Four Lies that Make Up Trucker Myths
Often, the public accepts opinions about truckers that are myths supported by four common falsehoods. False beliefs are stated or hinted at by media reporters. The most obvious examples, because of the graphic images, are newsworthy accidents involving trucks.
Truckers know, when some acquaintances or the barbershop crowd describe media coverage, the myth is “truckers are dangerous drivers and cause most accidents.” Highly reported are the chain-reaction pile-ups that show all types of trucks in the wreckage. The news focuses on the damage rather than the causes of the accidents. Later, after authorities finish their investigations, there is no follow-up about “not chargeable” involvement by the truckers.
Statistics, however, show that commercial trucks are involved in only 2.4 percent of car accidents.
Some people seem to think that “truckers use a lot of drugs.” Federal law requires half of all drivers must be drug tested each year. Usually the urine test is accompanied by a breathalyzer. Trucking companies make compliance an absolute priority because their fines for a violation may go up to $825,000. Ouch! Any law enforcement officer can make on-the-spot drug or alcohol tests without suspicion or cause. A commercial driver faces a revoked license and immediate firing for any such offense. In 2009, 1.4 million U.S. drivers were arrested for driving under the influence. About 6 percent of those arrests, not necessarily convictions, were truckers, and the industry works hard at driving that percentage to zero.
About 94 percent of truckers are clean and sober.
A lot of guys believe “men are better truck drivers than women.” Nationwide, women are four times more likely to pass the commercial drivers license exam on a first try than men. Ladies are five times less likely to violate safety rules than men and three times less likely to be involved in an accident.
It seems that the 200,000 female long-haul truckers are more skilled drivers.
Oddly, many people assume that “truckers are poorly paid.” Median salary in the U.S. is $44,389 annually. New York truckers earn about $60,000 per year.
Top dollar trucker pay is $68,000 for Mississippi.
Possibly, these myths have public acceptance because truckers are not around to correct them, and the assumptions work in the media because negative story lines make sensational news.