North Americans express strong support for truck drivers

By: Brad Gardner

Survey finds that most people in the US look favourably upon the trucking industry.


The Australian trucking industry has traditionally struggled to swing public support in its favour.

But in the United States a new survey has indicated strong appreciation among the general populace for the job truck drivers do.

A survey of 800 registered US voters found that 65 per cent have a favourable view of the country’s trucking industry.

More than half (57 per cent) consider its safety record good or excellent, with only 36 per cent rating it fair or poor.

And in a sign many recognise the skill it takes to manoeuvre a heavy vehicle, 80 per cent of respondents believe truckies are safer drivers than a person behind the wheel of a passenger vehicle.

"This poll confirms that the public knows what we in the trucking industry have always known: professional truck drivers are dedicated, professional and safe," ATA president and CEO Bill Graves says.

"It also shows that our efforts to portray a positive image of our industry are having a tremendous impact."

According to the results, nine in 10 people believe passenger vehicles are more likely to tailgate, drive aggressively, improperly change lanes and speed, while 74 per cent consider a passenger vehicle driver is more likely to be at fault in accidents involving a truck and a car.

"Our industry values safety above all and this poll shows that our commitment to safety is paying dividends in the minds of the public," ATA chairman Duane Long says.

The survey also asked how the trucking industry could improve its image.

Most respondents reported that they would have a more favourable view of the industry if new safety technologies were added to each truck, mandatory safety training programs for all drivers were introduced and older trucks were replaced with low-emission gas-powered units.

The survey, which the ATA commissioned, also included questions on infrastructure investment, the use of truck-only lanes, traffic congestion and tolls.

Transport infrastructure ranked equal second with defence (48 per cent) as an area that needed more federal funds. Not surprisingly, 71 per cent rated the condition of roads and bridges as fair to poor.

However, most were split on where the increased funding should come from. A quarter of respondents nominated raising income taxes by 1 per cent, while 23 per cent listed raising fuel taxes as the way to go.

Another 23 per cent supported a toll on all interstate highways, with 17 per cent backing a doubling of registration fees.

While the ATA supports a user-pays model to bankroll road projects, there is very little public support for the move. A whopping 89 per cent opposed the measure when quizzed about it.

Over 60 per cent of respondents want truck-only lanes on interstate highways and prefer trucks to be operating between midnight and 5am as opposed to late morning and midday.

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