Murphy Legal Blog


Trucking: The Backbone of America

Murphy Legal | Trucking Industry News, From the Road | | View Counts (884) | Return

Have you ever taken a road trip and “counted trucks” with your kids to keep them occupied during the drive? Have you noticed how fascinated small children are by different types of trucks and what they do? We don’t have to look much further than out the car window, or at the package sitting on the front doorstep, to know how vital the trucking industry – and the truck drivers – are to our everyday lives.

Approximately 70% of freight is moved in the US by trucks, both in terms of weight and dollar value. For example, in July 2018, trucks moved $62.7 billion in freight between the U.S. and other North American countries such as Mexico and Canada while rail moved $14.4 billion of freight. Nearly $700 billion of goods are shipped by truck every year and are transported by more than 3.5 million truck drivers. The amount of goods that are moved by ship, pipeline, and air are all significantly less.

The different types of trucks we see on the roadways every day give a glimpse into the vast array of products transported by truck. These products range from food, medicine, textiles, petroleum products, building materials, to waste products. You’ve probably wondered, or had your children ask, where are all those trucks going? They’re going lots of places – to big cities, small towns, and rural areas – and everywhere in between. Trucking serves 80% of all U.S. communities. In fact, nearly every sector of the U.S. economy relies on trucks to transport their goods. Raw materials such as lumber, stone, and crude oil are transported to manufacturing centers or refineries and then to distribution centers or their final destination. Textiles are transported to different factories to be turned into and taken to retailers for the clothing you are wearing and furnishings in your home and workplace. The food in your pantry and fridge and the meals you buy from a fast-food chain or restaurant were brought from the farm to the market by trucks. Even the car you drive was transported by the trucking industry from the manufacturer to the dealership you purchased it from.

What many people don’t realize or stop to think about is that if the trucking industry were to disappear, the entire U.S. economy would screech to a halt rather quickly. Estimates are that, within 24 hours of a trucking shutdown due to natural disaster or other cause, several things will occur: delivery of medical supplies and medicine will stop and hospitals will run out of necessities; gas stations will run out of fuel, resulting in long lines or no gas at all; mail and package deliveries will stop; and, perhaps, most importantly, grocery stores will run out of food! (Anyone who has lived through one of the recent hurricanes which have affected the Gulf Coast or Texas can likely attest to all these scenarios!) Furthermore, when natural disasters do occur, the trucking industry falls among the ranks of the other first responders – collecting donations and transporting needed supplies to affected areas in need.  

Today, virtually everyone and every business – from your local mom-and-pop shop to the largest retail chains – depend on the trucking industry. It is truly the backbone of the U.S. economy, keeping us upright and moving forward.  Truck drivers and the loads they transport are vital to everyone’s health and well-being. Keeping those drivers safe and their rigs running smoothly is something we all depend on. 

At Murphy Legal, we know that even the best drivers sometimes need a helping hand. If you or your company is facing a legal claim due to a trucking accident, we are ready to defend you.  If you need assistance in an emergency, call our 24-Hour Emergency Hotline at 979-209-2173. To learn more about our passion for the trucking industry, call us at 979-690-0880 or visit the Murphy Legal website.

Be sure to check our Refuel blog series for additional resources and information about rig and driver safety. Click here to sign up for our newsletter covering a wide variety of topics to help protect owner-operators and trucking companies from liability in the event of an accident.



American Trucking Associations. Reports, trends, and statistics. [accessed 13-May-2019].

Freemont Contract Carriers. The importance of the trucking industry. Blog post [accessed 13-May-2019].

Trucking Moves American Forward. Movement key messages. [accessed 13-May-2019].

United States Department of Transportation. July 2018 North American freight numbers. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, BLS 46-18 [online]. 25-Sep-2018 [accessed 13-May-2019].