This week is National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. We've put together a list of five ways that carriers, brokers, and shippers can show appreciation and respect to a driver, including suggestions from the drivers themselves.
1. Respect the Driver’s Time
An extra 15 minutes held up at a loading dock or stuck in traffic can be the difference between a driver getting home to family and being stuck in the sleeper cabin another night. Drivers take extra care to manage their hours-of-service (HOS) and mandatory breaks so they can avoid situations like that.
There might not be anything you can do about the traffic, but you can help by not detaining drivers any longer than necessary when loading and unloading the truck or counting product. Or if the driver is detained longer than the standard two hour grace period, compensate them for their time. Just like yours, the driver’s time is valuable.
2. Fair Pay
Drivers tend to stay with companies that show that their work is appreciated, and driver retention is a key concern for carriers. Truck drivers have unique skill sets, and with the shortage of new drivers entering the industry, those skills are increasingly rare in today’s work force. That's why they deserve to be well-compensated for the specialized services that they provide, whether that means getting paid by the hour or by the mile.
Will the load be available in the morning? Is there anywhere to park the truck if the driver arrives at the destination early? Will there be lumpers, and who’s paying the fee? Are the pallets shrinkwrapped?
Letting the driver know everything there is to know about the load shows that you appreciate what goes into doing the job well.
4. Time at Home
A lot of drivers got into the job because they like the open road. That doesn’t mean they want to live there. Home time matters big time.
For carriers, that means learning your drivers’ preferences. Some may want short runs, while others are happy to be away from home for long stretches. Show your appreciation by doing your best to match each driver with the schedule that best fits his or her needs.
5. Access to Facilities
When drivers arrive at the delivery dock, they’ve likely just spent a few hours behind the wheel. Give them access to the facilities. A couch, cup of coffee, or just access to the bathroom is a simple gesture of appreciation for the person who just safely delivered your valuable freight.