You see them on the road every day and shop for the products they haul across the country. They’re our professional truck drivers, who measure their hard work in miles and freight loads.
As we kick off National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, I can’t think of a better time to celebrate and say thank you to the drivers in Walmart’s private fleet – our unsung heroes of the road.
Our fleet has the well-earned reputation of being the best of the best. We currently have about 7,500 drivers and 6,500 tractors. These dedicated women and men handled nearly 2 million loads last year – yes, that’s millions – with each driver traveling an average of 100,000 miles. With that much time spent on the road, our drivers take safety and their driving skills seriously. In fact, the American Trucking Associations' National Driver of the Year award has gone to a Walmart driver three out of the last seven years.
Not only do they work hard to deliver value to our customers, they also serve as ambassadors in their communities. Drivers have the opportunity to support relief efforts during natural disasters, to brighten the day of chronically ill youngsters with special events through the Walmart Heart program, to honor our veterans through Wreaths Across America and much more.
As retail is evolving and customers’ shopping options are expanding, freight demand continues to grow. To meet this increased volume, we’re looking to add more highly-qualified drivers to our private fleet.
In addition to Walmart’s traditional driver offerings – new drivers earn on average $86,000 annually, have access to benefits on day one, receive as many as 21 days of paid time off in their first year, enjoy predictable home time, don’t load or unload freight, and can earn quarterly safety bonuses and incentives – we are adding new ways to find and recruit the best talent.
Knowing that our dedicated drivers are our best recruiters, we’re rewarding them for referrals. Any driver or hourly associate in the Transportation Division can receive up to a $1,500 bonus. We’re also streamlining the hiring process to get drivers onboarded much quicker. Under the pilot, the process will speed up by as much as a month. The new program is already in place in Bentonville, Arkansas, and will expand to Indianapolis this month.
As a special way to say thank you this year during National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, we are running our first TV commercial dedicated to the fleet drivers to let them know how much we appreciate them and how important they are to our customers, associates and company. You can watch this special ad below.
Truck drivers have been a big part of what makes Walmart special since the earliest days of the company, and they’ll continue to help drive Walmart’s success as we lead retail into the future.
Thank you to our amazing team of current drivers, and I’m looking forward to welcoming new faces in the weeks and months to come.