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 miliary, 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 eight 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. 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. 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. 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. 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? 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.
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 goes into effect in December 2017. These electronic logging devices will record our nation's truckers every movement... an enormous invasion of privacy. They will allow both employers and government officials to track drivers during off hours, and there is no agreement that the data won't be passed over to law enforcement.
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!
Owner Operator Direct is a commercial trucking insurance community that provides trucker news, along with regular updates regarding the latest regulations in the trucker community. If you think you're paying too much for truck insurance and not getting the right coverage, it's worth asking for a quote.