Many people have heard much said about the quality of truck drivers and their lack of attention on the road or careless driving. In addition to this, there is a stereotype that truckers are some of the most undesirable elements of society. Finally, many people think that truck driving is a low-paying career that only those who can’t find any other work would go into. The truth of the matter is that all of these thoughts are blatantly false. Trucking is one of the most regulated industries in the United States with one of the best educated workforces to be found in any business. All in all, the myths that many people hold about truckers simply don’t hold water when those myths are carefully examined.
One common myth that many people hold is that truckers are some of the most careless drivers in the world and that they cause the majority of automotive accidents on the country’s interstate highways. The truth of the matter is that commercial truck drivers have less accidents that regular motor vehicle operators. As a matter of fact, commercial trucks are only involved in about 2.4% of all motor vehicle accidents in the United States. In addition to this, studies show that commercial trucks are 4 times more likely than passenger vehicles to pass a safety inspection. On the whole, this proves that the idea that truckers are careless drivers is completely false. In fact, this proves that truckers are some of the safest drivers on the highway.
Another commonly held myth is that truckers use a lot of drugs and are driving while under their influence. While this may occur in a few isolated cases, the truth is that the vast majority of truck drivers do not use drugs. Under federal law, truckers are subject to random drug tests that test 50% of any company’s drivers in order to prove that they are not operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Meanwhile, there is no similar requirement for any passenger vehicle driver to be tested. In addition to this, truckers are under some very strict laws when it comes to maintaining their license. For example, truck drivers must not be convicted of any felony involving the use of a motor vehicle, nor can they refuse to submit to an alcohol test when it is required by a state’s regulations. Finally, if a trucker is guilty of leaving the scene of a crime or of causing a fatality through negligent operation of any vehicle their commercial license can be revoked. The facts are that truck drivers are very regulated and very safe drivers. This is seen in the fact that there were 10,839 alcohol related crashes in 2009 and less than 5% of those crashes involved truckers. In addition to this, there were 1.4 million drivers arrested on drug related charges in 2009 and less than 6% of these drivers were truckers. Overall, these facts show that the vast majority of truckers do not use drugs and are less likely than common passenger vehicle drivers to be involved in alcohol or drug abuse.
An additional misconception that many people hold is that men are better truck drivers than women. The fact is that there are over 200,000 female long haul truck drivers in America and these drivers are found to be 4 times more likely than men to pass their CDL certification on the first attempt. In addition to this, studies by industry regulatory agencies show that female drivers are 3 times less likely than male drivers to have an accident and female drivers are 5 times less likely to violate safety rules. All in all, the statistics prove that most female drivers are much safer than their male counterparts.
A final myth that many people believe is that truck driving is a low-paying career. Upon closer examination this thought too proves to be untrue. The fact is that the average salary for a trucker in the US is $44,389. In fact, Mississippi has the highest paid truck drivers in the nation with an average salary of over $67,000 per year. This shows that trucking is one of the best paying careers to be found in the country.
Many of these myths have long been perpetuated by uninformed media reports and by hearsay that people have taken as fact. The time has come for truck drivers across the country to stand up and get the word out about the true nature of the trucking industry. As more drivers expose the truth to their friends, family, and neighbors, the image of truck drivers will begin to change in the public eye. Also, truckers and the companies that they work for need to take a more proactive stance on debunking false media reports. Through these actions, people will begin to realize that truck drivers are some of the most law-abiding citizens to be found anywhere in the United States and these myths will begin to be banished from the public mind.
Above Photo Courtesy of Flickr – Marms RTT
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