FERGUS, Ont. – National Trucking Week, scheduled for Sept. 11-17, is an annual celebration to recognize the important contributions made by the 400,000 Canadians who keep the country’s freight moving.
Drivers face so many challenges while on the road – traffic, expenses, border delays, log books and not enough time at home, just to name a few – yet too often they go without recognition for the job they do despite these challenges.
During National Trucking Week, provincial trucking associations, carriers, industry suppliers and other stakeholders are encouraged to undertake activities in their own province to mark the event. Truck News was at the Fergus Truck Show in Fergus, Ont. to ask drivers how they plan to celebrate.
“I don’t think I’ll be celebrating this year,” said Bill Driscoll, a company driver for Paradigm Trucking in Drayton, Ont. Driscoll said he likes the idea of an appreciation week and would really like to see it directed towards the motoring public and sharing the road with the big rigs.
“If there is more public awareness and things to teach people how to react to trucks on the road, it would certainly make our lives easier.”
Jim Edwards, an owner/operator from Kitchener, Ont. said it’s always nice to be appreciated but he is generally so busy that he doesn’t get a chance to participate in events put on for drivers.
“The companies I’ve worked for in the past have done things for National Trucking Week but unfortunately, I am usually not around to enjoy the events,” said Edwards.
“I find that there isn’t as much going on in Canada for appreciation weeks as there is in the U.S.,” said Ben VanderZwaag, a driver from Stoney Creek, Ont. “There’s always something going on at the truck stops in the U.S. and there’s a lot of advertising for it so we actually know that it’s going on.”
VanderZwaag said that any type of appreciation toward the trucking industry is good.
“We’ve got people working their hearts out all alone and so it’s great to have this kind of stuff.”
After 30 years of driving Jim Denney has seen an evolution in the trucking industry.
“It used to be different,” he said. “We used to have a program where we’d help people stranded on the road, and other things like that, but we don’t anymore. Things have changed.”
It’s the day-to-day things that make a difference, Denney said.
For veteran-driver Tom Stewart of Eastwood, Ont., National Trucking Week wasn’t something he scheduled into the calendar.
“I’ve never even heard of it, but I do think it’s a good idea,” said Stewart. “Drivers are hard to find today and by doing things like this it will make the industry much more attractive. I do think the industry is getting better.”