Westfield Hospital acknowledges, appreciates, and celebrates this nation's over-the-road drivers. The week of Sept. 16-22 is designated as Driver Appreciation Week. Trucks are more than annoyingly large vehicles on our highways. The drivers sitting in these trucks are moving important cargo from every inch of our country to another. They drive long days, during the dark evenings, intrepid weather, and during holidays to get your precious items delivered.
Often it is our country's drivers (aka truckers) who take needed supplies into devastated areas after natural disasters. They deliver clean water, fuel, food and the supplies to rebuild our infrastructure. Driving is a career choice for many and most of our national transportation goes unrecognized. There are many drivers with safe records - driving a million miles without an accident. How many vehicular drivers can make that claim?
There are 3.1 - 3.5 million professional truck drivers on America's roadways. About 80 percent of the U.S. communities, from California to Maine, depend on the trucking industry to deliver their goods and commodities. These essential items include medicine, food, clothing. The trucking industry is safe; in 2005, over 400 million miles were safely traveled by truck drivers.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has stringent rules for truckers. The U.S. also has a truck classification system and truckers are required to have a Commercial Driver's License ( CDL) to operate a CMV with a gross weight rating in excess of 26,000 pounds. Getting a CDL license is different than a motor vehicle license. The driver must take a skills test (pre-trip inspection and driving test) and a written knowledge test. Truckers must understand the unique handling qualities of driving a large, heavily loaded commercial vehicle; they need to comprehend the mechanical systems required to operate a large vehicle (air brakes, suspension, cargo securement, etc...). And truckers must be declared fit by a medical examiner (visit www.tilghmanmc.com). These DOT physicals must be completed no less than every two years.
Did you know that one in every 15 working Americans is employed by the trucking industry, making it one of our nation's largest employers? For more information, visit www.trucksbringit.com.
The trucking industry delivers life's essential freight - safely, securely, and on time. This week is National Driver Appreciation Week. Thank a driver for bringing you all the necessities that you need, including medical supplies.
Healthy Regards to our friends, the truckers.
Diane Roberts-Tatum is director of marketing at Westfield Hospital in South Whitehall.