Late last month The New York Times published a lengthy feature called Alone on the Open Road: Truckers Feel Like “Throwaway People”. It was based on numerous interviews with drivers the reporter met at a Petro in Effingham, Illinois where interstates 57 and 70 cross.
At the end of the story, the Times asked other drivers to weigh in on what it’s like to make a living in the cab of a truck. It posted their responses Tuesday, June 6 along with photos from the road.
The reporter of the original piece wrote in Truckers’ Message for You: Chill Out, Stop Texting, and Have Respect:
“Responses came in by the — well, by the hundreds, let’s just say, with practical advice about highway safety, fervent pleas to put down those smartphones and requests to be treated with dignity.
“Truckers want to be seen (even if they are unseen, high up in their cabs) as fellow human beings, toiling long hours, who are conscientious and careful and want, above all, to get home safe to their loved ones.”
There were a lot of suggestions from drivers on how other motorists could make the highways much safer, including and especially, putting down the smartphone and driving. Drivers also commented on the loneliness associated with the job, a certain lack of respect and an invitation by one driver to spend a few days with him to see what his life is really like.
And, then there was Sheila Nichols, from Millersburg, Michigan. She’s been driving for two years and said: “I am human. I am someone’s daughter, mother, sister and friend. I give up a lot so I can haul food, materials you use at work and everything in between.”