A driver keeps his eye on how trucking is portrayed in film
Ben Ehrlich, Rantoul, Ill., Driving for 10 years
I’m about to celebrate 10 years as a truck driver. It’s pretty simple how I got into the business. I needed a job, and I thought this was something that I could do. So I called a truck driving school, they said come on in and that’s what I did. I have been driving since — I have no complaints.
When I came into the industry, I did what I’m sure a lot of people do. I got every CD of trucking songs I could find, and I checked out all the trucker movies. I pretty much gleaned from the Internet Movie Database website all the movies that were about trucking and watched them. What was missing was a list of movies that aren’t necessarily about trucking but are influenced by the industry in some way — the kinda, sorta trucking movies. For example, The Fast and the Furious is about street racing, but the backstory is about truck loads being hijacked. In the climactic scene, a trucker fights back. He drives away with the load intact, though his radiator is full of bullet holes. Seeing that at a truckstop, we all cheer for the triumphant truck driver.
You know, if drivers see a truck scene, we all start talking about it. Did the moviemakers get it right? Does it show truckers in a bad way?
There are a lot of good websites that covered trucker songs, but I didn’t see anything that covered the movies. So I started my own, www.erldwgstruckermovies.com, and I rate the movies. I look at the way that drivers are portrayed, but also if it’s an entertaining movie.
I wanted people to know about the website, so I got in touch with a country radio station, WKZS, out of Covington, Ind. I suggested that during Truck Driver Appreciation Week they play a Mandatory Trucker Song every day, sponsored by my website. They really liked the idea, and it’s happening.
On one hand I called them about doing this for very selfish reasons, to promote the website. But you know I always hear about the trucker appreciation events that go on that week, and I’m usually busy running so I can’t be part of it. I’m sure there are other drivers who are the same. But the station streams their programming online so anyone can hear the Mandatory Trucker Song. I don’t have the time or money to throw a massive barbecue for all my fellow truckers during Truck Driver Appreciation Week, so this is my way of saluting them.