According to the American Trucking Associations, it is estimated that the United States is short by 30,000 truck drivers. While it may sound dramatic, a halt in the trucking industry would alter our life and economy. Look around the room – imagine if trucks weren’t used for transportation. It’s a guess that at least 70% of the items around you would have never arrived.
Businesses of all sizes and types depend on the trucking industry to get their inventory in place and on time. Everything from concert equipment for your favorite band to the wine sitting in your refrigerator is available because of trucking.
The need for trucking is more significant than most Americans realize. Trucks are responsible for more cargo transportation than trains, ships, or planes. In the United States, over $671 billion of goods are shipped per year by the trucking industry.
Trucking in the United States: Then and Now
History of Trucking
Prior to the invention of the automobile, transportation of goods largely occurred by rail. Once technology led to the gasoline-powered engine and improvement in transmission systems and fuel efficiencies, the truck gained in popularity. Companies began to rely on their goods making it from the railroad yards to their final destination.
It did not take long for the federal government to decide the trucking industry needed regulations. By 1938, Congress passed a bill that limited the number of hours a truck driver could drive without taking a break.
These numbers are still contested today. In addition, weight restrictions started getting regulated because trucks were carrying too many goods for the make of their vehicles.
In the 1970s, the country finally implemented the interstate highway system for their truck driving. The amount of goods that can be carried on a truck was increased to 80,000 pounds.
Currently truck weight restrictions are based on the number of axels and truck lengths. The trucking industry thrived in the 1970s and has lost a lot of its romanticism since then.
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The Current Trucking Industry
According to the American Trucking Associations, there is a high turnover rate for truck drivers. In fact, it is estimated that the United States is short by 30,000 truck drivers.
In the 1980s, the trucking industry lost its unionized status and saw a dramatic decrease in wages. Truckers used to feel a sense of camaraderie with one another because they relied on radio communications. Today, the dependence on cell phones has not only isolated the trucking industry, but it has made trucking more dangerous.
The industry has allowed for a larger number of carriers to ship goods across the country. It is common for drivers to sign a short contract, which gives them a small time frame for a guaranteed job.
Potential candidates do not like the idea of an unsecured income, working various routes, and having limited opportunities for an increase in pay or career advancement. Aside from this, many candidates are also concerned about retirement benefits.
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The Importance of the Trucking Industry
The United States economy depends on the trucking industry. The American Trucking Associations claims that this country would face devastating economic results should the trucking industry halt for any reason.
Here are a few things we rely on each day that would be compromised if the trucking industry came to a stop.
Groceries – Americans wouldn’t be able to visit the grocery store for perishable items. As a result, there would be a shortage in non-perishable items since people would be forced to stock up on other goods.
Health care – The healthcare industry also depends on trucking. Even a visit to a general practitioner requires the use of medical supplies such as cotton balls, thermometer covers, and even needles. Most hospitals do not keep large amounts of storage because they do not have the space to store extra supplies. With this in mind, local hospitals will likely run out of supplies in only a few days.
Natural disasters – If there were a natural disaster such as a hurricane or tornado, the delivering of supplies to affected areas would see a dramatic decrease. Lives would be jeopardized as other modes of transportation attempt to make up for the cargo trucking.
Prescription drugs – Americans would also find difficulty in visiting the pharmacy for prescription drugs, getting regular medical treatments like oxygen, and even the potential to acquire over-the-counter medical products. Nursing homes or assisted living facilities would also see an exhausted food supply in a few days.
Drinking water – Without trucking, the clean drinking water would run dry within a month. The trucking industry is largely responsible for all of the chemicals used to keep our tap water clean. Every site stores its own chemicals but this varies on location. Without trucking, you would be boiling water by the end of next month.
Unfortunately, many car drivers feel anxiety when driving around trucks, especially on highways. And, unfortunately, trucking accidents occur just as frequently as car accidents.
If you or a loved one was involved in a truck accident, which lead to a devastating loss, the importance of the trucking industry may not seem so big any more.
Getting your life back to normal, recovering financially, and getting coverage for medical care you deserve should be your number one priority after a trucking accident.
The only way to represent your needs and fight a large company is with the help of a qualified team of lawyers on your side. The truck accident attorneys at Fetterman & Associates, PA will work with families to ensure they receive the settlement they deserve.
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