportation companies will also offer in-house training should you require it for specific vehicles or cargo.
7. Men Are the Obvious Champions at Truck Driving
Again, not sure how this came about either. Perhaps it is due to the patriarchal society we live in and that it is commonly believed that men are stronger, faster, better, smarter in anything and everything than women, also probably the reason why there are none or only a little bit of female truck drivers out there.
This has been statistically proven to be false, beyond areasonable doubt. According to statistics and tests, women are 4 times more likely to get their CDL license after the first try, whereas men seem to struggle a bit. Women also are the ones who will not necessarily get involved in crashes.
Be a proud truck driver, it takes a lot of hard work, and the people of the country who are still believing these silly stereotypes should start realizing that is thanks to the freight transportation industry that they can live the lives they do. If you have found the article interesting, be sure to read this interesting piece on women in the freight transportation industry.