The trucking industry has had its share of ups and downs, but 21st century trucking really draws its roots from the critical 20th century developments – the most prominent of which was the deregulation of the transportation and Interstate Highway System. Since the trucking deregulation, businesses that moved items from manufacturers to customers were forced to move products faster, heightening the competition.
Despite the numerous challenges they face, such as traffic congestion, shortage of drivers, and security issues, truckers find ways to deliver the goods safely and efficiently.
The Development of the Interstate Highway
The Interstate Highway System started 61 years ago during the Eisenhower Administration. The highway system faced lane and grade separation, with no traffic lights and with at least four lanes. The federal government shouldered 90% of the cost and the states paid for the balance. Today, the highway system accounts for nearly a third of the National Highway System, which services the majority of heavy trucks.
The trucking sector has undergone a series of regulations and deregulations. During the 1930s, for instance, the government regulated the industry due to the excessive competition that characterized the Great Depression.
Warner Truck Centers, a local truck provider, believes that deregulation changed trucking systems drastically and the industry has evolved since then. The Motor Carrier Act of 1980 deregulated the trucking industry to increase the number of trucks in operation. The workforce faced de-unionization, which led to lower pay for the drivers.
It was during this era that trucking slid out of the spotlight. Due to more truck drivers and motor carriers, closeness and camaraderie lessened. Deregulation, however, raised the competitiveness of logistics businesses, in effect, increasing productivity and profitability.
By 2006, over 26 million trucks drove through America’s roads, hauling more than 10 billion short tons of freight. A number of automobile drivers were unfamiliar with these trucks, leading to accidents. Still, with the onset of technology, trucking services continued to improve for their customers.
Trucking has come a long way since its humble beginnings. The industry’s continuous development brings a brighter outlook to and helps companies achieve their targets quicker and more efficiently.