Why truckers are the hardest working people in America.
You Work How Much?
300 days a year. 14 hours a day. No, those are not the working schedules of healthcare workers. Those crazy hours belong to another branch of our 2020 heroes – truckers.
There are 3.5 million truckers in America, and they each drive an average of 91,000 miles every year. When you take that number and split it day-by-day, that comes out to almost 300 miles per shift. If that doesn’t sound so difficult, remember that they’re not driving a sedan. They’re behind the wheel of an 80,000-pound rig – a machine that is sixteen times heavier than the average car. And now, with the hauling of essential goods not being counted against a driver’s hours of service, those days behind the wheel can be even longer.
On their own, those numbers might not mean much. But the impact those days, trucking hours and miles have on the American way of life is significant. 71 percent of all freight is moved by trucks – 10.8 billion tons every year. That’s more than 65,000 pounds for every one of the 328 million people living in America. Not all that freight goes to consumers, but a lot of it does. So much so that if truckers stopped working, grocery stores would start running out of food in 3 days. And that’s only 72 hours without trucking. Within a week, gas stations would be empty and hospitals would be without medical supplies.
Carrying the Weight of America
The possibility of a shortage is, of course, what many Americans are worrying about right now in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. Although being a trucker during this time has its challenges, the solitary nature of the job and the sanitation practices many companies have put in place have ensured that truckers can keep on trucking. And people notice.
“I don’t do it for the cheers,” says Aaron Griffth, a driver with Variant, “but it’s nice to be appreciated for working hard.” Aaron’s been a trucker for two years, but he says he’s never worked harder than now. “Trucking is a tough job. It’s not for everyone. But right now, being part of a team that keeps grocery stores stocked and hospitals supplied is really rewarding.”
Variant Keeps On Truckin’
Not all truckers are as fortunate as Aaron right now. According to Business Insider, more than 88,000 truckers lost their jobs in April. Being a trucker with Variant means that Aaron’s freight is planned by Variant Optimizer™ – a fleet management platform that is always updating to get truckers more miles and better loads. And because most of the freight Variant carries are household goods – products Americans are buying now more than ever – loads have been steady. Aaron has also been earning more too because a lot of the freight he’s carrying are considered “essential,” which exempts him from Hours of Service regulations.
“It’s nice waking up knowing you’ve got a job to do, and that people are depending on you,” says Aaron. “And it’s also nice to work for a company that respects me and my work.”
And after working several 14-hour days in a row, you better believe he deserves it.