Transportation of materials has been needed throughout world history; the Roman Empire built enormous routes that allowed food and supplies to be moved easily to their armies, and the Silk Road was vital to the development of trade throughout Europe and Asia. In early American history, goods were moved by horse-drawn covered wagons. Transportation has evolved as the way of human life changed. Overtime, it has become central to the expansion of the world’s greatest civilizations.
Eventually, the trucking industry in America evolved into an enormous enterprise. It has affected the political and economic status of the nation, since it began in the early 1900s. It has shaped the growth of the United States and continues to be a front-runner in our prosperity today. Without trucking companies and their drivers, the proper goods would not reach the places that the country needs them to be. Freight is moving across the nation from Anchorage to Miami at unbelievable paces; without trucking, the things we rely on every day would not be there. So that got us thinking, when and how did trucking begin? For an industry that has done so much for the growth of our species, we don’t know a lot about its history.
Now that transportation is a nearly trillion-dollar industry in the U.S., there are trucks moving everywhere, day and night. That has created an increase of trucking accidents throughout the country. In the dense population of west Florida, there has been an even larger increase in these crashes. If you need accident lawyers in Miami FL , check Brais Law for the best injury lawyers in Florida.
The World Wars
Before trucks became our main source of transporting goods around the country, trains held the responsibility. Trains were good for long distances and carried a large amount of freight with them, but as more roads began to be paved, we needed something quicker and more convenient. The trucks that delivered goods in the early 1900s were awful. They were made with solid rubber tires that created an extremely rough ride, and they were no bigger than today’s average pick-up. It would take months to get from one corner of the country to the other, and due to the rough ride, many things would arrive broken or spoiled. This was the beginning of trucks in the United States.
Before 1914, trucks were growing in numbers. Though they were only in urban cities, there were around 100,000 trucks nationwide. In 1914, World War I began. It was a horrific time in American history, but it did change the trucking industry for the better. Before the war, there were less than 15,000 miles of paved roads in the entire country. Not to mention, electric headlights wouldn’t be installed on trucks until the 20s, so they didn’t operate at night.
On the battlefronts, trucks were used extensively by the military to transport weapons and ammo around the states. The U.S. government began paving more roads during this time in order to move that military equipment even faster. Back at home, after the first World War ended in 1918, those paved roads, that the government spent $75 million on, were used to deliver goods. That marked the first large expansion of the trucking industry since the invention of the internal combustion engine. World War II (1939-1945) brought more of the same. There was an increasing need to get supplies and soldiers to different parts of the country, so more roads were set in. Though both wars caused a great deal of pain and suffering, the trucking and transportation industry would not be what it is today without those bloody times.
The Invention of the ATA
In 1933, there were two corporations that were overseeing the trucking industry. Like everything in life, the industry needed to be regulated for safety and efficiency. The American Highway Freight Association and the Federation Trucking Associations of America met to discuss the industry’s needs. They needed a fair code and set of regulations that all trucking companies were required to follow. That meeting of the minds initiated the organizations to join forces. The two companies merged and created the American Trucking Association, which lives on 87 years later.
Throughout its history, the ATA has been leading the trucking world to a better future. The goal is to continue to develop the industry and create the simplest way for freight to be moved throughout the country. Without the ATA, the trucking industry in America would be stuck in the past.
The Eisenhower Interstate System
The Federal Aid Road Act of 1916 began the effort to construct national passages that could bring a connected grid to the entire country. In 1953, Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected President of the United States and continued that effort. That same year, his administration proposed the development of an interstate highway system, something that would change America forever.
The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 was accepted by legislature and began its construction. The goal was growth. Our country was stuck and needed safe highways to accommodate the growing population that America was facing. This act wasn’t simply a response to military need; it was a stepping stone to build the American economy.
Today, expansions of the Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways are happening annually. As more people flock to the United States, the need for extra highways continues to grow. The interstate system now runs through all 50 states and is nearly 47,000 miles of road.
The Glory Days
After the Interstate System was built in the 1950s, the trucking industry grew rapidly. Now that major cities were connected through an easy to navigate set of roads, goods were flying in and out of the states. In the 60s and 70s, trucking exploded. Movies and pop culture references gave truckers an identity and began their movement into the public eye. Then, large department stores began to pop up all over the country. Places like Macy’s, Hudson’s and JC Penney needed to get merchandise shipped from plants to store branches. The need for more trucks continued to rise in the 1980s, when enormous corporations like Walmart and Target began using trucks to deliver freight. By 2000, the trucking industry made up more than 65% of all freight moved in the U.S.
The Future of Trucking
In the past twenty years, the trucking business has faced numerous obstacles. As people began to realize what the transportation industry was doing to our environment, there was a need to make efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly trucks. Today, they face a shortage of drivers compared to the amount of cargo that needs to be shipped. The long hours, uncomfortable seats, unhealthy lifestyle, and uncompetitive pay have created a negative stigma about the job.
The trucking industry is working on solving these problems as we speak. Companies like Tesla have created all-electric semi-trucks that have ranges of 500 plus miles per charge. These trucks seem to be the future of the industry, as they attempt to shy away from harmful vehicle emissions. To battle the driver shortage, trucking companies have turned to women. For the entirety of its history, the trucking industry has been made up of bearded men that chew tobacco and wear flannels. However, as the need for drivers is increasing daily, companies have focused their recruiting efforts on women. Already, women have proven themselves in the industry and look to be the future truck drivers of America.
Having graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Engineering from Massachusetts Maritime Academy, acquired three U.S. Coast Guard licenses and worked on offshore oil drilling platforms for more than seven years, Keith S. Brais brings an uncommon degree of real world experience to clients’ personal injury and wrongful death claims. His unique maritime education and experience, combined with his professional legal expertise and trial skills provide invaluable benefit to clients when describing the dangers associated with maritime employment to a judge or jury. Keith S. Brais is one of a very specialized group of lawyers in the State of Florida that is Board Certified in Maritime and Admiralty Law by the Florida Bar. Additionally, Keith S. Brais holds an “AV” rating from the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, the highest rating attainable.