Free meals for truckers during Truck Driver Appreciation Week

CASS COUNTY, N.D. (KVRR) – It’s an industry that touches pretty much everything we do.

“If you’re eating it, if you’re purchasing it, it came on a truck. We need these folks to supply us,” President of the F-M Transportation Club Kelly Krapu said.

To give truckers a free lunch is an easy thing the F-M Transportation Club, North Dakota Motorcarriers Association and North Dakota Department of Transportation can do for Truck Driver Appreciation Week.

“Truck drivers are the backbone of America,” Krapu said.

It’s a surprise to many making the trek on I-94.

“They’re thinking ‘Oh, I’m going to get weighed, have paperwork checked, they’re going to check my truck’ when we’re doing none of that. Today is all about celebrating and honoring truckers and all of the hard work that they put in day in and day out,” Krapu said.

Sandwiches, chips, cookies and water are being handed out to those eastbound and down.

Forty-four businesses came together to raise $4,500 for the meals. The Highway Patrol helped out by staffing the station.

There’s not enough truck drivers to thank. According to the American Trucking Association, there was a shortage of 80,000 drivers last year.

That’s an all-time high. The issue may be baby boomers retiring and not enough young people making a career on the interstate.

It could be wages, too. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the median salary for big-rig drivers in 2021 was $48,310 or $23 an hour. Many work up to 70 hours a week, but only for driving time and not loading and unloading.

According to Women in Trucking, only 10 percent of truckers are women.

Krapu is a driver and believes it’s a good job for women.

“I personally think female drivers are fantastic. Statistics do show that female drivers are safer drivers than men,” Krapu said.

Click here for more information on getting more women into trucking.

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