Truck driving was once considered a noble profession. Known as "knights of the highway," truck drivers were fairly well-regarded by the public. Over the last couple of decades, the industry has taken many lumps in the image departmant, some deserved, some not.
Modern trucking is much different then it was in the days of regulation. Even though the CDL had not been implemented, during regulation, it was difficult to break into the industry. New drivers had to work at it. Today, anyone can go get a CDL and get hired to drive a truck. Large "training companies" and truck driving schools have the ability to test applicants and students and declare them competent to receive a CDL. This third party testing allows the responsibilty of deciding a new driver is qualified to rest in the hands of the very people who are most interested in getting drivers behind the wheel.
The practice of third party testing has flooded the industry with drivers at the expense of highway safety. These new drivers, lured in with promises of good money and an exciting career, often find themselves in a position of near indentured servitude. Chained to their trucks with threats of having to repay thousands of dollars in training costs, they cannot afford to leave.
Meanwhile, the lack of training is evident everywhere, impacting not only highway safety, but the public perception of the industry as a whole. The industry itself seems to have become divided between classes of driver. Owner-operators, lease-operators, and company drivers seem to be pitted against each other. All the while, public safety groups, concerned about safety on America's highways continue to call for more stringent regulation. Regulation that is often misguided by the influence of other industry interests calling for change in the name of safety when the real goal is far different.
The general public doesn't really know what's going on inside the trucking industry, but they need to. The different types of drivers need to realize also, that they are really all working towards the same goals. Everyone wants safer, more efficient transportation of goods. There is a way to achieve that goal without being pitted against each other as mortal enemies.