EVANSVILLE, Ind. — Life on the road isn't easy, but long-haul van operators take comfort in the small things: Dunkin' Donuts coffee, Subway restaurants, and, for a good night's sleep, Super 8 motels.
These are just a few of the preferences Atlas Van Lines' professional van operators have formed after many years and thousands of miles criss-crossing the country, taking in the sights, sounds and flavors of America along the way. These opinions, and many more insights into the lives of today's professional van operators, can be found in Atlas' annual King of the Road survey, released today.
"Who better than a national network of professional van operators to say which truck stop, motor oil, or brand of tire is best?" said Glen Dunkerson, Atlas World Group chairman and CEO. "These are the things they live with every day, and the King of the Road survey lets them share their knowledge and experience with the rest of us."
Some of this year's survey's highlights include:
Staying healthy on the road – Nearly two-thirds of respondents said maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the biggest challenge of life on the road (56 percent said eating right and 24 percent said getting enough exercise were their greatest hurdles). However, results indicate many van operators are doing what they can to stay fit by walking/running at truck stops (37 percent) and choosing water (71 percent) and fresh fruit (36 percent) as their No. 1 drink and snack. They're also eating healthier. Subway, which is promoted as a healthy fast-food alternative, was the most popular restaurant by far, besting runners-up KFC and Wendy's.
Going green – As more and more Americans go green, Atlas professional van operators, too, are doing their part to reduce their carbon footprints. Nearly all respondents (94 percent) reported doing more to protect the environment, including recycling whenever possible (38 percent), drinking from reusable containers (28 percent), and using biodiesel fuel (12 percent). A third of respondents use systems designed to reduce engine idling time.
The modern tech-savvy van operator – The days of the CB radio are fading, replaced by cell phones, which nearly all (95 percent) respondents reported as their preferred method of communication. Over a third of van operators have daily access to a computer, and more than half use a computer once a week or more. Blackberries and other mobile devices, a staple of the modern boardroom, are gaining popularity on the highways, too – 14 percent of van operators said they use these devices, up from 7 percent a year ago.
Other fast facts:Travel tips
This year's survey includes responses from 340 professional van operators representing 43 states. Atlas has conducted the annual survey since 2003, announcing the results each September to coincide with ROAD Day – a national day of recognition for its professional van operators. This year's ROAD Day events will take place on Sept. 22. For complete survey results, visit www.atlasworldgroup.com/survey.
Atlas Van Lines is the largest subsidiary of Atlas World Group, an Evansville, Ind.-based company that posted revenues of $908 million in 2008. Atlas World Group companies employ nearly 700 people throughout North America. More than 500 Atlas interstate 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 www.atlasworldgroup.com for more information on the company and Atlas agents.