How Important is the Trucking Industry to the US?

Funny truck driver Jonathon WintersThe trucking industry is a vital part of the economy of the United States. Every other industry virtually relies on trucks to deliver goods to them so that they can make products and/or take products to the markets.

Just check around you. Everything you see has probably seen the inside of a truck, either as a raw material, or as the final product. We are able to carry out our daily activities because of the services of truck drivers, as they help us get what we need.

The trucking industry actually handles more cargo than ships, planes or even trains. Without trucks and truck drivers goods can never move from ports to their destinations.

Trucking is Crucial to the Economy of the Nation.

The United States economy depends on trucks to deliver over 10 billion tons of various commodities.  In the United States, this accounts for $700.4 billion worth of goods hauled by trucks. Any disruption in the truck transportation services will cause lots of economic disruptions in all sectors of the economy.

What are the Main Responsibilities of the Trucking Industry?

The trucking industry makes its first economic contribution through the delivery of raw materials to various manufacturers all over the United States.  For instance, trucks haul raw materials from mines, farms and quarries to factories that require the raw materials to produce the finished goods. The finished commodities are then moved by trucks from wholesalers to retailers and other transportation destinations such as airplanes, ships to other regions all over the country or the world.

Political Influence:

The trucking industry alone fetches the country annual revenues of 650 billion. This translates to over 84% of the entire revenue of the commercial transportation industry. Due to the influence this industry has on the economy of the country, the federal, state and local governments have imposed many regulations. For instance, for public safety, there are laws that restrict trucks from using certain roads. There are laws to protect truck drivers from driving without enough rest and even some laws that require trucks not to go over certain speed limits (in Canada, for example). The American Trucking Association (ATA) is a major organization for trucking company’s that plays a vital role in all aspects of politics.

Creates Employment Opportunities:

According to the Business Insider, there are over 800,000 truck drivers working in the US and they account for about $30 billion dollars annually. There are small trucking businesses that operate in the owner operator model and big trucking companies who hire lots of drivers. Most of the big trucking companies have trucker unions. In the same way trucking associations protect the interest of the trucking industry, trucking unions also work towards protecting the interests of their drivers. For instance, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters is such one organization. If this organization decides to call for a strike, they can bring the entire economy to a standstill which can cause price increases and delayed shipments.

Seeing to it that all truck drivers are well trained is vital in ensuring the trucking industry runs smoothly. Because of the high demand for truck drivers, many companies offer paid CDL trainings to attract drivers and make the entry barrier of trucking lower. You can find some of the better company sponsored training here.

How much are truck drivers paid on average?

The amount of salary a truck driver earns is important, and it’s the reason some drivers stick with one company for years while others just work for a few months in a company and then quit. Typically, most truck drivers will start to earn about $28,000 and you can make as much as $68,000 per year according to If you work for a shipping company or distribution center, you can expect to earn better salaries. However, if you are an independent contractor, then your salary will depend on several factors. If you are looking for local trucking job, check out this post by Ken.

Pay Per Hour:

Often, truckers will negotiate their salaries on a rate that’s based on mileage and not hours. For experienced independent truck drivers, the rate per mile could be up to 60 cents per mile. This means that if the driver travels at about 70 miles an hour, they will make approximately 42 dollars per hour. If the total trip is about 800 miles, the driver makes a cool $480.

Lastly, What can Happen in America Should the Trucking Industry Stop?

Shutting down all truck operations due to any reasons such as a natural disaster or in response to terrorist attack will likely have a devastating impact on the every industry, particularly transportation, food, waste removal, financial, retail, manufacturing, and healthcare. Can you imagine a world where you would need to make or grow everything you need? Without the trucking industry, most (if not all) of the supplies that we take for granted would likely not exist. And yet, trucking has one of the highest turnover rates due to various challenges such as long work hours, long time away from home, health issues, etc. A healthy trucking industry requires protection from government regulations, proper physical and physiological management and monitoring.  So, next time you see a trucker, stop by and say ‘hello’ and show your appreciation. A happy trucker is what everyone needs!

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