How many people work in the trucking industry as a whole?
The trucking industry, and its related businesses, employ an estimated 8.9 million people in the United States, approximately 3.5 million of which are truck drivers. On its own, UPS is reported to employ over 60,000 workers. As of 2003, there were an estimated 15.5 million commercial trucks in operation in the United States. Approximately 2 million of these were tractor trailers.
How many miles does the transportation industry cover in a year?
In 2006 the transportation industry logged an estimated 432.9 billion miles. That is BILLION, with a “B”! Heavy duty trucks weighing in excess of 33,000.00 lbs (class 8), a category which includes tractor trailers, accounted for 139.3 billion of those miles.
How many trucking companies operate in the U.S.?
There are estimated to be over 500,000 companies in the United States which operate trucks on our roadways, the vast majority of which run relatively small fleets. How small? Approximately 96% are estimated to operate less than 28 trucks, and 82% operate 6 or fewer trucks.
What does all of this mean to you?
A significant segment of the vehicles using our roadways are tractor trailers. These companies make their money by transporting as much cargo as possible for the lowest cost possible. So, you will only be safe if these companies perceive that they have a financial interest in safety. That is, they must know that the public will hold them accountable and make them pay for unsafe practices.
In other words, there must be a cost associated with UNSAFE conduct which is great enough that they will not perceive cutting back on safety programs as saving them money in the long run. WE members of the motoring public must hold big trucking accountable for safety if we are, in turn, to be safe.
Gordon Gekko, the character Michael Douglas’ made famous in the movie Wall Street, preached that “Greed is Good”. I suggest to all of you reading this that no statement could be LESS true when applied to the trucking industry. Greed clouds judgment. Greed leads to bad decisions and the cutting of corners in ways which place ourselves and our families at risk. Greed motivates trucking companies to operate with skeleton crews, lengthen maintenance intervals and push drivers to run longer hours than regulations permit. In other words, Greed motivates companies to carelessly trade safety for profit.
In these difficult economic times, smaller trucking companies (which actually make up the majority of the trucks on the road) may feel the pressure to maximize profits (at whatever cost) more than others. This kind of irresponsible corporate greed is unacceptable, and places everyone who uses the roads at risk.