Posted by Posted by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao
National Truck Driver Appreciation Week (September 9-15) is occurring this year just as Hurricane Florence is bearing down on the East Coast. Millions of people are going to be especially grateful in the coming days for the truck drivers who will be delivering food, fuel and other critical supplies. Many of the men and women driving these trucks will be braving adverse road and weather conditions to get their loads through to communities.
When a disaster causes store shelves to empty, gas pumps to shut off and electrical grids to shut down, America’s truck drivers bring in the supplies that save lives, provide comfort and allow people to rebuild. So we should all be even more appreciative than usual this week for their hard work and professionalism. And let’s wish these men and women safe travel and help them out by operating our own vehicles in a safer manner in proximity to large trucks.
80 percent of U.S. communities rely solely on trucks for the delivery of goods. Truck drivers delivered nearly 12 billion tons of freight in the U.S. in 2016 and contribute well over $700 billion annually to our economy. Life literally would not be the same – for anyone -- without America’s truck drivers.
At the Department of Transportation we are also focused on looking to the future of the trucking workforce. We are striving to remove unnecessary obstacles or regulatory barriers that prevent qualified individuals from gaining their CDL and earning a good living. On July 5, we announced a pilot program to permit 18-20 year olds who possess the U.S. military equivalent of a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate large trucks in interstate commerce. This program will allow veterans and reservists to translate their extensive training into good-paying jobs operating commercial vehicles safely across the country, while also addressing the nationwide driver shortage.
The Department of Transportation appreciates America’s truck drivers who are working hard and in a safe manner to perform the demanding and important work of hauling freight. Their efforts are critical to the U.S. economy and the quality of life of all our citizens.