The Trucker Stereotypes
You don’t have to go far to find a job that doesn’t come with some type of pre-associated stereotype. Whether it’s the classic ‘plumber’s crack’ or the ‘sleazy car salesman’, it seems every industry will call a certain image to mind at first thought. A profession that has some of the worst negative stereotypes is the trucker. What comes to your mind when you think of a typical truck driver?
Almost everything in your home or sitting on the grocery shelves wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for transport trucks. Despite the fact that the U.S and Canada so heavily depend on our truckers, there still seems to be many that hold negative views towards them. What could possibly be a reason for such strong stereotypes, and is there any basis for these misconceptions? Let’s inspect 5 common myths that cling to the trucker stereotype.
1. The Dirty Trucker
They’re on the road for long hauls, away from their families, they have limited space, and there’s no shower. They must be dirty, right?
Perhaps at one time when there were less trucks on the road, and truck stops were fewer in number, it meant travelling farther before you could properly stop and wash up. Today it’s a different story.
The average commuting driver has no need to pull into a truck stop, as they are only on the road for a short time. Chances are that they won’t notice the quantity or quality of truck stops. Not only are there multiple phone apps to locate truck stops, but almost all of these facilities have full amenities, showers and even laundry services.
2. Overweight and Unhealthy
Obesity is generally caused by eating too much and moving too little. Really then, any job where you don’t have to move much can cause obesity. All it takes is to consume high amounts of fats and sugars, then not burn off said energy through exercise or physical activity. The surplus energy is then stored as fat in the body. As you can see, this process is definitely not restricted only to the truck driver profession.
Unfortunately, the statistics for the truck driver profession don’t shed a positive light on the industry. In 2014, truck drivers had the highest rating of obesity prevalence, making up 38.6 percent of all truck drivers.
Not all truckers get hung up on any statistics or pre-conceived notions about the look of the industry. Websites like, The Healthy Trucker, have videos and tips for eating healthy and easy workouts for truckers. Many of the workouts are quite simple, and even show the driver how to use his truck to assist in the exercise.
Another factor is the growing use of wearable tech, which makes it much easier for drivers to track their health and exercise progress.
3. Men Are Better Drivers Than Women
It may seem that when you pass another truck on the highway, most likely it will have a male driver. Many have come to accept that this must be for a reason and that it just makes sense that women aren’t behind the wheel of such a massive machine.
Believe it or not, there are actually over 200,000 female truck drivers in the USA. It has even been proven that women pay more attention to detail, and are 4 times more likely to pass their CDL certification exam on the first attempt than men. Additionally, female drivers take less risky maneuvers which result in them being 3 times less likely to get in an accident and 5 times less likely to violate safety regulations.
For those who think that truck driving is too hard of a job for a woman, many women already had labour intensive jobs before they got into professional truck driving. A great example of this is Lisa Kelly, whom you may remember from the TV show ‘Ice Road Truckers’.
4. Menace On The Road
The media hasn’t always helped to push a truly positive image of the truck driver. Most of us loved the excitement from the 1977 hit ‘Smokey and the Bandit’, a story of a ‘road cowboy’ who won’t let the law stop his goals. Though we all love the Bandit, it may well have been those old classic movies that have slowly lead to the impression today that truckers are reckless with little respect for the law.
In reality, truckers are the safest drivers on the road. Not only are traffic violation fines expensive, they also negatively impact a transport companies ratings, which can lead to a company audit. If a driver is getting tickets on a regular basis, not only will it effect his driving record, but it can even lead to his termination. The story for a driver doesn’t end there. If a driver has a bad driving record, it will make it difficult for him to find a new job as a professional driver, as most trucking companies turn away those with a bad driving history.
5. Drugs and Alcohol
It is true that there are drivers in the trucking industry that may be dealing with a drug or alcohol addiction. However, in all fairness almost ANY industry will have individuals who are going through these types of personal issues.
Federal law mandates that at least 50% of all truck drivers take drug tests, compared to 0% of all passenger vehicles. A trucking company can face fines up to $850,000 if one of their drivers fails an alcohol or drug test. A driver can even find their career over if convicted of any of the following:
- Crime involving drugs
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Refusing to submit to an alcohol test required by a State’s laws or regulations
- Leaving the scene of an accident or crime
- Causing a fatality through negligent operation of a motor vehicle
In 2009, there were 10,839 driving crashes due to alcohol-impaired driving. Less than 5% were the result of a truck driver. Also in 2009, there were 1.4 million drivers arrested for driving under the influence of narcotics or alcohol. 6% of those arrests were truck drivers.These stats show that truckers are actually one of the safest drivers on the road at any given time.
Not at T&P
The worst stereotype is the one you believe. At T&P Trucking, we treat our drivers as the people they are and not like the stereotype that comes with the job. We appreciate all the hard work and long hours that our drivers give and do what we can to keep them happy and satisfied. We put a strong emphasis on family values and want all of our drivers to have quality time with their families, stay well rested, and have a positive attitude when they think about their work.
“The worst stereotype is the one you believe.”
We don’t expect our drivers to be better than everyone else, but we do expect them to be professionals. The following are ways we help our drivers to remain professional:
- Hold regular driver meetings to keep them up to date with company policies and current DOT regulations
- Email them articles such as our blog posts on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse
- Have regular training sessions on pre-trip inspections and load securement safety
Not only does this help prevent our drivers from receiving any tickets or fines, but we can all be rest assured knowing that their trucks and equipment are in good condition and won’t be the cause of any driving accidents.
Any profession will bring a certain amount of stress or anxiety. When people feel stressed, there are many who will turn to drugs or alcohol as a means to deal with such strong emotions. Truck driving is a tough job and T&P Trucking not only wants our drivers to enjoy what they do, but also to maintain healthy lives. When our drivers come to us with a work issue that is causing them anxiety, we do whatever we can to provide a solution that works for both sides.
Is there a stereotype we missed? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.