Truck drivers say their work is fulfilling, but nearly 75% insist the job is physically and emotionally stressful, according to a new survey from DAT Freight & Analytics. Moreover, few drivers can take care of their well-being and seek support when needed.
“As the country prepares for National Truck Driver Appreciation Week from Sept. 10-16, and celebrates the vital role of truck drivers in our economy, the DAT survey results show why it’s important to empathize with the challenges they face in their personal and professional lives,” Jeff Hopper, DAT chief marketing officer, said in a news release. “For all that you are, and all that you do, we thank you, truck drivers.”
The survey of 504 truck drivers, 337 of whom own the truck they drive, revealed the conditions that lead to stress on the road:
- Drivers miss time with friends and family: 54% of truck drivers spend less than 24 hours a week at home.
- Drivers have a long workweek: 33% of drivers are driving more than 49 hours a week.
- Nutrition is a challenge: 63% of truckers cook meals in their truck two to six days a week, and 37% eat fast food two to three days a week.
- Long hours make it difficult to manage sleep and exercise: 63% of truckers sleep six hours or less per night, and 38% of truck drivers say they take medication to help them sleep.
The survey also examined how truck drivers manage their mental health. Nearly 46% of respondents said access to mental health services would be an effective way to help them manage stress. However, only 40% of male drivers said they would consider speaking with a counselor or therapist about their emotions and experiences, compared to 58% of female drivers.
Family members are less likely to relate to living and working on the road. More than 71% of truckers’ children did not follow in a parent’s footsteps, despite riding along when they were younger.
“Many truck drivers develop strategies to manage the long hours, isolation, and health issues that come with the job,” Hopper said. “However, finding suitable places for sleep, healthy meals, and other necessities are constant challenges. It’s essential to recognize the role truckers play in our economy and to do whatever we can to recognize their hard work.”
As an expression of gratitude to the nation’s truckers, DAT plans to reward five randomly selected truckers with a free, six-month subscription to DAT One Pro.
Visit instagram.com/datfreight during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week to learn more and enter for a chance to win. Truckers also can claim one of 10 $100 VISA gift cards. Visit facebook.com/datfreight and follow #appreciateDATtrucker for details and entry information.