If our freeways and interstate highways are the veins of our nation, it is the trucking industry flowing through them that makes up the lifeblood of our economy. Thanks to retailers, factories, and other large businesses relying on supply lines that travel across state borders (and sometimes the length of the entire country), the trucking industry is needed more than ever to keep everyone supplied and able to run their business.
As of 2019, almost 73% of all freight in the nation was being transported by truck. That’s almost 12 billion tons of freight, bringing the trucking industry’s economical value to around $791 billion dollars in that year. The trucking industry is only expected to grow as more businesses grow and new ones arise.
The Truck Industry by the Numbers
According to a study by the National Safety Council, truck-related accidents have been increasing over the years. Since 2009, truck accident fatalities have increased by as much as 51%. In 2018 alone, roughly 112,000 large trucks had been involved in some sort of accident, resulting in damages and injuries. That’s not including the almost 5,000 fatalities. It’s not that truck drivers are driving any differently—even with federal regulations, the nation is still tackling the issue of truck drivers driving longer hours than they’re supposed to. Speeding is just as great an issue. Then there is also the weather to account for, such as how truck accidents become even more likely and severe during bad winters in some states.
With around 80% of the United States’ cities and other communities depending on the trucking industry to help their economies and businesses prosper, that dependence will likely continue to grow into the far future. Not even the appeal of potentially cheaper rail-based freight transportation has shifted the trucking industry from its pedestal. Current predictions have the freight trucking industry destined to grow as much as 28% by 2026.
Solutions for the Future of Trucking
As one can see, as more trucks are hitting the road, so are more trucks hitting other vehicles because of the same causes and conditions. The best potential remedy for this continuing situation might be to readdress current regulations for truck operation as well as to encourage investment into redesigning our current road infrastructure. From roads that need better designing to trucking companies ignoring federal rules and pressuring their drivers to do more than allowed, we’re ill-prepared to handle an ever-growing giant in our economy. If you’re looking to take part in giving trucking a brighter and safer future, here are some organizations that are actively trying to improve road safety for all, including truckers:
There are other groups out there advocating for better road safety rules, so that more drivers and truckers can get their jobs done safely so that they can make it back to their homes and families.
Vision Zero is a road traffic safety project that aims to achieve a highway system with no fatalities or serious injuries involving road traffic.
The Truck Safety Coalition has a national network of volunteers that provides immediate support to survivors and families of victims of truck crashes.
The The Road to Zero Coalition provides a major push to achieve zero roadway deaths. It is the largest coalition that has ever focused on roadway safety in the United States.
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