I drove a round trip yesterday between my house and Louisville, Kentucky.  Depending on who you talk to, that is pronounced Loo-a-ville or Loo-is-ville, or a few other variations, to include what our phone recording machine tells us, Lau-is-ville.  While driving on I-65, I noted that I passed literally hundreds of tractor trailers hauling all manner of freight, including some oversized vehicles that were carrying heavy construction equipment, gigantic concrete conduits, and large factory machine parts or electrical plant machinery or transformers.  You don’t hear enough about these unsung heroes, but I remember growing up in the 70’s and seeing them in quite a few movies and television shows and hearing numerous songs about them.  There has been something of a revival of trucking shows recently such as the reality shows Ice Road Truckers and King of the Road as well as a few special programs on the cable channels.  But truckers have never been forgotten on the country music stations.  On one website they have listed the 50 greatest trucking songs of all time, most of which are country songs (http://www.todaystrucking.com/50-best-trucking-songs-of-all-time).  One of my favorite country songs about trucking is “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses,” by Kathy Mattea from her 1987 album, Untasted Honey

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.

 


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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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