Many truck drivers and trucking companies are finding themselves at a crossroads of maintaining a traditional trucking image while simultaneously advancing into modern times.
Some companies may feel that establishing themselves as a modern trucking company is a double-edged sword. On one hand, the introduction of new technology, modern equipment and a sustainable way of delivering freight can be entirely beneficial for a trucking company and how it operates.
Simultaneously, some truck drivers may see these advancements as a way of sublimating their lifestyle and an “authentic” way of trucking. By placing an emphasis on new ways of operating and consciousness for these operations, companies may somewhat alienate drivers who have resisted the urge to adapt to a new generation of trucking.
One such practice that seems to polarize truck drivers and trucking companies alike is the environmental consciousness and sustainability of a transportation carrier. Many companies now advertise how environmentally friendly they are and the benefits of implementing these practices – for better or for worse in regards to their perception by drivers.
How Is A Trucking Company Environmentally Friendly?
A ubiquitous term, environmentally friendly can mean a bevy of things for a trucking company. From a simple business procedure such as implementing paperless logging and online settlements, a company can eliminate paper waste and paper trails entirely.
Some companies also suggest routines to drivers that can help to ensure more sustainable practices. Some of these suggestions may include drivers rising early to avoid traffic, fueling in the A.M. - to potentially get more gas in their tanks before gas particles expand in the heat - and resting at certain locations maximize rest and increase time driving on the road within legal limitations.
However, a trucking company can implement much larger practices to see a reduction in their carbon footprint. Purchasing later models of equipment and devising more fuel-conscious routes can see a huge impact on decreasing pollution. Some carriers may also go so far as to install aerodynamic panels on trucks and require frequent routine maintenance of tractors.
These practices may see drivers and companies spending less time on the road and more time in shops and maintenance centers, which may decrease a carrier’s efficiency or increase a driver’s time spent on the job as a whole. This is truly dependent on the carrier and the truck in question, but overall it is a possibility of operations.
Sustainable practices such as these truly begin to shape the job and the trucking industry and they predicate a shift in the trucker lifestyle. When a mode of operating that was once Point A to Point B and everything in between is couched for having to take several factors of transportation into factor, truckers may lose a sense of how their routine is shaped by the industry.
How an Individual Driver Can Be Eco-Friendly
Many of the above practices are company-issued and cannot properly account for an individual driver’s habits or preferences on the road. For drivers interested in environmental consciousness on the job (and perhaps the ability to save the company some money) there are many small changes they can make to their routine that can make a difference.
Drivers can reduce their time idling and turn their trucks off when it is not absolutely necessary to keep them running. In a similar vein, fuel can be conserved if drivers maintain constancy in their acceleration and braking. The practice of racing to a stop just to brake nearly immediately is a large waste of gas an can easily be avoided with conscious driving.
Drivers can also plan routes that make for more efficient drop offs and stops when delivering freight. Drivers may see the added bonus of avoiding gridlock, bad weather and other hardships of the road when accurately planning routes in advance.
The Future of Sustainable Trucking
While it’s hard to predict exactly where the future of so-called environmental trucking will turn, one thing is for certain – practices must be issued at many levels within the company to ensure sustainability. This means an open and honest communication about what kind of initiatives will be taken by the company and a realistic timeline in which they will take place.
The simple practice of educating truck drivers and trucking company employees about sustainability is also a major issue. Many of those opposed to considering small switches in their routines may be reticent to do so because they consider it the beginning huge changes for them. This may ultimately be true for some companies, but many will see business practices that mirror traditional trucking.
Overall, it is important for truck drivers and trucking companies to realize that changes cannot happen overnight and that the current state of the trucking industry is dependent on many factors. Sustainability cannot feasibly come into play as a major force in the industry without other components and demands of the occupation changing as well.