September 11-17 is National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. It’s an important time for Americans to thank and pay respect to the 3.6 million professional men and women who deliver our goods safely, securely, and on time. Let’s dive deeper into the meaning and history of this week, and how you can show your appreciation for professional truck drivers’ hard work and ongoing commitment to excellence.

What is National Truck Driver Appreciation Week?

Trucking is one of our economy’s most demanding and important jobs, keeping products moving across the country and around the corner, no matter the circumstances. The Covid-19 pandemic hit everyone hard, but truckers faced especially tough challenges. With more people staying home and ordering goods than ever before, supply chain disruptions, long waits at docks, and facilities closed along the way, truck drivers had to find a way to make things happen.

They rose to the challenge, making sure people from coast to coast could find the food, cleaning supplies, and medical products they needed to ride out the pandemic. And who can forget the TV news images of the very first Covid-19 vaccines rolling out of their manufacturing facilities? Truly precious cargo carried on semi-trucks.

But even before the pandemic, trucking has always been hard work. Truckers spend long hours on the road. Over-the-road (OTR) drivers may be away from their families and friends for days or weeks at a time. They have seemingly endless paperwork requirements, Hours of Service regulations, and other details to think about. And they’re responsible for more than 70% of the goods transported across the United States.

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is our chance to give back to these hardworking men and women. It’s a time for businesses and individual citizens alike to do what they can to thank truck drivers for their service.

How did National Truck Driver Appreciation Week get started?

Bill Webb would eventually serve as President and CEO of the Texas Motor Transportation Association (now TXTA). But in the early 1990s, he was a driver recruiter for a Texas-based carrier. Webb came to realize that recruiting and retaining drivers depended in large part on showing respect and appreciation for them. So he set out on a mission that would eventually evolve into National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. From the beginning, he wanted to do a week rather than a single day because truckers don’t visit headquarters every day. The first official National Truck Driver Appreciation Week was held by the American Trucking Association in 1998.

Ways to show your appreciation to truck drivers

There are so many ways to show your appreciation to truck drivers on both a corporate and individual level. Restaurants, gas station chains, and other businesses that cater to truckers often provide discounts, giveaways, and other promotions. School groups often organize to hand out free lunches at nearby warehouses. People of all ages can buy or make I Love Truckers signs and bumper stickers. Even a social media post with a hashtag such as #NTDAW or #ThankATrucker can go a long way toward helping truck drivers feel appreciated.

If you’re a carrier or freight broker, you can go even further in thanking the truckers who work for you. Consider gift cards, small bonuses, or other tokens of your appreciation. Even a care package with snacks for the road would be highly appreciated by most truck drivers. And if you see one of your truckers in person, be sure to give them a genuine thanks for all they do.

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