Truck Driver Appreciation Week Under Way

American Trucking Associations-affiliated carriers are holding events this week, presenting million-mile safety awards and bonuses. One of the big participants is Walmart, which is recognizing its more than 7,900 drivers in events this week.

Motor carriers and shippers nationwide are taking part in National Truck Driver Appreciation Week (Sept. 19-25) with events recognizing professional truck drivers for safe performance. The American Trucking Associations reports there are more than 3.4 million professional truckers nationwide driving 431 billion miles per year.

"Professional truck drivers deliver our nation's essential freight safely every day," President and CEO Bill Graves said. "As a result of this commitment, our nation's highways are the safest they have ever been and our grocery shelves are stocked. We as a nation owe a great deal to the truck drivers out on our nation's roads every day."

Walmart is celebrating its drivers with events at all transportation offices in the United States. "We have the best truck drivers in the country, and they play a big part in our company's success," the company said in a statement about the week. "Our private fleet is one of the largest and safest in the world. More than 7,900 Walmart drivers make over 3.5 million deliveries to our stores and clubs each year. Our entire fleet is expected to drive more than 712 million miles this year, and they drive those miles safely while providing excellent service."

ATA said events taking place as part of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week "include million-mile and safety awards, cash bonuses or gifts, an extra paid day off, a cup of coffee or windshield cleaning at truck stops, goodie bags with fresh fruit and water, free health checks, and numerous celebration meals -– some lasting all week until every driver cycles through company headquarters. Office personnel at some companies are also encouraged to spend a few days out on the road to see the driver’s side of their business. Many celebrations will be kicked off with a video tribute to the professional truck driver."

The week will be celebrated Sept. 11-17, 2011, and Sept. 16-22, 2012.

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