For some truckers, 2021 was a glass half empty, for others it was half full

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Updated Jan 3, 2022
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If we had to sum up in one word truckers' feelings about 2021, that word would be, "Mixed," and even that might be a bit generous.

Shutterstock 1118879588 (1)Results from a Truckers News online poll found that a bit more than half of those who responded were pretty unimpressed by what went on for them during 2021. Conversely, about a third of respondents actually felt pretty positive about the year about to expire.

The detailed breakdown of almost 400 responses found truckers rated 2021:

  • Fair. About the same as 2020. 28.61%
  • Excellent! Far better than 2020. 20.06%
  • Good. Almost back to pre-COVID. 17.99%
  • Just glad it'll be gone. 15.04%
  • Poor. Like last year but even worse. 11.8%
  • Other: 6.49%

For those who chose “Other”, here are a few of their reasons why:

  • Well, the last 3 months have been liberating, I became an owner-op on my birthday.
  • Horrible recruiting.
  • No parking, lousy fast food, good restaurants closing, time to retire.
  • Haven't been affected much.
  • A good year. Penske Truck Leasing did well; hikers worked all year, bonus coming.
  • Great! I retired and got out of that rat race.
  • I'm getting out after 45 years. I had enough.
  • Strange year. Worked harder than ever, and practically nothing to show for it.
  • Very bad.
  • Very busy year. Just wish rates would stay strong to offset high operational costs.
  • The chip shortage affected the industry.

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A recent CBS News poll found that 42% of Americans said 2021 was mostly filled with happiness for them personally. But, 40% said the year was loaded with personal sadness. That happiness figure is up by 20 percent over last year.

Looking ahead, 71% of Americans said they are hopeful for what 2022 holds for them while 22% said they are discouraged by the year ahead.  

Throughout the year, we frequently polled our readers on a variety of topics. Here are the results of some of those online polls:

  • Will it be a new job in the new year for you? Yes, 46.3% | No, 37.5% | Unsure 16.2%
  • Do you feel like you are on track for your retirement savings? No, 64.9% | Yes, 25.5% | Unsure 9.6%
  • Do you use your cell phone while driving? Just for calls, 52.1% | I'm not telling, 20.8% | Never 17.5% | I'll send a text or two, 9.5%
  • How do you feel about inward-facing cameras? I would never give up my privacy like that, 67.3% | I’ll tolerate them, but I don’t like them, 24.5% | It keeps me from being held liable in an accident, 4.8% | I don't care either way 3.4%
  • Have you ever quit a job because you couldn’t get time off when you needed to? Yes 72.5% | No 27.5%
  • Would you take a job that offered NO paid time off? Absolutely not 61.8% |  Depends on the other benefits like pay and home time, 26.7% |  It's not an issue for me, 11.5%
  • What would you do if the company you drive for required you to get the COVID vaccination? Make them for me, 35% | Doesn't matter, already been vaccinated, 23.8% | Quit if they made me get the vaccination, 15.9% | Claim an exemption based on health or religious grounds, 15% | Get vaccinated 5.4% | Other, 4.6%
  • Would overtime pay help reduce truck driver turnover? Yes 79.9% | No, 20.1%
  • What’s the number one reason you are at your current job? Pay is good 40.1% | I get good home time, 23.8% | I feel respected, 20% | I'm looking for something else, 13% | I just started, 2%
  • Which is the most important factor in choosing a fleet to drive for? Consistent pay, 36% | Reputation for driver treatment, 32.8% | Consistent home time, 23.5% | Health insurance, benefits, 7.7%

On Saturday, Jan. 1, we'll have the results of our poll about drivers' outlook for 2022.