We all make assumptions. No one has the time or the energy to get to the bottom of every single thing they encounter – assumptions help you get through the day. However, things are often very different from what we initially expect. Take the transportation industry for instance: everything you buy or use was on a truck at one point or another. Trucking facilitates so many things that we do and powers the entire economy, yet most people know very little about it.

We thought it might be interesting to ask some of our drivers and others what they felt were the most common misconceptions non-drivers have about themand then poll some non-drivers to see if they were right.     

What Truck Drivers Thought

When we asked truckers what they felt were misconceptions non-drivers had about them, the most common answers werehow “easy” the job is (42%)money (15.8%), and education (15.8%). 

Other answers were: accidents (10.5%), male dominated (10.5%), and home time (5%). 

Polling Non-drivers

These were the results we got from polling people NOT in the transportation industry:

Difficulty of the Job

When asked, “Do truck drivers have an easy job?”

Although most truckers believe that non-drivers assuming driving a truck is “easy”, less than 10% of poll responders actually felt this way. Only 6.72% to be exact. So, it appears that even those without direct experience behind the wheel are starting to become aware of just how difficult the job is.   

Pay

When asked, “On average, how much does an OTR driver make annually?”

9% said less than 40K 

27% said 40-50K 

28% said 50-60K 

35% said more than 60K 

On the question of pay, the drivers were right. The majority of people surveyed indicated that they thought the average OTR driver makes 60K and up. Trucking can be a very lucrative career, but a lot of that depends on the requirements of each specific position. On average, OTR drivers make around $59,000 per year. 

Education

When asked, “Are truck drivers college educated?”

Driving attracts people of all backgrounds and walks of life. Some started at a very young age and have done nothing else, while others have had long successful careers in other fields before making the switch and discovering the love of the open road. Based on a survey done in 2019, about 7% of truck drivers have obtained a bachelor’s degree.  

Accidents

When asked, “When truck drivers are involved in an accident, is it typically the trucker’s fault?”

It’s easy to understand why truckers might think that non-drivers feel this way. There is no shortage of TV ads from law firms that paint truck drivers involved in accidents as irresponsible or negligent. Unfortunately, vehicle accidents are a common occurrence. In the U.S. there are 6 million accidents per year. Accidents involving trucks happen around 500,000 times. According to our poll, 88% of people disagree with the idea that accidents are usually the trucker’s fault.   

Gender

When asked, “Are drivers typically male or female?”

Not surprisingly, almost all respondents indicated that they thought truckers were typically male. While they are correct, more females are getting behind the wheel every year. In 2018, out of the 3.5 million drivers in the industry, 234,234 of them were female –that‘s roughly 6.6%. Today it’s probably closer to 10% and growing!   

Home Time

When asked, “On average, do OTR drivers make it home every weekend?”

Drivers seem to think that non-drivers assume they are home every weekend. While most companies would love to get their drivers home every weekend, coordinating so many moving parts is very difficult. This means that OTR drivers sometimes have to stay out for 2 or more weeks at a time. Non-drivers seem to have at least some appreciation for the complexity of the industry, because 84% of them indicated that they do not think truckers are home every weekend.   

Conclusion

Based on our polls, there definitely were some misconceptions about truckers and the industry on the part of non-drivers, but not nearly as many as truckers expected. Which just goes to show that misconceptions can go both ways, and none of us are immune to assumptions.  

And if you’re interested in joining a trucking company that breaks out of the mold of what drivers expect from trucking companies, check out ShipEX.  

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