Friday, March 15, 2013

The Trucker Stereotype

What do you think of when you hear that someone is a trucker?  

When I was a kid, I had a friend who didn't have a good opinion of truckers.  His father didn't like them, so neither did he.  I never found out why he didn’t like truckers, but to my knowledge he never even knew a trucker.  This is a stereotype.  Judging a book by its cover is not a healthy practice and neither is perpetuating stereotypes.

Before my time in trucking, the truck stops were small, independently owned, and there were prostitutes, drugs, outlaws, and generally seedy characters who frequented the parking lots.  At least that is what I am led to believe.  How would I know?  It was BEFORE my time. 

This is what I know after 17 years out here on the road:

-There are virtually NO prostitutes in any of the truck stops.  I can count on one hand how many truck stops I have seen prostitutes in and I wouldn't even be using all of my fingers.
-There is practically NO drug use.
-Most, if not all, of the drivers I have known are hardworking people who are trying to fund retirement accounts, feed their families, and stay out of trouble.
-Their sole priority is to be safe and professional at all times.
-The average age of a driver is 50.
-The average new driver has come from another industry.

The fact is, truck drivers are under so much scrutiny these days, that there is no room for screw-ups anymore.  The CSA, HOS, FMCSA, DOT, and a bunch of other letters from the alphabet are on watch and have just about completely cleaned up the industry.  Apparently it used to be a bad place to work!  No more.  If you are thinking of getting high, frequenting houses of prostitution, or being free to do all sorts of mischief around the country, you might consider another line of work.  Trucking isn’t for you.  You won’t last very long and you will probably cause all sorts of accidents.  It won’t be long until you are in jail. 

These days trucking is about staying busy and managing your money.  I'm not saying there aren't those types of people still coming into trucking, those looking for these things and who will find them, but you are more likely to find fuel tank polishers in a truck stop parking lot than anything else.  So feel free to enjoy the few videos you will find on YouTube of two or three lot lizards climbing in and out of trucks.  You'll find more businessmen, college students, and other travelling professionals frequenting the Asian “spas” that are open until 5 AM, than you will if you combined all the truckers paying lot lizards for their services.

One last thing:

The truckers of today are on watch and keeping an eye out for trafficked women in truck stops.  They even have a website dedicated to it:

Truckers Against Trafficking

This is a relatively new effort, and it's working.  The more truckers know, the more they step up and help.

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