It’s a wonderful life – trucker edition

What if there were no more truckers

 

Everyone is familiar with the movie, It’s A Wonderful LIfe about a man named George Bailey, who makes a wish that he was never born and soon finds out what the world would be like without him. Clarence, the loveable angel, in order to provide George with a new perspective on his life, helps George realize just how many people his life has impacted. To follow Clarence’s lead, we hope to provide a new perspective regarding the American truck driver and how they affect our lives. What if tomorrow, there were no truck drivers – what would that look like? 

Much of the general public doesn’t realize how important truck drivers are in their lives. We can take them for granted, because we don’t see the behind-the-scene processes that our daily necessities and luxuries go through. When we go to the grocery store we might see someone stocking a shelf, but we don’t consider the truck driver who delivered those supplies. If truck drivers stopped working, the impact on our daily lives and our economy would be truly disastrous.

Here are some examples of what the world would look like if it weren’t for truck drivers:

no gas

Imagine the first 24 hours without truck drivers

  • Hospitals would begin running low on basic medical supplies
  • Long lines would begin to form for fuel
  • Mail and package delivery services would stop
no food

Within two to three days

  • Grocery stores and restaurants would run out of fresh food
  • Banks and ATMs would run out of cash
  • Service stations would run out of fuel
  • Cities and suburbs would begin to gather piles of uncollected garbage
no fuel

Within one week

  • Lack of fuel would cause motor transportation to cease
  • Lack of fuel would also mean that police, fire, and other rescue vehicles would be unable to provide assistance
  • Hospitals would begin running low on oxygen supplies
no water no jobs

And finally, within one month

  • Clean water supply would be gone
  • And almost all manufacturers would have to shut down due to lack of components, leaving thousands out of work.

This information should help us realize just how important truck drivers truly are. It’s important to keep in mind that a truck doesn’t deliver anything. It’s the truck driver that delivers the much-needed inventories and supplies that keeps the world turning. Truck driving is hard work and they should be recognized for all of the hard work they do.

The White House released a statement during Driver Appreciation Week saying, “The American trucking industry and its drivers advance our economy and provide many Americans a path to a good living in service of others. These men and women work day and night, through the harshest conditions, and endure long periods away from their loved ones to fulfill their task safely and effectively. In the aftermath of disasters, American truckers deliver life-saving supplies, lend a helping hand to communities in need, and assist in the rebuilding of cities.”

The trucking industry is enormous and vital. it remains the primary way we move goods and touches the lives of nearly the entire American population.

Trucking is the physical backbone of e-commerce, and person-to-person shipments. In the US alone, spending on overland logistics reached over $700 billion in 2016. At least $600 billion of that is FTL (full truckload), roughly half of which is private carriers and half of which is brokered freight. The rest of the market is comprised of “parcel” shipping at $49 billion, LTL (less than truckload) at $35 billion, and Air at $28 billion, making trucking one of the largest single industries in the country.

Here are some figures from recent studies from the American Trucking Association to add a little perspective:

Revenue:

$738.9 billion in gross freight revenues (primary shipments only) from trucking, representing 81.5% of the nation’s freight bill in 2016.

Tonnage:

10.55 billion tons of freight (primary shipments only) transported by trucks in 2016, representing 70.9% of total domestic tonnage shipped.

Number of Trucks:

3.68 million Class 8 trucks were in operation in 2016.

Employment:
  • 4 million people employed throughout the economy in jobs that relate to trucking activity in 2015, excluding the self-employed
  • 5 million truck drivers employed in 2016 (almost unchanged from 2015)

 

Truck drivers are the unsung heroes that literally drive our economy. We pass trucks on the highway all the time, never seeing or noticing the driver behind the wheel. These hard-working men and women travel day and night to deliver all the products that we buy every day.

We’ll end this post with a wise observation from Clarence the angel, “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”

So it will be without truck drivers.