September 4, 2023 / by Yurii Kolomiiets
Celebrating National Truck Driver Appreciation Week
Truck drivers contribute more to our economy than many people consider. Trucks deliver the food we eat, the goods we buy, and more. When it comes to economic contribution, for-hire transportation services contributed $169.8 billion, while in-house trucking operations contributed $199.1 billion to the annual transportation industry. Truck drivers are responsible for transporting 70% of U.S. freight, while 80% of U.S. communities are dependent on trucks for their medicine, food, raw materials, and other essentials.
It’s one of the most demanding jobs on the market, often with significant mental health impacts like stress, anxiety, and depression. That’s why trucking companies must show their appreciation for their drivers constantly. However, National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, which comes around every September, offers a chance to be a little more vocal.
The event originated in the early 1990s when, according to Bill Webb, a 30-plus year industry executive and former President and CEO at the Texas Motor Transportation Association, “… it just came to us that if we were going to expect people outside the industry to respect drivers, we needed to do a better job inside the industry.” When this event took off in the United States, Canada also initiated a similar event called “National Trucking Week,” which begins the first Sunday in September every year.
Solera Fleet Solutions appreciates truck drivers, and we want to acknowledge all they do for businesses and consumers alike. This event provides a unique opportunity for you to thank your drivers and a great time to raise public awareness of how much those in this profession do. You could do many things, but here is a list of several ideas to show your appreciation during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week (NTDAW).
During this special truck driver appreciation week, host giveaways for your drivers. Include big-ticket items: new CB radios, phones, hands-free Bluetooth headphones, and other items your drivers could upgrade but often wouldn’t for themselves.
Hold daily raffles. At the end of the week, have a grand-prize drawing for something big and truly unique, like an all-inclusive vacation getaway (plus the time off) or something of similar value.
Give away food (but keep it healthy)
You can’t say no to a free lunch, and neither can drivers during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week 2023. But drivers, just like everyone else, are more health conscious than ever.
Offer free lunches or vouchers for common lunch spots truckers visit while on the road, and encourage your team to make healthy choices. For local routes, sack lunches can be a good alternative.
Host family nights or outings
One common way to say thank you to a truck driver is by hosting a family night or outing. The problem with many of these? Not every driver can attend. Someone still has to be out there on the road. To make sure everyone has a chance to take part, offer a few family nights during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week. Look at schedules and try to make it possible for all drivers to attend.
This is also a great way to show those who are left behind when drivers are on the road that they also matter to your team. They also have a tough job, and their support means the world to your drivers. It should to you, too, so be sure to take time to thank them.
Serve and equip your drivers
One way your drivers know you care is when you equip them with the tools they need to do their jobs more efficiently. Not only can this help you attract drivers in a highly competitive market, but it can also help you keep them long-term.
Especially during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, you can offer drivers extra services like truck washes to ensure they have the things they need for both comfort and safety. This includes the latest software, video safety tools, and more.
Remember, the best leaders enable their teams to excel by supporting them in every way possible. This special week is just an opportunity to showcase and increase that support.
Share other opportunities
While it’s crucial for your company to offer special perks and opportunities during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, you’re not alone. Other companies, including truck stops, restaurants, online shops, and physical stores, offer discounts, freebies, and specials.
One way to show your appreciation is to make a list of these opportunities for your drivers and be sure they know about all the offers available. Drivers are busy and may not have time to look these up for themselves, and they may not even be aware of some vendors who are ready to serve them.
Finally, make not only your drivers but your community aware of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week 2023. Let them know how you say thank you to your truck drivers — and how they can, too.
- Go social: Use your social media presence to spread the word and even thank individual drivers who work for your company.
- Contact news outlets: Spend time on the news and the radio, even with articles in local papers, to let them know how much truck drivers do for them and the economy and how they can show their support.
- Hold a public appreciation event: Invite all truck drivers, regardless of where they work. This illustrates your support for the industry and can even give you a recruiting boost.
When those around you see your genuine appreciation — and you expand your circle to include local media and social channels — you make your thanks even more meaningful.
Celebrate all year
While it’s important to celebrate National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, it’s even more vital to celebrate your drivers and staff year-round. There are countless ways to do this, including supporting them with the latest technology, personalized thank-you notes, driver of the month recognition awards, safety awards, and even rewards for the time the driver has spent in service with your company and inside the industry. these efforts keep your drivers safer, make them more efficient, and help your bottom line.
Check out all the fleet solutions Solera offers, and show your drivers that when it comes to appreciation, you mean business.