September 12-18 marks a special time for the trucking industry.
National Truck Driver Appreciation Week is earmarked as a time for America to honor professional drivers for their hard work and sacrifices in delivering necessities across our continent.
The industry is often referred to as the backbone of the economy, with the drivers acting as the heart.
Last year, truck drivers delivered 11.84 billion tons of freight around the country, according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA). Today, more than 80% of U.S. communities rely on truck drivers to deliver goods, allowing some of the nation’s most remote locations access to modern conveniences. With stringent regulations and commercial training, professional drivers are committed to safely delivering all the things that make our collective quality of life possible.
National Truck Driver Appreciation Week was founded by ATA in 1998 as a way to honor drivers. This year, there are many different events held by various companies and organizations to show appreciation to truckers.
NASCAR superstar Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his racing team have partnered with Pilot Flying J to raise awareness about the importance of trucking with an initiative called #ThankATrucker.
“At JR Motorsports, we know the importance and value of our nation’s truck drivers. Our drivers travel the country to NASCAR Xfinity Series events, and the trailers they carry allow us to do our job on the track each week. We join Pilot Flying J in thanking all the men and women who keep our country moving every day. Take the time today to #ThankATrucker,” Earnhardt said.
Featured on the hood of the No. 1 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet NASCAR is the saying, “If you’ve got it, a trucker brought it” and #ThankATrucker is emblazoned across the rear of the car.
Steve Vanderink, vice president of regional sales for Pilot Flying J, along with Earnhardt, recently revealed the racecar’s new look. Vanderink thanked the fleet customers whowere special guests at the event, representing the thousands of fleets and millions of professional drivers across the industry.
“Pro drivers have carried us through this past year, delivering food, supplies and medicines around the country,” Vanderink said. “They have been our heroes during the pandemic. We hope this Driver Appreciation month will help raise awareness of their sacrifices and inspire all of us to celebrate what they do.”
Michael Annett, who has driven the Pilot Flying J car since 2007, has a special place in his heart for the transportation industry. His dad was the chairman of TMC Transportation, so he knows first-hand how important trucking is and can appreciate being a “pro” behind the wheel.
The special NASCAR vehicle can be seen racing Sept. 11 at Richmond Raceway and on Sept.18 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Additionally, Pilot Co. is encouraging motorists to join in bringing back the “trucker salute.” Pilot stores will be rewarding professional drivers all month long with free drinks, bonus loyalty points and more perks.
“Professional drivers have carried us through many tough times, especially over this past year and a half, and we all owe them our gratitude and thanks,” said Shameek Konar, CEO of Pilot Co. “Our annual Driver Appreciation month in September is a special time to recognize and celebrate professional drivers everywhere, including our own Pilot drivers. The Pilot team thanks all of you and gives you a ‘Trucker Salute’ for working incredibly hard to haul all of the goods needed across the nation.”
For those unfamiliar with the “Trucker Salute,” Pilot Company produced a video of the classic arm pump gesture that many professional drivers miss seeing and responding to with a friendly blow of their horn.
To help bring back this beloved tradition, share a video of a “Trucker Salute” on social media. Pilot Co. will donate $5 to Trucking Moves America Forward (TMAF) for each post that tags @PilotFlyingJ and uses the #ThankATrucker hashtag, up to $25,000.
Most other trucks stops across the nation are also offering promotions and specials as a way to thank truckers for their work.
Travel Centers of America (TA) is holding an appreciation “swipestakes” where drivers can swipe their UltraONE card at the pump, truck service shop or UltraONE Kiosks.
The grand prize is 1,500,000 UltraOne Points; second prize is an Indian Scout Bobber or Rolex watch; third prize is two plane tickets anywhere in the continental U.S. plus a $500 gift card; and 70 runners up will receive 50,000 UltraOne points.
At Love’s, giveaways include a chance to win $100 instantly by using the My Love Rewards card each day in September. Drivers can enter to win 1 million Love Rewards points using the touch screen kiosks at the truckstop locations.
Love’s is also offering a special on apparel, giving away a free hat with the purchase of three pairs of Love’s gloves.
The Trucker News Staff produces engaging content for not only TheTrucker.com, but also The Trucker Newspaper, which has been serving the trucking industry for more than 30 years. With a focus on drivers, the Trucker News Staff aims to provide relevant, objective content pertaining to the trucking segment of the transportation industry. The Trucker News Staff is based in Little Rock, Arkansas.