What once took ten trucks, now takes twelve, thus leading to an increase of the cost of goods which of course is passed in part on to the consumer.
Enduring the bureaucratic and regulation-ridden work environment, U.S. truckers work tooth-and-nail to keep supply chains moving and on schedule. Because of regulatory interference, U.S. trucking outfits are among the few remaining industries that are still largely run and/or owned by mom-and-pop operations. According to the American Trucking Association, nearly 70 percent of all goods moved in the U.S. are transported on trucks. That comes to almost $670 billion in real, physical goods, from durable and manufactured goods, to finished parts for assembly, to consumer goods.
There are about 3.5 million truck drivers in the U.S., and of those, 1 in 9 are owner-operators. Trucking represents 84 percent of all commercial transport revenue, and 68 percent of all freight tonnage in America. Rail, on the other hand, makes up less than 6 percent of freight tonnage transport.
In 2009, $33.1 billion was paid by commercial trucks for federal and state highway taxes. It makes up roughly 5 percent of GDP, and 1 out of 13 private sector employees are involved in the trucking industry, not just drivers but office staff, warehouse, and engine and truck manufacturers. Go one step more and include accountants, attorneys, insurance companies, and other related services.
In spite of trucking’s importance to both consumers and producers, however, the State has been preying on trucking companies and seeking to squeeze truckers of their productivity. One recent example of this is the Hours of Service Rule. Introduced into the Federal Register in December 2011, some additional provisions were passed in July 2013 and trucking companies are now starting to feel the pinch. Some of the new updates include: limiting the maximum average work week for drivers to 70 hours, a decrease from the previous maximum of 82 hours. Also included are restrictions on night driving, a mandatory 34-consecutive-hour break after completing their 70 hours, and it requires truck drivers to take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift.