COVID-Essential: Trucks and Drivers

Trucks may not always be front and center in your attention, but they are ever present. It is hard to overstate just how central trucking is to the economy and our way of life.

While we imagine we are a country of farms and factories, as much as anything we are a nation of roads. On those roads are 3.6 million professional truck drivers with a supporting cast of nearly 8 million more pulling together.

Our state is one of 29 where “truck driver” is the most common job. Trucks are irreplaceable and necessary for other modes to function. Since this time last year, we should all have a greater understanding of and appreciation for logistics and supply chains. 80% of our communities depend exclusively on trucks for their lifeline.

Truck drivers annually move 72.5% of all freight hauled in the U.S., producing gross revenues of nearly $792 billion. This conjures images of an industry of giant companies, but trucking is the quintessential small-business industry. 91.3% of trucking companies operate no more than six units; 97.4% of fleets have 20 or fewer trucks. So, while you know the large ones by name and look, collectively the small fleets are what keeps every sector of our economy moving.

“Trucking” is really an eclectic mix of industries that depend on truck drivers. Every one of them share common values like dedication to being purposeful and efficient, but more importantly, safe. Highways are our offices, and we want them to be safe for everyone. Truck owners spend more than $10 billion annually in technology and training that go above and beyond what federal regulations require.

Safely connecting factories to ports, farms to supermarkets, and warehouses to our front porches - through all manner of uncontrollable and unpredictable challenges - is a big task. So is sharing public roads with non-professional drivers who all too often don’t respect a truck’s safety needs. Know that safety is a driver’s personal primary focus.

From the get-go of this whole COVID nightmare, they were deemed essential. In reality, they always have been.

Hat’s off to our truckers.

J. Richards Todd, President & CEO
South Carolina Trucking Association

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