A cowboy on the highway, an overweight, and lazy older guy, a foul-mouthed alcoholic, or a person that’s doing his job and driving the U.S. economy? The image of truck drivers has been evolving for years, even decades. Though the truck drivers’ stereotypes will always be present, trying to break them is what we all owe to the truckers.
More than thirty years ago truck drivers were seen as heroes, people who were trusted. They were also appreciated for the help they provided to people in trouble on the highway. Truck air horns were attracting childrens’ attention and they were admiring truckers for driving such huge monster machines. Unfortunately, during the last few decades, the image of truck drivers has started to slide down negatively.
Although there are some really bad and negative examples of truck drivers who are to some extent responsible for the current image of the whole profession, the media has contributed to the negative public image and truck driver stereotypes that humiliate honest professionals who are earning their living. Either in horror movies or comedies, truckers were represented as maniacs.
Another cause may be found in the industry growth that demanded a higher number of truckers in a short period. Due to the shortage of truckers, there was a flood of inexperienced and incompetent drivers. Even though certain stereotypes rely on some elements of truth, none of us can stay immune to one apple spoiling the bunch.
Alcoholic and Druggies
The substance abuse issue is very far from the truth. It’s one of the biggest misconceptions bearing in mind that today companies require drug and alcohol tests on their drivers randomly which means they can be suddenly tested with no real reason. If you’re asking whether substance abuse can happen, the answer is definitely yes but the individuals will bear the harsh consequences and even lose their job so this stereotype just doesn’t hold a lot of weight.
Uneducated Bad Language Trucker
It is often thought that truck drivers are single men, usually uneducated with very very bad language. You’d be surprised how many truck drivers are well-mannered parents. It is undoubtedly very hard traveling on the road for several days so it is kind of expected to hear some bad language from time to time and again, it really depends on personality.
In every profession, there are people with good and bad language. It is usually believed that truckers use bad words due to a lack of education. It comes from the idea that truck drivers are not required to have a college degree. However, truckers come from different backgrounds and different educational levels. It’s high time to break the stigma that those who have chosen the trucking career haven’t advanced in their education. It’s nothing else than truck drivers’ stereotypes.
Many university-educated people are involved in trucking as their second career. In addition, they learn lots of new things while being on the road. They meet people of various profiles, visit different places, and have a plethora of information about geography and economics.
Truck Drivers Rarely Have Shower and Don’t Sleep
We bet that you have once smelled a bad odor coming from a truck cab and that was enough to acquire a stereotype that truck drivers have poor hygiene. But you probably missed noticing the smell from hundreds of other trucks just because there was nothing odd, right? Well, that’s because most of the truckers are not stinky and dirty mustache men. On the contrary, a big majority of them take pride in keeping their bodies, clothes, and cabs clean and fresh. Today it’s easier than ever since most truck stops have fully-equipped facilities where truckers can have a shower. Companies themselves contribute to the truckers’ hygiene because they have imposed certain cleanliness standards.
In addition, after a shower, truck drivers do go to sleep. Truckers can choose between a well-equipped sleeper cab or motels and hotels. Nowadays, sleep cabs are designed to carry most of the conveniences of home so they are additionally equipped with cookware, mini-fridges, coffee machines, etc.
Women Are Not Meant To Be Truck Drivers
It’s awkward that in the 21st-century truck driving is still seen as an only-male job. Rarely can we see a female truck driver on TV or in ads? Society has been portraying the position in a very wrong manner, especially today when there are more than 16% of women drivers. Not only are there women truckers, but the percentage of female drivers is constantly increasing. An interesting fact is that in the period between 2019 and 2021 there was a 2% increase in female truckers. Besides the stereotype that women are not meant to be truck drivers, there is a belief that they are worse and less capable than men. Thankfully, as we tend to keep pace with time, this truck drivers’ stereotype is sliding downhill.
We are sure that every company has individuals that fit each stereotype, not only in trucking but in every single industry. The overall truth is that truck drivers are professionals from different cultural and educational backgrounds who are doing their job as well as they can and misconceptions that people have are far from the truth. Sometimes we are afraid that the damage stereotypes have caused might be permanent and unjustified.
However, breaking stereotypes is our duty because we know that our drivers (both men and women) are honest, professional and family people with no alcohol and drug records so labeling the whole profession according to a few individuals is just not right and not acceptable.