Super Bowl 52
It is the weekend of super bowl 52. Actually, at the time that I am writing this, it is Super Bowl LIII Sunday. I am not siding for either team. I believe they have both already won, just for being the two top teams in their leagues, respectively. What does the super bowl, of any number, have to do with the trucking industry. I will explain that in just a few more sentences.
The Super Bowl, in America, is synonymous with friends and families, in many cases, coming together and enjoying time together eating and drinking and having fun with their sporting rivalries. It all boils down to the fact that they are having fun with each other away from work. This is where the connection, for me, to the trucking industry comes into play, no pun intended. Truck drivers, especially OTR drivers and owner operators, are most likely working today and that means usually working away from home. They have no chance to join family or friends at someone’s home to enjoy the game. They are working, delivering drinks, food, TV’s, and more that were all brought together to enable others to have the good times. Most often all of us forget that there are humans out there making our lives possible. Well today this made me stop and ponder the who, what, where, and why of OTR drivers of the trucking industry and the pain and struggles they go through.
The “Who” aspect of OTR drivers is very simple to address, and explain. These are the men, women, and couples that have made a choice to drive the open roads of the nation. These are the people that do not want to sit in an office, every day from 9-5. These are the people that do not have a desire to deal with a supervisor looking over their shoulder and micro-managing their every move. These are the people that love the freedom of an ever changing scenery, the responsibility of getting a job completed. These are the men and women that are so similar to the cowboys of western lore that risked a hard life to do things others were unwilling to do. To live by a different set of rules. Some have even coined the phrase “Asphalt Cowboys” when referring to today’s truck drivers. There is no age classification that depicts a truck driver. There are an even number of those coming into the industry in their twenties, thirties, forties, and seasoned veterans in their fifties and beyond. Veterans of American armed forces, emigrants seeking a better life of opportunity, and every walk of life in between round out the “Who” portion of an OTR truck driver. But, how about the “What” aspect of a truck driver.
This part is not as easy to explain with a few phrases or one description. What an OTR truck driver is, is not that simple and carries an infinite number of versions of descriptions. I would like to my personal description of the What aspect of the OTR truck driver. What a truck driver is to me, is a person that chooses to live a life of freedom from the office. To do a job that is very physical in nature. These are the men & women, both young and older, that work 24/7 to make a living and better life for themselves, their families, and the entire society that we all live in. I have said the following quote in speeches I have given at conferences and business stages across the united states; “If it were not for truck drivers, our society would come to a halt within days.” What an OTR truck driver is, is the person that works tirelessly without seeing loved ones for weeks, or months, at a time, makes daily life for society possible, are some of the most understanding & patient people on the roads, or maybe in the world, for taking the crap other drivers give them. All of these traits ,and personalities, in my opinion, are what a OTR truck driver is, even after all of the abuse and disregard we give to them. Now, the “Where” aspect of my article is very easy, in a sense.
The “Where” aspect of an OTR truck driver is very simple; EVERYWHERE. Every single state in the union. Every country across the planet. Every township, suburb, city, and space in between is the Where of the OTR truck driver. I have said earlier that there is no aspect of life that trucks do not touch. The OTR truck driver can be in Los Angeles on Monday and delivering and picking up in New York city by Friday. 2789 miles in an estimated 41 hours. In many ways there is no such thing as “Where” when it comes to an OTR truck driver, because they are never really in one place for too long, all in order to deliver and survive financially. There have been some that have called them vagabonds of the road, back when I was a child. Sadly in today’s business concentric and political affected world, truck drivers are caught in the middle of politics and dividends. City and state politicians know that they need trucks to operate and sustain the nation’s economy. Private and public companies know that they make billions of dollars of revenue and millions of dollars in profits, and stock dividends, just as long as those trucks continue to move and cost less. The “Where”, regarding trucks and truck drivers, continues to be a danger as there are less and less safe places for truck drivers to rest or stop. Where drivers are, and where they need a place to stop and rest, is a unarguable fact of need. I look optimistically toward the near future where companies and people realize the need for more than just technology apps or futuristic autonomous trucks to help alleviate the stress on truck drivers. So, we are left with the “Why” aspect & question that begs to be answered.
To some degree, the question of “Why” has already been answered as we have moved along through my article here. The why is the fact that OTR truck drivers are human beings. They are our friends, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters, mothers, fathers, and simply decent humans that have put their personal needs on the back burners to help society live every day of the year. These are the men and women that make life possible. I am not saying that tomorrow the federal department of transportation will finally fund the building of parking lots for trucks to safely park and protect the OTR drivers. I do not believe that the advent of autonomous trucks, driving the roads, will happen within the next five years, or even if it did would be across the nation and safe without the assistance of a human driver. For me the “Why” of this article, or thought of mine on paper, is similar to the “Why” of today’s Super Bowl 52. It is so interwoven with the fabric of America and what makes us a great nation; People helping people, families sharing joy and love with one another, and the concept of working together as a team to create spectacular outcomes and victories for all!
So, for all the Super Bowl 52 celebrations, I hope they are safe and superb. For all of the OTR drivers on the roads across the nation making those Super Bowl celebrations possible, I wish you all safe travels and positive changes to come.