Kentucky Company Offers Most Overlooked Perk in the Trucking Industry: Rider Programsby Jana Ritter - Published: 11/21/2012
It's a dog-eat-dog world in today's trucking industry. Companies, viciously competing for an ever shrinking pool of truck drivers, trying to outdo each other offering better pay, better perks and still many overlook one of most important of all; ride along companions, be it a spouse or a pet dog. Any truck driver or mental health expert will tell you over the road trucking is a lonely, isolating job with many far reaching effects and someone in the passenger seat can make all the difference in the world. Such a simple yet important concept, yet not all companies are quite on board. But CoreTrans is one company allowing passengers on board with their drivers and is on-line with TruckingUnlimited.com offering that and plenty more.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has classified trucking as one of the highest-risk occupations in the United States. The occupational stress hazards associated with truck driving is even greater for long-haul truckers who are away from home, family, friends, and pretty much isolated from everyone for days, weeks, months at a time. A Research study funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health found Long-haul truckers frequently experience loneliness, isolation, stress and depression associated with the job. Some even admitted loneliness lead them to more risky behavior such as drug use and using prostitutes to curb it. While 49 percent described their marriage or relationship as good, over 25 percent considered their relationship to be fair and more time together was needed for any improvement and 23 percent reported their relationships to be not good at all mainly because of too much time apart. One truck driver put it plain and simple, “We ain't got no relationships. A relationship's when two people are together. But, when you're out on the road you ain't got nobody but yourself...it's just a lonely job.”
Trucking driving is what it is, a lot of driving and while you can't change the nature of the job, employers can change a lot by improving the conditions. Home time is certainly the overall cure to reducing isolation and strengthening relationships, Rider Programs are the most effective answer to improving the actual time on the job. The difference of a close companion filling an empty passenger seat can be the difference of a grueling long drive to an enjoyable road trip or even the life and death difference of a truck driver nodding off. Whatever difference Rider Programs make to employers, some have such strict policies against it their trucks don't have passenger seats at all, while other companies range from very conditional policies to ones like CoreTrans allowing both spouses and pets to ride along, no problem at all.
Perhaps what some companies may not know is that their rider policies are making the difference for a growing number of new drivers like one recent Arkansas CDL grad. “Company policies allowing a spouse to ride along will be a major factor in my decision about which companies I want to work for.”