EVANSVILLE, (Ind.) —A generation or two ago, truck drivers were regarded as the "white knights" of the road. They were thought to be the best, most courteous of all drivers; they were supposed to know the best places to eat; and there was always the hope that one would stop if your car was stalled along the road.
It's nice to find out that some truck drivers still take the time, when they can, to help a stranded motorist. In a survey conducted recently among Atlas Van Lines drivers, 32 percent of those participating said they have stopped to aid a motorist three to 10 times and 19 percent said they've done so more than 10 times during their driving careers. The 16-question survey explored a few other age-old questions — like which antacid works fastest on heartburn — and some real-time topics, such as the number of weeks cross-country drivers spend on the road these days, and who makes the industry's best tractor.
"Because so many of our drivers are owner-operators who have spent their entire careers behind the wheel, we thought it might be really interesting to capture a small cross section of their experiences," notes Greg Hoover, Atlas Van Lines vice president, Sales Development. "Like we expected, we got some engaging feedback."
For example, despite the old stereotype, not all truck drivers listen to country music. In fact, more than a fourth (26 percent) of participating drivers said they listen to National Public Radio (NPR) or talk radio when they're on the road, and 39 percent reported listening to classic 60s, 70s and 80s music when the radio's on. Country music did hold its own, though, coming in second with 32 percent of participating drivers tuning in.
Other notable survey results: 41 percent of participating drivers said they spend more than 40 weeks on the road each year, and 46 percent said they drive at least 75,000 miles a year. That qualifies them to name Interstate 70 in Colorado as one of the prettiest stretches of highway in the U.S., and Interstate 10 in Texas as one of the safest. Here's another revelation: The CB radio is still alive, with 61 percent of participating drivers reporting they use one, but the CB isn't quite as indispensable anymore, since 91 percent of the drivers said they use a cell phone when they're on the road.
It's also interesting — but not critical — to know that 44 percent of participating Atlas drivers like their coffee leaded (sugar and cream), 31 percent prefer theirs black, and when they're off the road, most drivers (56 percent) say their favorite pastime is "hanging out with family and friends."
The complete 2002 Survey of Driver Tendencies can be found on the Atlas Web site: www.atlasvanlines.com. To request a copy of the driver survey by phone, call Paula Greenwood at 812-426-7706.
Atlas Van Lines is the nation's third-largest carrier of household goods with some 600 agents in the United States and Canada and more than 800 worldwide. Headquartered in Evansville, Ind., Atlas also specializes in the transport of high-value goods such as electronics, exhibits, new fixtures and furniture, and fine arts.