American Trucking Associations—along with thousands of its members and partners—is commemorating National Truck Driver Appreciation Week (NTDAW), a weeklong celebration of the nation’s 3.4 million professional truck drivers.

“National Truck Driver Appreciation Week provides us the opportunity to honor the millions of men and women who safely and professionally move freight across this great country each and every day,” said Bill Graves, ATA president and chief executive officer, in a video message kicking off NTDAW.

“We know what a challenging job driving a truck can be, but we also know that trucks move America forward, and without each of you we just simply couldn’t get that job done,” he said.

Celebrated this year the week of September 13-19, NTDAW will feature celebrations hosted by motor carriers, shippers, and other trucking-related industries, as well as with events hosted by ATA, its state affiliates, and America’s Road Team captains.

These groups routinely celebrate NTDAW with driver award ceremonies, company cookouts, bonuses and gifts for drivers, and other expressions of appreciation for the important job America’s truck drivers do.

“I call on every American to join me—and the ATA—in honoring our drivers,” said ATA Chairman Duane Long, chairman of Raleigh NC-based Longistics. “America’s truck drivers perform an important duty in helping us maintain our economy and our quality of life, and too often we take them for granted. It is our hope that this weeklong celebration of their dedication to safety and professionalism can change that.”

More than 3.4 million professional truck drivers deliver America’s everyday needs nationwide. These professional men and women log more than 169 billion miles each year. In 2013, trucking professionals delivered 68.8% of US freight tonnage, equivalent to 9.96 billion tons of freight. Eighty percent of US communities depend solely on the trucking industry for delivery of goods.

ATA began celebrating NTDAW in 1988 in an effort to honor those hard-working men and women who deliver life’s essentials every day.  The event is sponsored by ATA, SmartDrive, US Legal Services, MacroPoint, and The Keiser Group.