Arkansas Trucking Association

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Up Front-They Like Us. They Really Like Us.

shannonnewton2Shannon Newton
President, ATA

As an industry, we talk a lot about image. We worry about public opinion.

It’s only natural. After all, who doesn’t want to be loved?

While image is not everything, it certainly has an impact, from driver and industry recruitment to regulatory, legislative and public policy actions.

I think most of us think that the trucking industry’s image needs some improvement.

I wonder, in the absence of any real data, why we make this assumption.

Are we giving too much power to a vocal minority that may be driving the discussion? Is it the high profile, typically negative and misunderstood media coverage? Have we become so defensive about what we imagine to be our industry’s image to be that we have come to accept it as fact?

Well, I’m happy to report a recent poll commissioned by the American Trucking Associations suggests that the public’s image of the trucking industry is actually very positive.

The poll was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and presented to attendees of the annual ATA Management Conference & Exhibition by co-founder Neil Newhouse, a prominent pollster for the 2012 Romney campaign.

Among the highlights of the poll: 65% of Americans have a favorable opinion of the trucking industry, compared to just 9% unfavorable; 80% of Americans believe truck drivers are safer than passenger vehicle drivers; 90% of respondents believe passenger vehicle drivers are more likely to speed than truck drivers; and 74% of respondents think in accidents involving a car and a truck, the passenger vehicle driver is at fault.

“This is really good news for the industry; the safety numbers are extraordinary,” Newhouse told those of us in attendance. “There’s a consensus across the country that truck drivers are much safer, much more diligent, they’re less likely to speed and cause crashes than are passenger car drivers.”

As an industry, we’ve been communicating these messages for years though programs including Share the Road, America’s Road Team and the current Trucking Moves America Forward campaign.

So what now? The poll is clear. The majority of Americans have a favorable outlook on the trucking industry. How can we use this information benefit our membership?

I believe these poll numbers are telling us that our advocacy efforts should be less apologetic, less defensive. Promoting the good that so many in this industry do as well as the critical, efficient and responsible role that trucking plays in our economy is a great story, a great American story. It is our story.

This poll shows a majority of the public knows our story. And they like it. And now we know they like it. True, we doubted. But just as we operated under a false assumption, we can be sure that many of our elected leaders and others important to our cause are as well.

Emboldened by the public’s support and our renewed industry self-confidence, we must redouble our efforts to educate our public officials, lawmakers and the media on our industry’s commitment to safety and on how essential (and liked) trucking really is.

Contact Us

Arkansas Trucking Association
PO Box 3476 (72203)
1401 West Capitol Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72201

(501) 372-3462 | Phone
(501) 376-1810 | Fax

Our Mission

  • PROTECT the collective interests of trucking companies in the political and regulatory arenas.
  • PROMOTE the dynamics of trucking so that people have a better understanding of the link between America's primary freight delivery system and the standard of living they enjoy.
  • SERVE our members to help them to grow their business and their profits
You are here: Home Article Archive Up Front-They Like Us. They Really Like Us.