When ‘National Truck Driver Appreciation Week’ Means Calling Dad

Two Torc Colleagues Share A Common Background As Drivers’ Daughters

Here’s a fact to share at the dinner table tonight, and something you may take for granted: Everything surrounding you right now, including everything you’re wearing and everything you have eaten today was, at some point, carried on a truck. Trucking moves 54 million tons of goods in the U.S. every day, and there are approximately 3.5 million truck drivers doing that moving and driving each day. Two of those drivers out there had two daughters, and they are now colleagues at Torc, working on autonomous trucking, and helping Torc drive the future of freight.

As part of “National Truck Driver Appreciation Week,” these two Torc colleagues shared stories about their fathers, and growing up with truck driving in their blood. Laura Sandoval’s father, Elmer Enrique Sandoval, and Izzy Johnson’s father, Wilfredo Latorre, were both on the roads for most of their daughters’ childhoods. So similar to a military family, they weren’t sure where their dads were at any given time, and when they’d be home next. “He would say ‘I’ll be home in a week’ but then on the way, he’d pick up another load that had to go somewhere else, and be a day or two late, or he’d change routes and get back a little earlier than expected,” says Izzy, part of the Torc user experience team, working on the Virtual Driver software. “Dad is an adventurer and being on the road makes him happy.” Laura says the same about her dad. “He loves being a truck driver and he always has the best stories about being on the road,” she says.

A topic of conversation online is the misunderstanding that autonomous trucks are going to replace drivers. Both Izzy and Laura’s fathers know that myth isn’t true. “There’s always going to be a route and pickups for them to run,” says Laura, who works with in-cab drivers out of our Albuquerque office. “There’s just too much freight to be moved. There will always be the need for drivers.”

Importantly, both of their dads immediately got the fact that autonomous trucking will make roads safer for everyone. “He did the research on Torc before I joined, and was like ‘you have to work for this company’,” says Izzy. “He was so excited about the opportunity created by self-driving trucks and what this future will bring. He knows it’ll make roads safer.” Laura agrees. “Dad knows self-driving technology on the road will make the whole industry safer and truck driver’s jobs safer too,” she says.

Like many drivers on the roads now, Izzy’s dad is reaching retirement age soon. “I’m not sure what he’s going to do, not driving,” she says. “He’ll definitely get a little stir-crazy.” Laura’s dad Elmer has a few more years until retirement, but is proud of his daughter for working to advance an important 21st century mode of transportation. “We may not be drivers ourselves, but we’re doing our part,” she says.

Celebrate National Truck Driver Appreciation Week on your own!

What can YOU do to celebrate National Truck Driver Appreciation Week? Buy a driver a meal! Post on social media with #NTDAW23! Make a donation to a truck driver charity! And most importantly, be aware of how much our lives depend on the trucks and drivers on the roads, every day.

Izzy Johnson’s father, Wilfredo Latorre, behind the wheel.

Young Laura Sandoval and her father, Elmer Enrique Sandoval

Izzy Johnson’s son sits in Grandpa’s truck