The trucking industry is among the largest employers in the United States. More than 70% of America’s freight moves through its roads. However, there exist misconceptions about the job not only among the masses but also among the drivers.
If you wish to explore a career in trucking, then you may want to learn about the myths and some negative perceptions that exist about this job. You will be better prepared to enter this industry once you know what it is all about.
- Learning truck driving is costly – It’s not. Learning truck driving to acquire a Commercial Driver’s License is an affordable activity. A CDL can be earned in 4 weeks, and there are ways to get no cost CDL courses, and then you’re on your way to earning money as a truck driver. Compared to four years of college, the CDL course costs significantly less, and you begin earning after a month’s training. In fact, there are many trucking companies that will sponsor you. You don’t even have to worry about any out-of-pocket expenses.
- A trucking job is only for men – More than 200,000 female truck drivers are plying the roads and highways of America. This is a gender-neutral employment opportunity. Many women operate as solo truck drivers, while some run teams, often with their spouses. So long as you can drive a truck, have the appropriate license for the job, and are willing to work the hours, you can become a truck driver, regardless of your gender.
- Truck drivers are the fringes of society – Nothing could be further from the truth. Americans know that truckers keep the economy moving. America was built through its highways. The railroad moves only a fraction of the load that trucks carry. Trucking today is a much more respectable and comfortable job than it was before. Educated individuals are getting into the trucking business, running owner-operator firms.
- Trucking is easy – With more than 2 million commercial truck drivers in America, this must be an easy job. But it isn’t really. You need to clear the CDL tests, be committed to work without physical supervision, stay on the right side of the law, work long hours, and be away from the family.
- Truckers do not maintain hygiene – Hollywood has played a role in perpetuating this myth. Truckers are not a greasy lot. They have access to all the conveniences of home, maybe not within reach always. But with motels, guest houses, and their own small but comfortable spaces in the trucks, truckers do not need to worry about anything. Trucks today are far more comfortable than they were two decades back.
- Truck drivers are not friendly – Truck drivers operate to deadlines. They are pressed for time, and yet there are many documented cases of truckers reaching out to help people in distress. They are as sensitive to their responsibilities to the community as the next person. They operate heavy vehicles and have to drive responsibly, maintain a clean record, and complete their runs to the destination on time.
- Truckers are responsible for road accidents –Statistics show that other drivers are thrice as likely to cause an accident. Truck drivers ensure safety on the roads for themselves and other drivers. The bulk of the accidents involving truck drivers occur due to the other drivers driving in a trucker’s blind spot and then suddenly braking. Trucks are heavy vehicles and will cover some distance even after braking.
- Trucking does not pay – One of the reasons trucking is such a popular source of employment is that it is a paying job. At this moment there is a shortage of drivers. Trucking companies are willing to pay more to hire good drivers. People become truckers because an annual pay of around $50,000 for beginners is a much more attractive alternative to people who’d rather be in a position to earn after a month or two of training instead of spending four years in college and then spending years paying off the debt. Truckers are not poor, and owner-operator trucking businesses are among the most popular SMB option in America.
- Trucking is a boring job – Trucking does involve sitting long hours behind the wheel, and even with all the hauling, loading, and unloading, it can be a sedentary job. But it’s not dull. Truckers move around. They get to see sights and gain experiences that others do not. Their vocation allows them to enjoy the foods, music, national parks, cities, and museums of the places they visit. Many truckers take the time to soak in experiences. It’s up to the individual. But trucking is definitely not a boring job.
- Trucking is only about long-distance jobs – This is perhaps one of the biggest myths about this line. Trucking is not just about coast-to-coast driving. There are many short-distance routes, and many drivers are home in time for dinner every night.
- Trucking is all about driving – You’d expect it to be, but it’s not. A truck driver’s responsibilities extend beyond simply driving a truck. They have to plan the trip, participate in the loading/unloading, coordinate with the dispatchers, go over the rules and regulations, maintain logs, etc.
- Truck drivers are solitary people – Again, it varies with the individual. However, truckers have a sense of camaraderie, and they are willing to reach out. The job involves a lot of responsibility and accountability. Truck drivers are in charge of expensive vehicle and goods that may potentially be worth millions of dollars. Within their fraternity, they understand what it takes, and this builds a spirit of camaraderie. Truck drivers have a diverse circle and many trusted friends.
- Truckers are into substance abuse – No, they are not. To obtain and keep a CDL, truck drivers must test negative for drugs and must not have a record of involvement with substance abuse. They cannot drive under the influence. You cannot become a truck driver if you’ve been convicted of a felony involving an automobile. Trucking companies face stiff fines if their employees fail drug or alcohol tests. They are careful. Truck drivers are careful because their livelihood depends on it.