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Truckers are among the key American workers who keep our country moving. 

Professional truck drivers number approximately 3.6 million in the United States, according to American Trucking Associations, a national trade association for the industry. Trucking is the largest freight-hauling industry in the country, the group reports.

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week this year is coming up soon, from Sept. 11-Sept. 17 — a time for all Americans to pay respect to and thank our truck drivers for the work they do.

Ahead of that — and in recognition and in honor of Labor Day this year — Fox News Digital spoke with Guido Miller, a long-haul trucker from Iowa, about his career, its benefits, challenges and the pride he feels in his job, a critical position that keeps America running.

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“I started driving a truck in the late 1990s,” said Miller, a husband, father and grandfather. “Growing up, I remember watching the big rigs that traveled the highways. They always got my attention.”

Guido Miller, a husband, father and grandfather from Iowa, has been behind the wheel since the late 1990s. “It was nice being labeled an ‘essential worker'” during the pandemic, he told Fox News Digital. 
(Guido Miller)

Noting that truckers “were definitely in the spotlight at the peak of the COVID pandemic,” Miller pointed out that “the importance of the transportation industry was highlighted during the supply-chain disruption.”

“It was nice being labeled an ‘essential worker’ and hearing the appreciation shown to truckers across the country during that time,” he said.

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One thing Miller appreciates about his job?  It has brought him memorable travel experiences, he said.

“Before I got ‘on the road’ [OTR, or long-haul], the furthest West I had traveled was Omaha, Nebraska,” said Miller. “This all changed once I started to drive trucks — and getting paid to do it — across our country.”

Miller has trucked through 48 states and Canada, he said.

Guido Miller of Iowa smiles from the cab of his big rig. "Trucking is a lifestyle," he told Fox News Digital.

Guido Miller of Iowa smiles from the cab of his big rig. “Trucking is a lifestyle,” he told Fox News Digital.
(Guido Miller/iStock)

“I’ve been to places I probably would’ve never visited if it were not for this job,” Miller said, adding that “trucking is a lifestyle.”

The benefits of trucking are many, according to Miller — and they keep him in the driver’s seat.

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“There is a sense of camaraderie or brotherhood among drivers,” he said. “It feels good to belong. It is also appealing to be on your own out here, with no one looking over your shoulder — being independent and being your own boss.”

Being a trucker has its challenges, too.

“I have always said it takes a strong and special person to be a truck driver’s spouse, and I am lucky enough to have one of those.”

“The job is not without its hardships,” said Miller. “Long hours every day, for weeks at a time and longer. Typically, we’ll spend 11 hours driving and work up to 14 hours a day between driving and non-driving work time.”

He added, “At that pace, a driver averages close to 70 hours by the end of the week.”

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With that amount of time spent in the rig, “we have an unpredictable work schedule combined with infrequent and limited time at home to spend with spouses, kids, friends and family,” Miller said.

One big challenge for truckers is the growing number of travelers talking and driving at the same time, Miller said.

One big challenge for truckers is the growing number of travelers talking and driving at the same time, Miller said.
(iStock)

Yet he is grateful for the family support that has enabled him to have a career in trucking, he said.

“I have always said it takes a strong and special person to be a truck driver’s spouse,” he said, “and I am lucky enough to have one of those.”

Truck drivers experience “challenging working conditions,” he said — everything from “hazardous weather and roads” to “ever-present traffic and construction.”

“I believe the public views trucking as a behind-the-scenes type of job. I would almost say we are taken for granted and only noticed when something goes off the rails.” 

“This job isn’t for everybody, and not just anyone can do, or is willing to do, what we do,” Miller said.

That’s what makes the job satisfying, he said: “Overcoming the daily challenges and seeing the load through, from pickup to delivery.”

Miller said that “working the equipment and testing your skills gained from years behind the wheel” is gratifying. 

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He also said he enjoys feeling the “personal satisfaction of delivering that load on time and safely to a consignee that is happy to see you roll through their gate with product they’ve been waiting on. There is a sense of pride in doing something that not everyone can do.”

There are approximately 3.6 million professional truck drivers in the United States, according to the American Trucking Associations.

There are approximately 3.6 million professional truck drivers in the United States, according to the American Trucking Associations.
(iStock)

The trucking industry has seen changes during Miller’s time behind the wheel — some good, others “not so good,” he said. 

