A New York Times study from 2005 offered up an interesting explanation: truck drivers view their big rigs as sea vessels of sorts, with endless ribbons of highways taking the place of open waters and these stuffed animals serve as their identity, just like ships are sometimes adorned with a symbol or a mascot on the front.
And the message that truck drivers seem to be putting out to the world is that they are soft, cuddly people, despite the rough presence they have on the road in huge vehicles.
Stuffed animals can also be seen on the front of trash trucks. A lot of times these toys have been saved from the trash and are put on trucks to give them some character.
Kelly Horn of River Valley Disposal in Columbia, Pennsylvania said,
“It’s hard, it’s dirty and they’re outside in the elements.
It’s not like they have a desk where you can put pictures of your family.
They are just trying to personalize things and have some fun.”