Truck Drivers: The Backbone of Our Nation's Freedom
On July 4th, we celebrate our independence and freedom as Americans. But what does freedom mean? Sure, we could look to the First Amendment and talk about freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to assemble.... our general birthright as American citizens.
The most important U.S. Citizens to acknowledge for our freedom are the brave men and women of our military, for whom we are forever indebted.
But outside of the military, commercial truckers provide more freedom than one could imagine. Truck drivers are not only the backbone of the American way of life, but they ensure the American economy continues to be the world leader it is today. And it gives Americans the power to act without restraint, sometimes more than we appreciate.
Truckers are the foundation of our healthy and strong democracy.
Here are 10 ways truckers provide freedom in the U.S.A.:
1) The Freedom of Food
As long as we can afford it, we have the freedom to eat whatever we want, whenever we want. Well, unless you live in a place that cracks down on soda. But how do we get this food that shows up to our 4th of July BBQ, as well as every other day of the year?
Truckers, of course. We spend billions of dollars on groceries every year, and almost all of it is transported by truckers. If you're eating something right now, chances are it was delivered by a trucker.
Millions of pigs and chickens also rely on truckers to deliver feed to farms. Without truckers, these animals would die.
And if all truckers decided to go on strike right now, the country would have significant food shortages - enough to constitute a national emergency - in three days.
2) The Freedom to Drink Clean Water
Water treatment facilities depend on truckers to transport the equipment and chemicals needed to keep our water purified. The amount of chemical storage varies for each facility, but needless to say they would run out very quickly if truckers stopped delivering. Lack of clean drinking water would lead to illnesses, which brings us to our next one....
3) The Freedom of Healthcare
Regardless of your political stance on Obamacare, or the current replace / repeal of it in "Trumpcare," there is one thing not up for debate: Without truckers, the healthcare system would collapse almost immediately.
Both providers and consumers count on truckers to deliver everything from medications, basic supplies (i.e. syringes, catheters, gauze, etc.) and medical equipment on a daily basis. If truckers decided to stop working tomorrow, there would be a national healthcare emergency within hours.
4) The Freedom to Travel
Whether it's in the air, on a rail, or on a ship, the entire transportation sector revolves around trucking. Service stations require deliveries every 2.5 days. Railroads, boats and planes need trucks to load and unload cargo.
But most importantly, trucks provide fuel for everyone. And without fuel, the nation would be in chaos!
People wouldn't be able to drive to work, the grocery store to get food, the bank to get money, the doctor to get healthcare, etc. The mail system would shut down. Airports would shut down because planes would not be able to fuel up. Police and Fire Departments would not be able to operate, and... well, the list goes on. Thanks to truckers, we don't need to worry about it.
5) The Freedom to Wear Anything
Those awesome 4th of July threads you're wearing right now? They were delivered by a trucker. Most of the nation's retail stores depend heavily on truckers to deliver clothes "just-in-time" in order to keep inventory levels as low as possible.
And with the rise of e-commerce and online shopping, Americans are buying clothes faster than ever. Without truck drivers making these frequent deliveries, clothing retail stores would not be able to stay in business.
So thank a trucker for that patriotic outfit you're wearing this weekend!
6) The Freedom to Access Money
Does anyone remember when you had to go to a bank to get cash? (If you're younger than 25 and reading this, then maybe not!)
As Americans, we sometimes forget to appreciate that we can take money out of machines pretty much anywhere, 24/7. And who transports and replenishes our roughly 400,000 ATM's?
Truckers, of course.
Without trucks and armored vehicles transporting cash (as well as hard copies of financial documents), the banking industry, and our economy, would be paralyzed.
7) The Freedom to Live in Waste-Free Environments
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) estimates that Americans generate 236 million tons of HOUSEHOLD waste annually.
If truckers did not exist, Americans would literally be buried in garbage... with serious health and environmental consequences to follow.
Not to mention that waste processing centers run on loads of fuel, and guess who delivers that fuel to them on a daily basis? The trucking industry, of course.
8) The Freedom to Work
While manufacturing has declined in the United States in recent years, it still accounts for 12.3 million workers, or 9% of the total workforce.
Manufacturers contributed $2.17 trillion to the U.S. economy... and they rely heavily on truckers to transport goods within hours of assembly. Without truckers, these plants would develop component shortages within 24 hours.
This would lead to assembly lines being shut down, and millions of hard working Americans would be out of work... not to mention a devastating blow to the economy.
9) The Freedom to Learn
What greater freedom is there in our country than the freedom to learn new ideas? Beyond the initial construction, which of course relies heavily on trucks, schools and universities, both public and private, count on trucks to operate on a daily basis.
Food delivery to cafeterias, waste management and removal, and delivery of items such as textbooks, classroom furniture and school supplies are crucial to a school's daily operation.
Not to mention the fuel needed for school buses to operate is delivered to gas stations by -- you guessed it -- trucks.
10) The Freedom to Rebuild
After catastrophic events such as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy and many others, some of the first images shown after the events are often trucks driving through the streets, handing out supplies such as bottled water and food to locals.
When everyone else is driving out of town to safety, truck drivers are the ones driving in.
They are on the front lines delivering emergency goods and services while residents flee. Truckers are also responsible for the rehabilitation of these towns and cities; they deliver personnel and construction supplies for months afterwards to help rebuild the grief-stricken areas.
It would be inappropriate to not discuss the elephant in the room: Despite all the freedom they provide to us, our country has responded by taking away theirs through the ELD Mandate, which recently went into effect. These electronic logging devices record our nation's truckers every movement... an enormous invasion of privacy.
Next time you see a trucker, thank him or her for helping to keep our country free. And then contact your local representative and tell them to repeal the ELD Mandate!
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