February 27, 2020
We see them every single day; on the road, on billboards, on TV… Big Rig trucks that criss-cross our nations. They're laden with containers of who-knows-what going who-knows-where. Here are 10 Unbelievable facts you never knew about long-haul trucking.
Sometimes drivers can get samples of the goods they're hauling. Ice Cream, Chicken, Sneakers, Furniture – all kinds of stuff!
Many truckers know how to use their headlights, hand signals, and CB Radio slang to communicate with each other. They can warn of a wreck ahead to a passing truck, sign that a detour is just up the way, or where they may run into traffic obstacles.
Many truckers choose to drive by a code name called a "Handle." In the 1970's the use of CB Radios exploded. The FCC required citizens to register their unique call-sign and pay a $20 licensing fee to use CBs (about $136 adjusted for inflation.) In defiance of this rule, people just started using their unregistered handles.
Being a trucker isn't a comfortable life. So when a fellow "Road Dog" needs help — they know they can count on their" Good Buddies" to lend a hand. Support comes in many forms: food, help to change a tire, local recommendations, an ear to listen to them, encouragement, and even good-natured razzing. It's a real family dynamic for truckers.
If you've ever had the privilege of listening to CB jargon, you're in for a real treat. A few examples are "Breaker-Breaker," meaning that someone wants to start a transmission. "Flip-Flop" meaning to make a round-trip. "Bear" refers to law enforcement officers — usually State Police, who wear a hat similar to that by Smoky Bear.
"Bean Town" is Boston, "Shaky Town" equals Los Angeles (due to their earthquakes‚ and "Nickel Road" is Interstate 5. If you're driving through "Flag Town" heading to the "Gateway,' it means you're driving from Flagstaff, Arizona, on your way to St. Louis, Missouri.
Yes — They're still used! CB stands for "Citizen's Band Radio." Ever since CB was created for U.S. Citizens, Truckers and dispatchers have found the communication format to be invaluable.
In the 1970s, when trucking as a form of Pop-Culture was growing in popularity — a unique style of music revolved around them. Mostly Rock and Country inspirations fueled such songs as "Rubber Duck," Roll on 18-Wheeler", "18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses," and many more could be heard playing on airwaves across the world.
In addition to music, truckers have also had several movies and TV shows made about them. Movies like "Convoy," "Breaker-Breaker," and "Smokey & The Bandit" all featured Truckers and their adventures. Then there are TV Shows like "Ice Road Truckers," "Movin' On," and "Outback Truckers" and several more that still run on today's TVs.
The average age of a trucker in America is 55 years old. They will retire soon, and there are very few people to take their places. Many reasons exist for this problem, and it's an issue that needs to be addressed – and soon.
According to Statista, Trucking is responsible for most of the overland freight movement in the United States, with the market being worth 796.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2018. At that time, there were over 928,000 truck drivers employed in the U.S., which is less than the road freight industry requires.
So the next time you see a trucker, thank them for all they do to keep our shelves stocked, and our tanks filled. They work hard and aren't recognized nearly enough for all they contribute to logistics and supply chains.