________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 19 . . . . May 23, 2003



Tom Dodd (Director). Jerry Krepakevich (Producer).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 2002.
50 min., VHS, $49.95.
Order Number: C9101 186.

Subject Headings:
Truck drivers-Psychological aspects.
Video recordings for the hearing impaired.
Truck drivers.

Grades 9 and up / Ages 14 and up.

Review by Frank Loreto.

*** /4

Truckers begins with a truck driver lamenting that there is no respect for truck drivers anymore. No longer seen as the "Knights of the Road", he asks, "How will you have anything if a truck doesn't bring it to you?"

     Clearly, this is a sympathetic look at the difficult job of truck driving. The video features two trucks leaving Calgary at the same time. One, with two drivers is heading for Inuvik, and the other, with a single driver is making the trek to Vancouver, California, Texas, Oklahoma, Toronto and back to Calgary. The Arctic drive will take a week; the latter will take a little under two weeks.

     The video cuts back and forth between the two trucks, time dating each segment and showing their progress. The grueling schedule, the regulations, the politics, and all the day to day expectations are shown as part of the job. The drivers are on the road for long stretches of time and often miss family events. As single earners, the driving puts stresses on marriages. The wives of the drivers speak, and the viewer gets a glimpse of their home lives. One wife says that she looks after the house, and he looks after the truck. They have their own rhythm, and she admits that, if he stays home too long, he tends to get in her way. Late night phone calls are frightening.

     Driving a truck is unforgiving. One driver comments, "When you hit a delete button at your computer, that's a mistake, but make a mistake on the road and lives could be lost." At the same time, the drivers make it clear that they like the independence that the life allows them.

     As we follow the drivers, we get a glimpse into the trucker community, the way stops, the people they see along the road or, as in the Inuvik trip, the people they do not see, the risks, and we hear stories of runs which did not go as planned.

     This is not an easy life and the expectations are high. The single driver's trip is over 11,000 kilometers, and he averages 800 to 1000 km per day. On the first significant snowfall in Oklahoma, he drives by many truck accidents. He used to love driving, but not so much these days. Once home, all drivers soon get ready to head out once again.

     This is a very watchable video and certainly gives cause to look at trucks on the road with respect. Truckers can be used in Career Counselling and Transportation Technology.


Frank Loreto is a teacher-librarian at St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School in Brampton, ON.

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