September 12, 2023
Truck Driver Appreciation Week sheds light on how drivers serve agriculture and how technology is changing transportation.
The trucking industry is vital to the American economy, and few industries rely on trucking more than agriculture. From delivering the inputs farmers need to run their operations to hauling crops, livestock and produce to market, it’s all made possible by truck drivers. As part of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, Gary Tucker, director of environmental health and safety with CHS transportation and logistics, describes advances that help to enhance safety on the road. He also points out career opportunities in the trucking industry.
Driving a truck can be physically taxing. Fatigue management and physical health are top of mind for drivers and transportation companies.
“Fatigue is one of the biggest dangers drivers deal with day in and day out,” says Tucker. “One of the best ways to combat fatigue is getting a good night’s sleep. Since that’s easier to do in your home bed than in a hotel or sleeper cab, CHS drivers are typically routed so that they can be home at night.”
Tucker also pointed to the roles nutrition and exercise have on driver wellness.
“I’m really proud of our frontline employees and drivers for partnering with CHS to create tools to make healthy choices,” he adds. “When drivers are packing coolers or picking up food on their routes, they have nutritious options to choose from. We’ve also provided them with exercise tools so that when they climb out of their trucks after several hours of sitting, they can warm up their bodies to help reduce injuries.”
Innovations shaping the trucking industry
Although challenges come with being a driver, Tucker explains that technological advances are making the trucking industry safer and more efficient.
“Starting with efficiency, it’s hard to imagine a major fleet operating today without telematics,” he says. “Telematics provide a platform for real-time communication and routing support, as well as the ability to track drivers’ available work hours, dispatch and monitor their loads, and plan vehicle maintenance.”
When it comes to advances in safety, Tucker points to in-cab cameras equipped with artificial intelligence as a leading technology.
“Let’s say a driver becomes fatigued or has forgotten to wear a seatbelt. The camera can detect that and notify the driver, helping to correct something before it becomes a problem.”
Other technologies Tucker notes that help reduce accidents include forward collision warning and mitigation systems, lane departure warnings, electronic stability control and backup cameras.
The future of transportation
When looking at what’s next for the trucking industry, Tucker says there’s a growing need for drivers, mechanics, logistics specialists and other workers.
“The transportation industry is challenged by an aging workforce, so there’s opportunity for people who want to be drivers or to work for the support teams behind them. If you want to work with a team in a dynamic environment in a place where your work really matters, this is a great place to be.”