America's 3 million professional truck drivers are being honored this week during the American Trucking Assn.-sponsored annual National Truck Driver Appreciation Week.
Among the ways truckers are being appreciated are a presidential proclamation, Goodyear blimps, billboards, newspaper ads, a NASCAR Craftsman Series Truck Race dedicated to truckers, and numerous events at trucking companies and truckstops all around the country.
The theme for the week, which runs through Saturday, is "Drivers Deliver Safely." In a proclamation for the occasion, President Clinton said, "America's truck drivers deliver the goods and materials that keep our citizens healthy and our economy strong. Despite working long hours under often tedious - and sometimes dangerous - conditions, these men and women remain dedicated to delivering their varied cargoes quickly, efficiently and safely."
Three Goodyear blimps flying over sports events in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles will flash the message, "Truck Drivers Keep America Rolling." Another major tire manufacturer, Michelin, will erect four billboards along major interstate highways near its South Carolina headquarters. The signs will say, "Truck Drivers, Thanks Loads." And a week-long series of full-page ads in USA Today will tell truck drivers' story.
Right now, a convoy of trucks is making its way across the country to Topeka, KS, where Saturday, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series weekend is being dedicated to highway safety and to truck drivers. A big rig beauty contest is being held, along with displays of new heavy-duty trucks, a No-Zone safe driving demonstration, and a career center for trucking company recruiters. All working truck drivers who show up in their 18-wheelers will be admitted free to all the events.
Many state and local organizations and companies are holding events, as well. For instance, the South Carolina Trucking Assn. is teaming up with several grocery retailers and distributors to hosts cookouts for drivers at three truckstops. More than 200 employees of Associates First Capital Corp. will greet drivers at Pilot Truck Centers in 29 locations across 25 states.
Major national sponsors for National Truck Driver Appreciation Week include Petro, Mack and Detroit Diesel.