Improving Trucking's Image One Kid at a Time
Truckers often complain about the industry's poor image with the public at large. Why do they hate us so? And what can we do to alter the negative public perception of trucking?
There are many trucking image campaigns in force and we'll take a look at many of them in future blogs. But one particular program has perhaps gone the farthest in changing minds about truckers.
Trucker Buddies become pen pals with their classroom and the driver communicates with the students with post cards, letters and emails. This creates instant lesson plans for teachers and gives drivers a chance to be ambassadors for the trucking industry.
Trucker Buddies become heroes to young students and help expand their world. The organization also benefits drivers who are often unable to become involved in community events due to their hectic, long-distance lifestyles.
The organization also recently began a new Trucking Mentors Program, local, short haul, and regional drivers can also become a positive influence in their communities by teaching safe driving techniques to high school Drivers Ed students. Once or twice a year drivers share their unique experience with high school students about how to safely share the road with big rig trucks. The driver and the high school Drivers Ed instructor work together to plan the visit when the driver brings his tractor and trailer to school.
The benefits of Trucker Buddy are endless. When students meet the professional driver behind the wheel of a truck, respect develops for truck drivers and the trucking industry. Children involved in the program come to understand that truck drivers are like their neighbors — real people with families, friends and hobbies, who want to excel in life.
Trucker Buddy kids will be less likely to buy into negative news reports about truckers and introducing classrooms to the trucking industry can plant a seed that trucking may be a viable career for some students in the future.
And some of those Trucker Buddy kids will grow up to be adults in other professions that impact the industry: law enforcement officers, journalists, government regulators, legislators, maybe even the President.
It was Gary King's goal when he started the organization to have a Trucker Buddy for every classroom in America. It's a lofty goal, but one that everyone in the industry should strive to achieve either by becoming a Trucker Buddy, encouraging drivers to join or providing financial support to the organization.
For more information on how you can help this wonderful group, visit http://www.truckerbuddy.org/