Participants were current or former commercial drivers who had been involved in a collision where someone died or was seriously injured.
The researcher used social media and word of mouth to broadcast the call for participants. 15 individuals were selected to take part. Participants were from the US and Canada, and there were both men and women in the group. One participant withdrew after the study began, and two chose not to contribute.
Photovoice was chosen as the method because it would give the participants maximum control and creativity in their responses. Putting the research space fully online was done for convenience of access, eliminating barriers of geography, time zones, and individual work-cycle requirements.
The study ran for seven weeks between June 10 and July 22, 2019. Participants were given a new question each week, and could view and comment on each other’s contributions. Four of the seven questions were suggested by the truckers themselves.
Knights of the Road was chosen as a theme due some of the really interesting social and cultural history of trucking. In trucking’s early days, trucking was romanticized. Truckers were gallant, highly-skilled, dauntless men who were slow to anger and quick to rescue stranded or distressed motorists, or give a lift to someone down on their luck. These noble cavaliers of the blacktop were romanticized again in later decades for representing an alternative to the corporate or stationary worker’s life. Trucker culture, or counter-culture, was celebrated in song and on screens large and small. Today’s popular culture depictions of truckers and trucking is not generally positive or flattering.
As a theme, Knights of the Road was chosen as a nod to the value, quality, and character of the profession – qualities that individual drivers and the industry seek to foster. The avatars and code names were an extension of the theme.
Knights of the Road, as a research project, has one purpose: to provide truckers with the opportunity to talk about how being involved in a traumatic event changed their lives, personally and professionally, and to do so in a way that went beyond the bounds of question and answer interviews.
This project is meant to let them speak directly to you, the viewer. In turn, you, the viewer, are also part of this research. You can add your voice and your reaction to what you see and read here.
Add your voice
The public can comment on each of the photos and those comments will appear after being held for moderation. If you wish to comment privately you can write directly to the researcher at Morganbeaudry@gmail.com.