Professional truck drivers are the backbone of the American economy. Visit any grocery store, business, or medical facility in the Mid-South, and that becomes immediately obvious. Whether you are buying clothing at a retail store or a filling up your tank at a gas station, nearly every part of our lives is impacted, and made possible, by the work of a professional truck driver.
In the midst of a global pandemic in which they faced unforeseen challenges, the professional men and women behind the wheel came through for America when they were needed most, when the world stopped, they kept moving. Despite the numerous risks to their personal health and safety, the shelves in our stores remained stocked, and our families remained provided for.
Why are truck drivers and the freight industry important to Tennessee you may ask? Tennessee holds 218,839 freight jobs at 13,397 establishments in transportation and logistics; the largest in the United States with over $17 billion in earnings. 1 in 13 jobs in TN are in the trucking industry and the state is home to some of the largest freight companies including FedEx here in Memphis, J.B. Hunt, CN, BNSF, Union Pacific and U.S. Xpress.
This year, from September 11-17, 2022, Cooper Freight and the nation will celebrate National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. This week is an opportunity for the general public to extend a thank you to the men and women who drive America’s economy, and keep their communities supplied.
During our most challenging times, it is important to thank and acknowledge the essential men and women who step up and ensure that our way of life remains intact. This week, if you see a truck on the highway, or taking a break at a rest stop, I encourage everyone to take a moment and say thank you – or at the very least recognize that the driver is most likely in the middle of delivering the goods that keep America moving. Maybe delivering to our community here in the Mid-South, or a community that a family member or loved one resides.
The next time you’re cruising down the highway and pass by a truck, give him or her the famous honking sign – they’ll love it! If a passenger in your vehicle is able to capture the moment on video, post it to social media and include the hashtag #honkforhighwayheroes and #thankatrucker. Bonus points if you see our Cooper Freight drivers out on the road!
As essential workers, trucking’s 3.6 million professional drivers haul more than 10 billion tons of freight every year, which accounts for 70% of total U.S. freight tonnage. It is difficult to imagine our society without truck drivers delivering our vital goods the way they do. More than 80% of U.S. communities rely exclusively on trucks to deliver their freight.
Most importantly, America’s professional truck drivers are committed to doing their jobs safely, because they too are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, and friends and neighbors. The next time you speak with a professional truck driver, ask them how many safe miles he or she has, but don’t be surprised if the answer is in the millions.
Can you imagine what our lives would be like if groceries, medicine, or gasoline wasn’t readily available? We appreciate the hard work and the sacrifices professional truck drivers and their families make every day, so that we never have to find out.
This National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, I ask that we all recognize the important role that truck drivers have in keeping our communities supplied and stocked with the critical goods that we take for granted.
Don Cooper, President
Cooper Freight Service