June 14, 2019

Life By The Mile: America’s Truck Drivers Tell Their Stories

With the launch of a new Freightworks weekly 30 podcast called  “Life By The Mile” we’ll also have a blog several times each month with the same name. It will be a chance for readers to experience the colorful, resilient and “always moving” lives of our nation’s vast ecosystem of trucking and logistics. Professional drivers and their journeys will be a key theme and you’ll laugh, cry, cheer and stand amazed at the breadth and diversity of the Freightworks team.

All of this comes against the backdrop of the fact that the United States trucking industry is one of the largest revenue streams in our nation’s economy while incredibly responsible for transporting 70 percent of all goods in the U.S.

For example, in 2019, the industry’s total revenue reached over $791.7 billion! Aside from the transportation of goods, the trucking industry employs millions of workers, making up about six percent of the nation’s workforce. But more importantly this market sector is the backbone of everything in the free market United States economic system supporting virtually all segments of consumer behavior. The industry touches every part of our lives without which even simple trips to a grocery store or gas station would be impossible.

With large company, medium sized fleets and America’s owner-operator rigs taking to the highways 24/7...the number of active for-hire US trucking companies tracked by freight management firm Tucker Company Worldwide and shipper consultancy QualifiedCarriers.com leaped by more than 58,000 in just the first six months of 2021! This meteoric growth pushed the industry to 322,305 companies, according to Jeffrey Tucker, CEO of both firms.

America’s dynamic trucking world manages each day the often chaotic variables of weather, fuel prices, federal regulations, driver’s lives, customer expectations and unforeseen incidents and challenges along the way.

In this regularly published blog there will be no shortage of stories about our tribe of professional Freightworks drivers who are just a segment of the more than 3.5 million people who call the road their home. These men and women know the pleasures and pitfalls of their vocation and the coded conversations that curious onlookers may ask about.

For example, it’s been said that truck drivers speak their own language! In an Apex Capital blog from May 2016 that point was made well when offering a few examples of common driver terms like:
• All locked up: a weigh station is closed
• Alligator: there’s a blown tire in the road
• Anteater: Kenworth T-600
• Bear: police officer
• Big slab or big road: interstate
• Black eye: one of your headlights is out
• Bulldog: Mack tractor
• Buster brown: UPS truck
• Chicken coup: weigh station
• Double nickel: driving 55 miles per hour
• Got your ears on? Are you listening?
• Go-go juice: diesel fuel
• Reefer: a refrigerated van trailer
• Salt shaker: a truck that salts highways
• Skateboard: flatbed trailer
• Toothpicks: a load of lumber
• 10-4: message received, OK
• Yard stick: miler marker

Have a few more vocabulary examples? Send them our way in the comments section below. We’ll add to the lesson for the newly initiated who want to know more and you can help us do that.

It’s also a statement of the obvious that no two drivers are the same. Each has a story as typical or unique as a neighbor next door or passengers in cars zooming by on a morning commute. These nonstop, peripatetic journeys regionally or with huge, heavy lifting burdens over-the-road are each woven together into the tapestry of truckers.  Each solid or dotted line points to miraculous moments punctuating mundane miles and the staccatos of mile markers showing simple progress of another safely delivered load.

A glowing dashboard in the convoys of increasingly efficient Peterbilt, Freightliner, Volvo and Mack trucks doesn’t give readings on the heart, passions, dreams and desires of the men and women who sit in a cab overlooking from their perched vantage point the grandeur of God’s special creation.

Mountains, plains, watersheds, deltas and coastal vistas are simply a change of scenery for these common transportation heroes with frequently uncommon stories.

So in creatively authentic ways we’ll tell driver stories, give industry updates, put a periscope up to a changing marketplace of ideas and initiatives and through it all help you come to appreciate what we’ve known all along.

Our lives are touched each day by America’s humble pool of professional drivers and we owe a debt of gratitude for their lives daily “measured by the mile.” With each blog post make your own comments, share our stories and articles, suggest topics you’d like to see covered and simply be amazed by all you don’t know or see at first glance when that eighteen wheeler passes by.

Put on your turn signal. Accelerate onto our new conversational highway. This is “Life By The Mile” delivered by Freightworks and “We’re ready to roll!”

Get emails about design, user experience, user interface & productivity each week. We'll keep them short & to the point.

Thank you! Be on a lookout for an email from us!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.