Today, we’re honoring a profession that has been the backbone of our nation’s economy for decades: truck driving. Few professions have been as romanticized in American culture as trucking. Our fascination with these road warriors has been reflected in movies, music, and literature, painting a vibrant picture of freedom, adventure, and camaraderie.

The cultural impact of trucking

Who can forget Kris Kristofferson’s rough-around-the-edges but warm-hearted hero in “Convoy”, or the catchy rhythm of C.W. McCall’s “Convoy” song that had us all dreaming of life on the open road? In literature, Steinbeck’s “Travels with Charley” gave us a glimpse into the solitary yet fulfilling life of a trucker.

But it’s not just about the glamour and the allure of the open road. Truck drivers interact with people from all walks of life, from small-town diners to bustling city centers. They’re often the ones who put a smile on a child’s face with a friendly wave or a blast of the horn. They make a difference in the communities they serve, whether by participating in charity rides or helping out in times of need.

Economically, truck drivers are the lifeblood of our nation. According to the American Trucking Associations, trucks move approximately 71.4% of the nation’s freight by weight, contributing billions to the U.S. economy. They ensure that businesses, big and small, can function smoothly, and that you and I can enjoy the products we love.

The evolution of the profession

In the early days, truck driving was all about grit and determination. Drivers navigated rough roads and long distances — without the aid of modern technology. They were pioneers in a sense, paving the way for the vast interconnected network of commerce we see today.

As technology advanced, so did the profession. The introduction of CB radios in the 1970s revolutionized communication on the road, making journeys safer and more efficient. Over time, advancements like GPS navigation, electronic logging devices, and automated transmissions have further transformed the profession, enhancing driver safety and efficiency.

But it’s not just about the technology. The role of truck drivers has expanded beyond mere delivery. Today’s drivers are customer service representatives, logistics experts, and safety advocates. They’re the face of the companies they represent, often being the only personal interaction customers have.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the role of truck drivers became more crucial than ever. As many of us sheltered in place, truck drivers were on the front lines, ensuring vital supplies reached every corner of the country. Their dedication reminded us of the essential role they play in our everyday lives.

The Heroes of the Road

While truck drivers may appear to be unsung heroes, there are certainly real-life heroes among them like Carter Express driver Bradley Edwards, a true Highway Angel.

Bradley, who is from Athens, Ala., was named a Highway Angel by the Truckload Carriers Association for helping rescue a badly injured trucker when his tanker truck crashed. He pulled over to assist, running to the tanker, which was leaking fuel and was at risk of catching fire. Edwards used a crowbar to break out the back glass of the tractor and rescue the crash victim. Edwards, an Air Force veteran, who works out of the Carter Express Anderson, Ind., location never hesitated to stop and help – and we couldn’t be prouder that this selfless professional is on our team.

The Changing Face of Trucking

Moreover, the truck driving profession has also become more inclusive over time. More and more women are joining the ranks, bringing diversity and fresh perspectives to the industry. This shift reflects a broader societal change, and we applaud the industry for embracing it.

So, here’s to the professional truck drivers we all depend on. Your role has changed considerably over the years, but what hasn’t changed is your unwavering commitment to your crucial job. Your friends at Carter Express see you, we appreciate you, and we thank you for your service. Keep on trucking!