In many ways, truck drivers are the unsung heroes of our modern lives. There is not much in the way of cultural conversation about just how vital they are to nearly every aspect of our lives. The food we eat, the products we buy, and the materials our homes are built with all have traveled on trucks at some point or another.
A steady workforce of truck drivers helps to ensure that supply chain logistics run as smoothly as possible. Without it, the American economy and its culture could be seriously impacted.
Whether truck drivers participate in lumber transport or deliver Budweiser to liquor stores, they are a crucial part of the economy. Because truck drivers are so important and make up such a big part of the workforce, they also yield quite a bit of political power. If a strike was organized by one of the trucking industry organizations, it could bring the economy to a halt.
Are you wondering exactly how truck drivers impact the economy and culture? Let’s take a look at what you need to know.
Truck Drivers Deliver Raw Materials for Manufacturing
When you think of truck drivers, you probably think of giant trailers carrying products to big retailers like Walmart or Kroger. However, truck drivers have a major impact on the economy way before the items we buy are heading towards the store shelves.
One of the initial economic contributions that truck drivers make is the delivery of raw materials to manufacturing plants.
These drivers pick up materials from local suppliers. They pick up supplies from farms, quarries, mines, and loggers and bring them to factories. The factories then use these materials in order to produce products.
Once the products have been produced, trucks will then take them to wholesalers and retailers. Or, they might bring them to another form of transportation such as a container ship, an airplane, or a train. From here, the products can end up spreading throughout the country as well as the world.
Truck Drivers Transport Goods and Products
Pretty much anything we buy has traveled on a truck at one point or another. Unless you are buying all of your belongings from a local farmer and artisan who produces all of their own raw materials, the things in your home and that you eat have likely traveled on a truck for some distance.
In modern society, we have gotten used to having everything we need at all times. It’s easy to be blind to the complex infrastructure and transportation network that makes all of this possible. Many Americans are unaware of how quickly the economy and the social structure would start to destabilize if there was an interruption in the trucking industry.
Truck Drivers Make Up a Big Chunk of the Workforce
Truck drivers don’t just influence consumer culture by delivering all of the raw materials and products that we use. Additionally, the sheer number of truck drivers makes up an impressive number of employed people in this country.
According to Business Insider, there are about 800,000 truck drivers that work in the United States. Their combined earnings are said to amount to roughly $30 billion every single year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the job outlook for truck drivers is increasing by 6% in the next ten years.
There are both larger trucking businesses and smaller trucking businesses. The larger businesses often employ union drivers. The smaller businesses give drivers the opportunity to be self-employed through an owner-operator model.
There are trucking associations that exist in order to protect the interests of the trucking industry as a whole. On top of that, there are also unions that exist to protect drivers’ interests as well.
In fact, unions such as the International Brotherhood of Teamsters hold quite a bit of economic power. If they chose to execute one large-scale strike, it’s hard to imagine just how quickly that could impact nearly every aspect of American life and the economy. An action such as this could literally bring the entire country’s economy to a screeching halt.
A strike of this kind could lead to massive price increases, shipping delays, and other trouble. Truck drivers are an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to American consumer culture and the economy. If they chose to use their power collectively, it would send rippling effects through nearly every aspect of life.
Truck Drivers Have a Lot of Political Influence
Did you know that the trucking industry earns roughly 84% of the entire total revenue of the commercial transportation industry? The annual revenue collected by the trucking industry amounts to $650 billion according to Business Insider. There are many regulations imposed on the trucking industry at every level of government. This is because of how large and vital this industry is to the economy.
There are a number of laws that exist in regards to truckers that have to do with public safety out on the road. These include restrictions on how long truckers can drive without breaks, special speed limits for trucks, and restrictions on using certain roads.
There are a number of organizations that work to create industry-wide standards. They also build a system of best practices. This organization is quite large and holds quite a bit of political power and influence.
Truck Drivers: The Unsung Heroes of Our Way of Life
If you have even glanced at a news website in the last several months, you’ve probably caught wind of the supply chain shortage around the world. The supply chain is a complex system in which truck drivers are essential players. One of the reasons that there have been supply chain problems is that there is a shortage of truck drivers.
If you’re ready to build a career in this vital industry, check out the available jobs at Patriot Freight today!