Many older truck drivers have fond memories of the way truckers used to help each other. They say that all of the truckers nowadays only care about themselves. They also say that selfish drivers are causing truckers to have less of a community. Well, I’d say that they’re partly right, but I’m too concerned with myself to care about anyone else’s opinions. Kidding.

The biggest compliant I’ve heard is that “back in the day” you’d never see a broken down truck on the shoulder without another driver who has stopped to check on him. That’s true. I rarely see two trucks pulled over together anymore. But why is that?

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I’ll admit something here. I never check on a stranded truck anymore. The only time I do is when it’s 20 degrees outside and someones life might be at risk. But by and large, I don’t stop. “Back in the day” I tried to be the good citizen. I rarely stopped, but nearly always contacted the broken down truck via CB radio.

Over the course of my 12-year driving career, in every single case, the driver had either contacted someone for help via his/her in-truck satellite system, his/her cell phone, or both. So the fact is that with modern day technology, the need to stop and help has been rendered unnecessary. Furthermore, I don’t even bother contacting them by CB anymore either. I figure that everyone and their Gerbil has a cell phone these days.

As for the lack of community, well phooey on that. Walk into any truck stop restaurant or driver’s lounge and you’ll witness plenty of community. Drivers still tell stories to each other like they always have. They talk across tables as they eat. Even further out of site is the myriad of truckers that have taken the community on-line.

There are trucking websites, trucking blogs, trucking forums, and social websites such as Facebook and Twitter, just to name a couple. Even more convenient is that all of these websites can now be accessed through a smart phone. No computer required! Many of these truckers talk back and forth on-line like they’ve known each other for years. Maybe they have. It’s just that they met on-line. The fact is, they’ve probably never met face-to-face. But does that matter anymore?

The point is that, like every other industry, trucking is being affected by technology. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is up to the individual. Sure, there’s nothing like quality face time with real live people. But I’d be willing to bet that some of these old timers who complain the most could actually be more involved with the trucking community if they’d trade in their dial phone and typewriter for an iPhone and a laptop computer.

Photo by @boetter via Flickr

About the Author
I'm a 22-year truck driver with an interest in tech stuff. I do the Trucker Dump podcast and blog, which is all about life as a trucker. I have also written two trucking books, "Trucking Life" and "How to Find a Great Truck Driving Job."
6 comments on “TD24: Friendly Truckers Haven’t Vanished
  1. Niraj says:

    In this case, this is a situation where technology has helped and it has not hindered by spreading people farther apart!

    From your story, it seems the movies are still true in the sense that truckers still have an ad-hoc fraternity-of-sorts when they get together in the analog world.

    Evil Overlord …. ha! Women take forever … double ha! Made me chuckle.

    1. Todd McCann says:

      If “fraternity-of-sorts” means bombarding each other with trucker stories, then yes, I suppose it is. 🙂

  2. Dot McEntire says:

    Hey Todd! Great article! I enjoy all your post and have subscribed to your blog.

    1. Todd McCann says:

      Thanks for the subscribe, Dorothy. As if you don’t hear enough about trucking everyday…

  3. chips zynga says:

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    1. Todd McCann says:

      Thanks for stopping by. I agree with you that there’s way too much regurgitated vomit out here on the interwebs. Unfortunately, those folks puke up that stuff way more often than those of us who chose to add something original to the mix. It seems that it takes a bit more effort to actually use your brain than copy someone else’s content.

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