“Traffic is the bane of all truck drivers,” he said. “I’m not sure how, or if, that will ever improve.” 

Miller said one positive change is that “the trucking industry has begun to address pay in the last several years,” calling it “overdue” and done out of necessity “to retain and attract drivers to the field.”

“From the food you eat, to the roof over your head, to the clothes on your back and the fuel in your tank — if you got it, a truck driver brought it. Trucking moves America.”

“Trucking companies have also recognized the need for more frequent home time,” he added. 

“The days of cross-country long-haul trucking being the norm have evolved into more regional runs, offering better work schedules for drivers with more time at home.”

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Miller said technology has helped, too. 

“GPS has turned out to be a beneficial tool for drivers, but I still never leave home without my Rand McNally map,” he said.

“To make the long days of separation from family more tolerable, cell phones have been a godsend. And social media helps keep us connected.”

Miller said spending fewer hours behind the wheel each week is "the most positive change in the trucking industry — realizing that drivers are people too and time at home is of the utmost importance."

Miller said spending fewer hours behind the wheel each week is “the most positive change in the trucking industry — realizing that drivers are people too and time at home is of the utmost importance.”
(iStock)

This brought to mind an important safety issue for Miller. “If we could just figure out a way to get people to prioritize driving over talking on their phones while on the road,” he said. 

While Miller spent years as an OTR truck driver, since 2004 he has driven for a Tennessee-based dedicated carrier, primarily running Midwest regional freight for an Iowa-based customer. He serves familiar customers on predictable routes. 

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“I still get plenty of miles — 2,800-3,000 miles per week,” he said. 

He added that he enjoys “weekly home time, so I can spend more quality time with my wife, children, their spouses and now grandchildren.

“I attribute this as the most positive change in the trucking industry — realizing that drivers are people too, and time at home is of the utmost importance.”

Guido Miller during his U.S. citizenship ceremony in 2013 in Iowa. He came to this country from Germany — and took all the necessary steps to gain legal citizenship status. "It was great to go through the process, understand the meaning of what I was doing and then finally take the oath of citizenship," he told Fox News Digital. 

Guido Miller during his U.S. citizenship ceremony in 2013 in Iowa. He came to this country from Germany — and took all the necessary steps to gain legal citizenship status. “It was great to go through the process, understand the meaning of what I was doing and then finally take the oath of citizenship,” he told Fox News Digital. 
(Guido Miller)

He said, “Every year, the trucking industry holds ‘driver appreciation’ events, and I’m not sure how much the general public is aware of it. Trucking is suffering from a degrading reputation and image. Unfortunately, some of it is deservedly so.” 

Miller said all drivers and companies need to “do what it takes to repair the industry’s image. We need to put professionals back in the driver’s seat.” 

“I believe the public views trucking as a behind-the-scenes type of job,” he added. 

“I would almost say we are taken for granted and only noticed when something goes off the rails. Everyone wants to feel their efforts are noticed and appreciated, to help move us all forward.”

“I was able to share this day with my family — we also held a citizenship party open house a few weeks later, attended by family and friends.”

“There’s a lot of truth to the saying, ‘From the food you eat, to the roof over your head, to the clothes on your back and the fuel in your tank — if you got it, a truck driver brought it.’ Trucking moves America,” he said.

Miller, by the way, remains proud of one more very important thing. 

He came to this country from Germany in 1976 after his mom — a single mom at the mom — married a U.S. Air Force serviceman. 

A truck is shown on a highway in California. "Every year, the trucking industry holds ‘driver appreciation’ events, and I'm not sure how much the general public is aware of it," said Guido Miller. 

A truck is shown on a highway in California. “Every year, the trucking industry holds ‘driver appreciation’ events, and I’m not sure how much the general public is aware of it,” said Guido Miller. 
(iStock)

After about a year’s worth of preparation for the legal steps involved, Miller became a U.S. citizen on Sept. 13, 2013, when he was in his mid-40s. 

He said he had to “make several trips to the Neal Smith Federal Building in Des Moines, Iowa, for interviews, fingerprinting and photographs, to support [my] documents and background checks.” 

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Noting that “it was great to go through the process, understand the meaning of what I was doing and then finally take the oath of citizenship,” Miller said, “I was able to share this day with my family — we also held a citizenship party open house a few weeks later, attended by family and friends.”

He also said, “And I was able to vote the first time after 2013 and was also selected for jury duty.” 

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