Truckers drive essential supplies across the nation every single day. Many of the things we take for granted are only available to us because a Truck Driver has driven them somewhere as part of the national – and global – supply chain. National Truck Driver Appreciation Week celebrates their contribution.
Back in April, we published research showing Truck Drivers in the USA felt more appreciated than their UK and Ireland counterparts: New research: Do essential lorry, van and truck drivers feel appreciated?.
How many Truckers?
Driving large tractor-trailers or delivery trucks is one of the largest occupations in the United States. According to TruckInfo, the overall trucking industry in the United States employs an incredible 8.9 million people in trucking-related jobs. Around 3.5 million are drivers – a figure which has been fairly static in recent years.
Over 90% of drivers are men and their median age is 46 (compared with 41 for all workers).
A life of service
Census data from 2016 shows at least one in ten truckers are military veterans, which is double the rate of workers in general. Even accounting for its large proportion of men and older workers, truckers still outpace other occupations as a destination for veterans.
In fact, many logistics industry employers actively recruit veterans, citing key skills and characteristics which many veterans possess in abundance as being an excellent fit for truckers. These include teamwork, leadership, adaptability, dependability and commitment.
Data from the 2016 census shows truckers work hard: almost half of truckers work longer than an average 40-hour work week. This compares with around a quarter of workers in all occupations who work more than 40 hours a week.
According to the American Trucking Associations, nearly every good consumed in the U.S. makes some part of its journey by truck. In 2019, the trucking industry hauled 72.5% of all freight transported in the United States – a phenomenal 11.84 billion tons. The trucking industry was a $791.7 billion industry that, representing 80.4% of the nation’s freight bill.
And according to Census data, the industry continues to grow. The number of trucking businesses grew 15.9% between 2012-2016, outpacing total growth of 8% across all industries. And logistics didn’t shut down for coronavirus.
A changing industry?
In our recent blog, COVID-19 and the Future of US Logistics, we discussed the changes which the coronavirus crisis has brought to the industry. These include a massive uplift in e-commerce and a shift from business to residential deliveries. These have impacts on trucking companies, affecting the size of the vehicles, distances driven and distribution center facilities.
Both Michael Kiely, Senior Vice President of U.S. Government Affairs for UPS, and Kevin J. Traver, Chief Commercial Officer of the American Trucking Associations (ATA) agree these changes are permanent. Companies across America have quickly reacted and rejigged their operations to meet changing demand.
The impacts of Covid-19
Research by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) and Owner-Operator Independent Driver Association Foundation, released in May this year, confirmed the pandemic had an impact on the logistics industry. That impact was mixed. Some freights were significantly busier, others much quieter than usual. Truckers were away from home for longer periods than usual, others found their business hanging on by a thread.
What’s abundantly clear is that without the trucking industry, we wouldn’t have got through the last six months. As demand for medical supplies, groceries and essentials surged, truckers ensured good arrives. As people were told to stay at home, truckers left their homes and families behind to serve.
It’s not just drivers in the United States, across the globe drivers and logistics professionals kept the world moving. The UK’s Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport has made a series of videos celebrating the Hidden Heroes.
We love the logistics industry. Our mission is to continue to improve vehicle and road safety with technology.
This week, National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, and every week, we thank you!