Trucking is an essential component for much of the economy, but most people don’t realize it also plays a critical role in completing day-to-day activities like banking, grocery shopping, and going to the doctor. The United States depends on trucks to deliver over 10 billion tons of commodities across the country. It might not mean much to pass a semi-truck on the interstate, but these vehicles and their drivers are delivery goods that could mean life or death to another individual. Considering over 70% of freight is moved by trucks, it’s fair to say it without them, America stops, but each industry would be affected differently.
The Food Industry
On average, Americans spend billions of dollars purchasing groceries every day, and the way these groceries get to the consumer is from truck drivers. If the trucking industry suddenly stopped, there would be significant shortages of food within just seventy-two hours in major supermarkets. Smaller stores or perishable items would see inventory issues within only forty-eight hours. When there is inclement weather and consumers rush to purchase necessities, it takes the average market at least three days to recover, if the industry came to a drastic halt on a local, regional, or national level, the increase in consumption could cause civil unrest. Additionally, truckers transport the necessary tools needed to keep our drinking water clean. Americans drink more than one billion glasses of tap water a day, and the purification system used to keep that water drinkable needs chemicals like chlorine. Over 150 cylinders are delivered one to two weeks to plants around the country. Without the necessary equipment, plants would run out of clean drinking water within a month.
The trucking industry not working could mean life or death for patients. Healthcare providers and clinicians ability to treat their patients revolves around truckers delivering goods at a moments notice. While many facilities carry a few weeks of supplies of necessary vaccines, most items like syringes and catheters are not ordered until supplies are depleted. This means the entire set-up of the healthcare system heavily relies on the trucking industry to provide the necessary equipment to help hospitals, pharmacies, nursing homes, and other facilities to care for their patients. Seasonal medication stocks would deplete as well. Most pharmacies carry a few weeks of supplies of certain drugs, but antibiotics and flu shots are ordered during winter months when illnesses are higher, and these medications experience faster turnover rates. If the trucking industry stopped tomorrow, these resources would diminish almost instantly.
The trucking industry is an essential mechanism for the transportation of fuel, with truck drivers completing almost 80% of the deliveries across the country. According to a report, the busiest stations sell nearly 300,000 gallons per month, and if there were issues getting fuel to these locations supplies would start to run out in just one to two days. Lack of supplies would limit the individual’s ability to get to work which would create a labor shortage. Additionally, without fuel in their cars, people can’t get to the grocery store, bank, or doctors. All mail and delivery services would cease to operate because they rely on fuel for their vehicles.
Waste management services rely on the trucking industry to bring fuel to the area so that they can keep their service trucks operational. Garbage would pile up immediately and create health and environmental hazards. Uncollected trash begins to deteriorate and create breeding grounds for fungus and toxins. Insects and small animals that carry diseases would be attracted to the garbage and as a result, transfer them to humans. But it’s not just the removal that would feel the impact. Fuel is required to operate processing facilities such as backhoes and incinerators. Without waste removal treatment, food wastes and animal byproducts will create extremely toxic conditions.
These are just a few key industries that would be affected by restricting, shutting down, or crippling the trucking industry. There are much more like the Department of Defense, local law enforcement, retail, and manufacturers that would feel the consequences. The trucking industry handles more than cargo, and without them, goods could not travel easily to their destinations. The U.S. economy as we know it would grind to a halt.
Trucking is the primary method of transporting goods and considered to be the foundation of the American industry. Join our team to start your career!