I knew a few truckers when I was growing up. These men and women (yes, there are quite a few women truckers), work very hard, staying on the road for days or weeks without seeing their family. I think that their hours are more tightly regulated these days than they were back in my youth, but even with the federal standards, they can still put in some long, hard days. If I understand the current federal guidelines correctly, they can have a 14-hour day after at least 10 hours of rest prior to coming on duty, but only 11 hours of that 14 can be driving. The other 3 hours on duty can be maintenance for the vehicle or loading and unloading, etc. They can only have 60 hours of driving in 7 days or 70 hours in 8 days and must then have at least 34 hours of rest before another long period. But even with these guidelines, as you can see, they can still put in long hard days, and quite a few consecutive days with long, hard hours. Thus, they spend some very extended periods alone on the road and away from the comforts of home and the love of family. Plus, those long hours are spent mostly piloting a heavy, unwieldy vehicle through dense traffic where they will encounter many rude drivers who don’t honor the rules of the road or who don’t drive too courteously if they are even paying attention. As one website put it best, choosing a career in trucking is definitely a lifestyle choice because of how the long hours and the difficulty of duty may affect one’s personal life.
But in spite of these difficulties, there is no shortage of drivers. According to www.truckinfo.net, there are over 3.5 million truck drivers on the road in the U.S. And these men and women transport 70 percent of the freight that is moved in the U.S. each year. What this means is that most of the food you eat, the gas and oil you put in your car, the clothes you wear, the various entertainment devices you use, and the numerous other products that you consume at home or out in the community were most likely moved to your area stores and restaurants or were moved at some point on the way to your door by a trucker. Moreover, trucking companies bring over 250 billion U.S. dollars into the economy as they move over 670 billion dollars worth of goods. All summed up, trucking and truckers are a major part of our economy and are responsible for transporting most of the foods and creature comforts that we enjoy. So, how much do they get paid for all this? The average salary varies by state with the lowest pay in Hawaii at 40,000 U.S. dollars, while surprisingly, the highest average trucker salary is 68,000 in Mississippi (statistics from http://www.thetruckersreport.com/truckerreport.html). So, even in the trucking industry, “location, location, location” is all important.
I pray today that you will be thankful for the many such unsung heroes as these truckers that are so critical to our high quality of living in this country, and indeed most countries, and I pray that you will try to be a little kinder to these people when you encounter them on the road. I pray also that you will be blessed with joy and peace today walking in fellowship with our Lord.