Is truck driving difficult? Our truck drivers have to cope with crowded highways, busy city streets, too few parking areas and long hours behind the wheel. Add to that well enforced road rules and strict Department of Transport regulations and life as a tough driver can be tough. Or is it?
If you compare the working life of an American truck driver and one who drives trucks in China or Iraq, for example, then what we have is pretty easy really. In China, truck drivers have to cope with long hours behind the wheel, and we do mean long hours. There are no DoT regulations that enforce regular breaks. Roads can become so congested that traffic comes to a complete standstill – not for an hour or two. No, for a day or two. In fact, earlier this year one major highway came to a complete standstill for several weeks. We don’t suffer that, even in heavy snow.
In Iraq, you have the added pressure of dust, heat, and the occasional stray bullet. You may even find you’re driving over a road that has recently been mined – not for minerals, but with land mines. Wages for truck drivers in both China and Iraq are low and some companies penalize drivers when deliveries are late – imagine being stuck for weeks in the one place with your wage being penalized for every hour you are late. It’s no wonder they have so many truck accidents in these two countries.
Truck drivers in the U.S. have it reasonably good really. They are well paid, there are enforced breaks to ensure drivers are not overtired, and there are no penalties for being late. Truck driver training is comprehensive ensuring new drivers start their working life on the right foot. In many countries, your truck driving training starts and ends with being given the keys to the truck (if they have keys that is) – you learn by the seat of your pants. Truck driving has often been nominated as one of the best careers in the nation – those who do the job know why. It’s certainly not a tough job but I wouldn’t say that truck driving is easy either.