In years past, professional truck drivers were known as the “Knights of the Road”, looked upon as highway heroes crisscrossing the country in their donation toward the greatness of America. In the fifties and sixties, their pride in the profession was well noted by their shiny-kept rigs while dressed in sharp uniforms. It was a vocation that was respected by all, including the trucking companies which employed them.
The history pertaining to the fall of this once factual image is a long one; much too long for a simple blog post. The many aspects within the trucking industry which has contributed to its decline is well known among the veterans, and although there are still those drivers who work toward displaying the same pride and self respect from decades gone by, the past “image” of the “truck driver” is in large part, a sad one.
Among those striving to regain that long-lost illustration of the conveyor of our nation’s cargo, is Brian Carlson, founder of the Drive for Freedom (DFF) organization. A non-profit advocacy organization under section 501(c) (3), the DFF takes driver image seriously, believing that “one must take responsibility and lead by example if professional drivers are going to be able to accomplish positive change for their industry.”
The DFF is much more than a social media group and page, although it does share much info on social media platforms: it is an established foundation with directly settled programs which are aimed at achieving its goal in providing positive change and solutions to those issues faced by drivers and the industry.
The Team Field Advisor Safety Program is one such example which is based on driver commitment in achieving three positive goals: reducing accidents, improve public’s view of drivers’ image and a drivers-support-drivers initiative.
The image portrayed within any industry plays an enormous role in the success of its employees and business status. The image which comes across to customers, business partners, consumers and the general public as a whole, can affect the outcome of many important aspects related to personal and business accomplishments. For the trucking industry, these will include such issues as driver wages, FMCSA safety ratings, driver skill classification, truck parking concerns, and even regulations.
To achieve regaining the honor and respect which was once naturally interpolated among the professional driver, will take the full collaboration of all involved within the industry: drivers, brokers, shippers, receivers, motor carriers et al.
Brian Carlson was our recent guest on the Ask The Trucker “LIVE” program, discussing the driver image issue further, along with the goals of the Drive for Freedom organization. Among callers were other drivers within the industry working toward reclaiming the “Knights” title and representing drivers in leading by example:
Rick Ash and Henry Albert of the Trucking Solutions Group and Tom Ingraldi, contributing member for the North American Trucking Alerts (NATA), were a few joining in on the conversation. Also sharing in the conversation was Richard Wilson of TCRG Consulting, who is also on the advisory council as Regulation and Compliance Representative for NATA. We are proud and honored to also have Rick, Henry, Rich, and Brian as members and contributing authors for NATA.
The truck driver “image” is a serious problem for the industry and organizations such as these see the importance in addressing the issue and working toward the solution, as well as other important aspects such as driver health, etc.
To learn more about the Drive for Freedom organization or to become a supporting member, visit: drive4freedom and speak directly with Brian or Jennifer Carlson.
© 2015, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.