How Our Economy Relies on Truck Drivers

truck driver in drivers seat

Driving long stretches of the highway, you’ll pass hundreds of commercial trucks along the way. These trusty shippers are a staple companion of any road trip, but what the public often overlooks is how critical these drivers’ long trips are to virtually any industry. From food and retail to energy and manufacturing, truck drivers deliver the goods we need daily and play an essential role in helping our economy thrive.

Industries That Depend on Reliable Truck Drivers

  1. Food & Restaurants

Truck drivers are an integral part of both the grocery and restaurant industries due to the immediacy of delivery. In 2015 alone, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics noted that over 652 million tons of agricultural products, 704 million tons of foodstuffs, and 1.09 billion tons of cereal grains were shipped within the United States. Trucks delivered well over 75% of these products—for agricultural goods, they delivered 92% of all products. Even with the incorporation of refrigerated trucks, it is a difficult task getting perishable foods—especially imported foods like tropical fruits and vegetables—to their destination at the peak of freshness.

The introduction of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), paired with legislation for limited operation hours and mandatory rest breaks, also complicates the journey for drivers when delivering perishables. Grocers have to anticipate these delays in planning shipments that will put the freshest produce, meats, dairy, and other agricultural products on their shelves. Restauranteurs stagger their supply shipments throughout the week because of food spoilage and shortage, making truck drivers an essential part of keeping their doors open on a daily basis.

On the production side of things, a significant issue that has arisen in the past few years is a shortage of truck drivers on the road combined with these new regulations. For suppliers, the high demand for truckers drives up their shipping costs and complicates their lead time, as the food industry has to run a lean supply chain to minimize waste. To compensate, the pricing on their products rise to compensate for the deficit. The direct correlation of shipping and pricing reflects just how essential the trucking industry is to the economy.

  1. Construction

The building sector is booming at the moment, listed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as one of the fastest growing industries into 2020. This projected $1.2 trillion business expects continued growth in renewable energy, residential, and commercial construction. By extension, this industry relies on trucks to deliver any materials they need to complete their projects. From supplies like lumber, steel, hardware, and concrete to heavy machinery and portable buildings for temporary on-site offices, commercial truck drivers make these large-scale operations possible.

  1. Manufacturing & Retailsemi truck on highway

The manufacturing industry similarly depends on truck shipments to deliver supplies like fabric, wood, plastic, steel, automotive parts, components for electronics, and more. Since most manufacturers have tight deadlines due to the “just in time” production schedules that are typical in this industry, they need reliable truck drivers at the helm of shipping on both ends to ensure they can make their final products and get them to their buyers on time.

Retail, by extension, depends heavily on trucks to have sufficient inventory that meets consumer demand. Similar to the food industry, these stores try to keep a limited supply in stock to minimize waste, but if trucking companies are late or manufacturers can’t follow through because of delayed shipments of raw materials, then a short supply could mean lost revenue.

  1. Gas & Oil

Commercial truckers are a critical part of keeping the production side and distribution side of these industries running. From delivering loads of gas pipes and other equipment to refineries to shipping over 50% of the country’s fuel oil and gasoline to consumers across the country, the energy sector would not run nearly as efficiently without this essential shipping component.

Consider what happens, for example, when a gas shortage occurs. If it’s a pipeline issue that causes it, like with the damage done by Hurricane Sandy back in 2012, then trucks are how emergency equipment gets to the damage site to repair it. Trucks then have to transport gasoline longer distances to make up for the temporary deficit in supply. For gas and oil, truck drivers are an intrinsic part of the industry on a day-to-day basis as well as in times of crisis.


Commercial trucking is a high demand industry, but getting a job as a truck driver requires a Commercial Driver’s License. With proper training at the Hamrick School in Medina, OH, you will receive an accredited education from our experienced, knowledgeable instructors that will land to a job at a top freight company. For more information about our program, call (330) 239-2229 today.

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