Sunday, September 13, 2020

Op-ed: Truckers always deliver for Alabama

By Mark Colson

It should go without saying that truck drivers are the backbone of America’s economy. Sometimes America’s 3.5 million truck drivers are taken for granted. But visit any grocery store, business, or medical facility in Alabama, and it becomes immediately obvious: Truckers move America.

Whether you’re buying clothing at a retail store or filling the tank at a gas station, nearly all aspects of our lives are impacted by the work of professional truck drivers. Even amid a pandemic, one in which we have faced unforeseen hardships and challenges, those highly-skilled professionals behind the wheel came through for America when we needed it most. Store shelves remained stocked and emergency goods were delivered to where they were needed most.

Professional truck drivers haul more than 10 billion tons of freight every year, which accounts for 70 percent of total U.S. freight tonnage, and more than 80 percent of U.S. communities rely exclusively on trucks to deliver their freight. To the surprise of many, Alabama trucking accounts for 1 in 14 jobs in the state employing more than 111,000 Alabamians.

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 truckers and their families make every day so that we never have to find out.

This week (Sept. 13-19, 2020), we will celebrate National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. It’s an opportunity for the public to extend a “thank you” to the men and women who drive America’s economy and keep our communities supplied.

Like other brave frontline workers, such as doctors, nurses, law enforcement officers, and store clerks, it is important to acknowledge those who step up daily to help ensure our way of life remains intact. This week, if you see a truck on the highway or a driver taking a break at a rest stop, take a moment to just say “thanks” – at the very least recognize that the driver is most likely in the middle of delivering the goods that keep America moving forward.

During National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, let’s all recognize the important role that truck drivers play in keeping our communities supplied and stocked with the critical goods that we sometimes take for granted. And, if you are interested in becoming a professional trucker, there is a great job waiting for you in Alabama with the 10,000 plus trucking companies that call Alabama home.

Mark Colson is President and CEO of the Alabama Trucking Association. He may be reached at