5 Things You Didn't Know About Trucking

Anna Kleiner
Trucking is a huge industry in the United States—and one that a lot of us rely on to get the goods and services we need every day. In honor of National Driver Appreciation Week, here’s 5 things you didn’t know about trucking.

1. More than 80% of American communities depend on trucks for delivery.

Need groceries? New shoes? Ordering books online?

All of the above can be delivered by truck—and probably were delivered by truck. Whether you’re shopping in-person or online, the things you order have to be packaged, shipped, and delivered from the distributor to your doorstep.

That’s where trucking comes in. For more than 80% of the United States, trucking is THE way to get their goods and commodities. This is especially true for rural communities, who may not have a local airport or train station.

2. Truck driving is one of the top 10 most dangerous jobs in America.1

It’s not just because of the potential for accidents. Driving can be high-stress and often lonely, with drivers staying at the wheel for long hours each day. There’s often limited time to exercise and limited options for healthy meals on the road. The number of hours they drive—and when they drive—make it very difficult for drivers to see a doctor when they need to.

The risk inherent to trucking is one of the reasons commercial driving is so highly regulated by the Department of Transportation—and why those regulations2 are updated so frequently.

3. Trucking includes more than just semi-trailers.

When you picture a truck driver, you probably see a giant semi-trailer. Long haul drivers are an extremely important role in trucking, but they’re also not the only type of trucker out there. Your school bus driver, mailman, FedEx delivery person, and even tow truck driver all work in trucking, too. What type of trucker they are depends on a wide variety of factors, including:

  • what they’re driving
  • where they’re going
  • where they drive
  • how much they drive
  • who they drive

4. 15% of American employees work in trucking.3

To put it another way: that’s 1 in 7 American jobs. Not everyone who works in trucking is a driver, but they’re all focused on the same goal: safe, fast delivery of things you use every day. Trucking is a big part of the American economy—and has a big impact on a lot of other industries.

5. Truckers can drive up to 3000 miles a week.

How much a driver drives per day depends on a variety of factors, and we don’t mean just the weather. Many companies require drivers to drive under a certain speed limit, such as 65 miles per hour, even if the posted speed limit is higher. Drivers can’t go too far under the limit or they get scrutinized. By federal law, they also can’t drive more than a certain number of hours a day.4 It’s these two factors that decide how many miles a driver can travel per week.

[1] The Most Dangerous Jobs in America. Time. May 13, 2016.  
[2] 10 Things Drivers Need to Know about the New DOT Regulations. Concentra.com. December 22, 2017.
[3] Truck Drivers in the US: Employment and Haul Statistics. AllTrucking.com. 
[4] Interstate Truck Driver's Guide to Hours of Service. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.