Atlas' King of the Road survey lends insight into life on the road

Van operators enjoy life, assist motorists and are becoming surprisingly tech-savvy

September 18, 2007

Media Contacts:
Sara DeWitt, Atlas Van Lines, 800.638.9797, ext. 2951
Kristen Fuhs Wells, Hetrick Communications

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — Life on the road is thought to be lonely for semi-truck drivers and van operators: long shifts, unhealthy food, lookalike highways and nights spent sleeping in the cab of a truck.

In reality, professional drivers, towering above traffic in their big rigs, are actually enjoying many of the same things we do at home, laughing along to XM radio, meeting new people, chatting online at truck stops, enjoying the scenery and eating a healthy Subway sandwich at rest stops.

Thanks to Atlas Van Lines' annual King of the Road survey, we can get a good look at what life on the road is really like.

Some interesting facts from this year's survey include:

  • One in two van operators report that the best thing about being a van operator is meeting and working with people across the country. Nearly as many say they enjoy the freedom of the highway.
  • Satellite radio is taking the trucking world by storm. In 2004, only 7 percent of van operators subscribed; today, 53 percent do so.
  • Forty percent of van operators have aided a motorist sometime in their travels. Nearly 20 percent have assisted motorists more than 10 times.
  • Laptop usage while on the road has doubled since 2005. Forty-one percent of van operators report using a laptop — mostly for Internet access or e-mailing.
  • What's a driver's favorite quick meal on the road? Subway. The sandwich chain nabbed the top spot for the third year in a row, with Wendy's and Kentucky Fried Chicken in second and third places. Notably, 13 percent of van operators say they never eat fast food on the road.
  • They're not all sleeping in their trucks: More than one-fourth stay in a hotel two to three times a week or more. Super 8 is the most popular hotel chain.

"This survey is a fun way to report on an interesting profession that is often overlooked," said Greg Hoover, Atlas senior vice president and chief marketing officer. "Our van operators log countless miles on the road and, as a result, are very knowledgeable about things such as rest stops, fast food restaurants and technology."

Nearly all van operators reported that they carry a cell phone — 99 percent — and the number carrying Blackberrys, Treos and other similar devices increased 5 percent in the last year.

Atlas Van Lines — the nation's second largest van line — announces the results of its annual survey each September during ROAD Day, a nationwide Atlas celebration that honors its van operators. Of its 3,400 van operators, 80 percent will log more than 50,000 miles on the road this year transporting Atlas' corporate and residential customers' possessions and business materials.

Other highlights from the survey, which asks van operators to comment on everything from the nation's scenery to favorite truck stops, include:

  • Interstate 70 in Colorado/Utah was voted the most scenic highway stretch in the U.S.
  • Florida's rest stops are rated as tops by more than one-fourth of van operators.
  • Tractors made by Kenworth were voted the best by van operators for the sixth consecutive year.
  • Half of all respondents reported using Shell Rotella motor oil most often in their trucks.
  • Petro and Flying J are the most popular truck stops, with Petro at 28 percent and Flying J at 26 percent.

For complete survey results, visit

Atlas Van Lines is the largest subsidiary of Atlas World Group, an Evansville, Ind.-based company that posted record revenues of $986 million in 2006. Atlas World Group companies employ more than 700 people throughout North America. More than 500 Atlas agents in the United States and Canada specialize in corporate employee relocation and in the transportation of high-value items such as electronics, fine art and new fixtures and furniture. Visit for more information on the company and Atlas agents.