How Important is the Trucking Industry?

Our economy flourishes because of truck drivers. From healthcare supplies to food transportation, the trucking industry quietly supports our everyday lives in ways that we don’t often consider. If the trucking industry stopped our economy and quality of life would plummet rapidly.

Ten billion tons of product is consumed annually. About 65% of this freight is transported by the trucking industry. That’s just in America. As a country, we participate in international trade, and our truck drivers commute 67% of these commodities as well.

What Would Happen if the Trucking Industry Stopped?

It would only take just four weeks for the nation to feel the effects if the trucking industry stopped. Here’s a timeline to articulate its importance.

The First 24 Hours

  • Mail delivery will stop.
  • Gas and service stations will begin to run out of fuel.
  • Hospitals will run out of basic supplies.
  • Any manufacturer that relies on drop shipment will experience shortages.
  • Some pharmaceuticals will expire.

After One Day

  • Fuel prices will soar because of shortages.
  • Wait times at fuel pumps will increase.
  • Some food industries will experience deficiencies.
  • Assembly lines without the necessary components for completion will have to shut down meaning people are out of work.

After 72 Hours

  • Cash will run out at ATMs.
  • Without cash, banks won’t be able to process customer transactions.
  • Most service and gas stations will completely run out of fuel.
  • Waste will pile up from lack of waste removal services.
  • Food shortages will escalate.
  • Railroad transport won’t be able to pick up the slack because shipping containers will pile up and block the railroad.

After One Week

  • Vehicle travel will cease due to running out of fuel.
  • Without gas, people won’t be able to get food, go to work, or obtain medical care.
  • Hospitals will start to run out of oxygen supplies necessary to help patients.

After Two Weeks

As a nation, we will start to see a dwindle in clean water.

After Four Weeks

The clean water supply will run out. Safely drinking water will require boiling. A method such as this would cause digestive issues and increase illness which the hospitals can no longer treat or support due to supply shortages.

The Impact of Trucking by Industry


The most significant issues with food are the number of perishable items that will quickly dwindle if the trucking industry stopped altogether. Trucks supply a lot of food to both larger and small stores. Without regular shipments, the smaller stores would feel the impact first. The next area that would take a hit is the clean water supply. Facilities rely on chlorine to keep our water drinkable. Trucks deliver these cylinders to water treatment plants every seven to fourteen days. Failure to provide the necessary chlorine would mean a single plant could run out of water in as little as two weeks.


The healthcare system and providers rely heavily on truckers to bring supplies. Most hospitals and offices participate in a “just-in-time” inventory. That means medical professionals order syringes, catheters, bandages, and other necessary materials as needed. Without trucking, patients wouldn’t receive the required care. At a local level, the number of medical supplies on hand wouldn’t support a medical emergency. The U.S. Health and Human Services have a contingency plan if an event like this unfolds, but the success of the strategy requires truckers to make the delivery. But, it’s not just hospitals. Nursing homes and pharmacies won’t have the supplies needed to provide adequate care. People with diabetes, heart conditions or severe allergies wouldn’t have the medications to stay healthy.


Trucks move fuel to service stations. Some of the busiest stations sell between 200,000 to 300,000 gallons a month. Keeping up with that demand requires multiple pit stops per day. The average station would need delivery every 2.5 days. Without access to gas, people can’t get to work, buy food, or gain access to healthcare. But, it’s not just cars that need fuel. About 80% of the fuel delivered is consumed by airplanes. Cargo transported by air would be grounded. Trains wouldn’t be able to run, and as we previously mentioned containers would pile up blocking railroad access.

Waste Removal

The national average for waste in America is 236 million tons. Just keep in mind, this number excludes commercial waste products. Trucks don’t just move residential waste. Hazardous materials that need proper disposal rely on truck drivers for effective control. People living in urban areas could be piled under their trash within a matter of days. Numerous health risks present themselves when you live on top of decomposition. Overripe fruits, vegetables, and animal byproducts are breeding grounds for disease.


Even with a lot of access to electronic currency, we still rely on cash as a form of legal tender. It’s been reported that JP Morgan Chase has upwards of 6,000 ATMs across the nation. As one of the second largest consumer banks in the States, they need delivery every two to three days to keep up with demand. Small and medium-sized businesses would feel the effects because they rely on deliveries for collection. Without cash on location banks can’t process paychecks or complete other transactions.

Truck Driving Opportunities

The trucking industry supports Americans and the backbone of this country. Becoming a truck driver means you are supporting one of the U.S.’s most allies to a healthy economy. If you’re interested in joining the Beacon Transport team click here to become a truck driver.  

Beacon Transport is a truckload carrier company based in Nashville, TN that specializes in hauling non-hazardous dry freight throughout the Southeast, Midwest and Southwest.