The trucking and transportation industry has been a staple in the United States for generations. It’s a crucial part of our economy, equips us with the products we need, and keeps the gears of the country turning. And now, with the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically affecting the way we live our lives, the importance of truck drivers and the work they do for us is perhaps more vital than it’s ever been before.
Here are five of the (many) reasons the importance of truck drivers and the trucking industry at large deserves an extra round of applause during this difficult time:
1) A Backbone of Our Economy
In 2018, the U.S. freight and trucking industry generated approximately 800 billion dollars in revenue. Truck drivers are almost single-handedly responsible for keeping countless businesses and services, the ones we often take for granted, alive and well. And like Trucking.com says, over 70% of all freight tonnage in the U.S., which equates to over 10 billion tons of cargo, is transported by truck drivers.
Without truckers, we wouldn’t have access to many of the products and services we rely on, and, as a result, our economy would run the risk of collapsing in on itself.
2) Employing Millions of Americans
Not only is the trucking industry responsible for a significant chunk of our country’s economy—all of the online retailers we rely on wouldn’t be able to exist without truckers, after all—but it’s also an essential career path for millions of hardworking Americans from all walks of life.
According to a 2019 report from the U.S. Census Bureau, the trucking industry now provides more than 3.5 million people with trucker jobs. And that doesn’t even take into account the millions of other trucking jobs the trucking industry generates!
3) Stocking the Shelves of Our Stores
The odds are very high that just about everything you see on the shelf at the grocery store spent some time on a truck and wouldn’t be within arm’s reach if it hadn’t been for America’s truck drivers. If you were to imagine our country without truckers, for example, then you’d be seeing a world where ATMs would be cashless, “gas stations would run out of fuel,” and “essentials like bottled water, powdered milk, and canned foods would be gone.”
4) Keeping Businesses Afloat
“The American trucker sits at a vital intersection in society,” Trucking.com says. “They are the critical link between the valued goods we produce and the demands of our most pressing needs.” The importance of truck drivers is impossible to overstate, especially when it comes to keeping the businesses we rely on—both local and otherwise—active and afloat.
5) Providing the Country with the Goods it Needs
With so many brick-and-mortar stores currently closed on account of COVID-19, truck drivers are playing a crucial role in keeping our homes stocked with the supplies they need. Even when the rest of the world is hunkering down, “factories and meat-packing plants are still running at full operation,” and there are so many supplies (food, toilet paper, etc.) that need to get to stores and consumers. “That means drivers, as always, are needed on the road.”