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Trucks with heavy carriages are not an unusual sight on the roads. They come in various shapes and sizes, running across fleeting highways, working on a schedule, taking close to no breaks, and always driving.
Taking the wheel in a truck is not for the weak-hearted, both in terms of the workload and responsibilities. They deliver tons of goods, necessary or luxury items to various distribution points across the country, making products accessible to us at the right time. Along with that, they also have to risk driving at odd hours of the night or in bad weather conditions so that consignments are timely delivered, and contractual agreements are fulfilled.
Truck drivers are a crucial but neglected part of the economy without whom we won’t be able to sustain as we wish to. According to a report in the US, close to 70% of the goods are transported through trucks, making it an extremely prominent transportation system. They move around close to 10 billion tons of goods per year, consuming 54 billion gallons of fuel supply. In this era of internet marketing and e-commerce, more goods are required to be moved around, therefore, requiring more trucks on duty.
Transportation is an important part of the supply chain, connecting the dots in the process. The movements of these truck drivers are planned and coordinated. A lot of research and tracking also goes behind it to make the route time as well as cost-efficient. But all of it is theoretical. It is made possible only by the efforts of truck drivers who are not given enough credit. Roads are rough; they have to manage traffic while ensuring the safekeeping of the products being transported.
The personal cost mentally and physically is also in abundance for the truck drivers. They have to work at least 30 hours more per week than employees in other sectors in addition to another 4-5 hours for loading and unloading cargo. In a year, they travel approximately 10,000-11,000 miles getting only one weekend at home in a month. Along with that, sitting and driving for such long hauls affect the physical health of these drivers plentiful. According to a US report, 80% of the drivers suffer from obesity due to lack of access to healthy food, poor eating habits, and limited or no exercise. Long work hours also lead to uneven sleep leading to insomnia and sleep apnea in many drivers.
Truck drivers truly are the backbone of our economy and the unsung heroes of the supply chain.