ROLL ON, BIG MAMA

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By: Wayne Brown


EARLY BEGINNINGS


Most of us have heard the statement at one time or other, “America runs on the back of the trucking industry.” Coincidently, most of us have never given that statement very much thought until things like the price of fuel begin to escalate rapidly. Then, we see the prices on our retail shelves and suddenly the awareness that trucking plays in our everyday lives is a very real one. Trucking has a long history in America going back to the start of this country in one form or the other. Today, as much as 80% of the goods Americans consume move to the market place either totally or partially by truck. It is certainly an industry which bears understanding by the consumer.


From the early beginnings of this country, commerce has always moved in one way or another. Certainly the invention or discovery of the wheel can eventually be tied to the large trucks we see on our highways each day. The history of that industry is tied to the march of technology through time and has been driven rightfully so by the profit/motive system known as capitalism.


Once man came to his senses and discovered fire and the wheel, he began to look at ways to use those important discoveries in both improving his own life and also his own welfare. The wheel led to the development of the handcart which man used to move the goods he produced to a central market place. Initially, these goods were traded or bartered among men then the monetary system came along giving mankind the basis to buy and sell goods and services. Agricultural products made up the bulk of the items moved to market by handcart as societies of the times were mostly agrarian. With the advent of the handcart and the marketplace, man could partake of a wide variety of food staples which he did not have to grow himself.


As animals were domesticated, the carts grew larger first pulled by oxen and then later by a horse or team of horses. As the carts grew large so did the load and man began to discover the strain that heavier loads placed on the components of the cart. The wooden axles and wheels were prone to failure and man again faced the challenge of finding methods to reinforce these components to make them strong while at the same time attempting to keep the overall weight of the cart light. As time went, man found that he could heat and shape metal with fire thus creating an ability to reinforce wheels with steel outer rings. The same was true for adding metal plates to strategic points on the cart to reinforce its strength.


As larger carts pulled by oxen or horses became more common, so did the distances that man attempted to cover with his products in order to recoup the spoils of populations markets located further from him. Little by little man was developing a basic commerce model which is still existent today in its simplest form.





THE 1800’S


In America, things really picked up in the mid-1800 with the advent of the Civil War. Armies needed improved methods to move cannons and ammunition across battlefields. Stronger configurations emerged to fit those needs. As modern day space travel, the requirements of war tickled into the economy and improved the overall conditions in the aftermath of the struggle. Mankind benefited from the knowledge gained through the struggles of the war.


By the later 1800’s, both staples and passengers were traveling freely by wheeled carriages, wagons, buckboards, and stage coaches. The freight business had grown far more commercial with many freighter wagons running established routes over the same areas serviced by the stage lines. By this time, freight was being consolidated by brokers into full freight wagonloads bound for the same destination. Commerce between cities was common on both the wheeled vehicles and the steam engine locomotives operated by the railroads which had evolved across the country. While the rail was an effective method for shipping freight, it was slow and it did not have the flexibility to go into most communities that was offered by the freight wagons. Still, the two methods co-existed and complimented one another in the times.



THE 1900 – INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION


No doubt, the early work achieved on the invention of the automobile would do more to change the freight hauling business than anything else. Motorized cars made their appearance in the early 1900’s but were not so common place until a young man by the name of Henry Ford came up with methods which allowed mass production of the vehicles and made the affordable to a much greater share of the population. These early steps would set the tone for the development of heavier vehicles designed to handle the movement of freight. Still, this was a slower process due to the challenges and the freight wagons continued to do their work after the advent of the automobile.


Early on, these motorized vehicles had straight axles of steel and little or no suspension components. There was little to disperse the heavy freight load onto the vehicle frame thus early models of truck-like vehicles broke down easily under the stress of heavy loads. The wagon still seemed to be a more reliable and efficient platform.


As the 1900’s wore on, metal again showed it ability to bridge the gap as tempered leaf springs were developed which could be arranged in thick stacks to allow heavy loads to be suspended above them. Man was again using fire to temper and strengthen the metal for the task at hand. The advent of a dual tire configuration on the rear axle also allowed for more weight to be hauled without breakdowns. Soon the motorized truck was a reality and quite common on the roads in various areas of America.


The advance in this technology still did not satisfy mankind’s urge to make a profit. As vehicles became more capable and efficient, man eyed markets for their products which were further and further away. Man had developed the ability to moved goods on motorized platforms but now was penalized by the lack of roads and the poor quality of existing roads. If only the road system could be improved, then those far reaching markets could be a reality. The railroad was reaching those markets as rails had spanned much of America by this time. Those in the trucking industry or freight industry desired the same reach.


That desire would have to wait for most of the rest of the 1900’s. War seemed to take the focus in terms of priority within the USA. A depression in 1915 would stymie things for a while; then it was World War I, a struggle in which the logistics was still handled by both domesticated animals, especially mules, and mechanized vehicles. The war brought some progress in equipment technology but did not improve the conditions in terms of road infrastructure. A second depression would ensue after the stock market crash of 1929 further slowing progress in the U.S. economy. This era was followed closely by a second world war in the 1940’s keeping the focus on military action, stagnating domestic growth, and requiring the ration of products back at home to support the war effort. By the time the USA had completed World War II, trouble was brewing in Korea which again would lead to war being the primary focus into the early 1950’s.



IKE AND THE INTERSTATE


Dwight Eisenhower led America into the era of the 1950’s. Ike as he was fondly “called” had earned public admiration for his service as the commander of forces in WWII. As a result, the presidency of the country was awarded to him by American voters. Eisenhower succeeded Truman in the office of the President. Ike had a great appreciation for the industrial transformation which America had experienced largely due to the two world wars and Korea. He saw a growing American capability to produce goods and services and a population which capable of consuming much of that production. America was on the advent of a new era and Eisenhower saw the need for an interstate highway system to make it all possible. At the time, this task appeared to be beyond the capability of America and something only a dreamer would suggest. Eisenhower saw it through and made it a reality opening up markets coast to coast for service by the trucking industry.


During the time preceding the 1950’s growth, the over-the-road transport of goods had grown steadily and in a fashion that had caught the eye of the federal government. The railroad was lobbying for controls over trucking attempting to insulate itself against the competition. At the time, railroads were a very significant aspect of the American transportation system so the government was easily swayed to gain control over trucking. This control came about through the “Interstate Commerce Commission” which exercised control over the authority granted to freight truck shippers. If a trucking company was not granted any “authority” to haul, then it was extremely limited in the products and markets it could affect. Authority was granted by the ICC to haul specific goods over specific routes. These routes were then protected by that authority. Early on, some truck shippers achieved “general authority” and held a significant advantage in their ability to haul a broad range of goods over particular routes. Those without “authority” were relegated to hauling “exempt” products in limited markets. Typically, these exempt products were agricultural goods hauled in regional markets. With this configuration, the railroad was able to keep a strangle hold on the mainline freight business and keep the trucking industry in check in terms of growth. Roads had improved greatly and technology and produced equipment to carry those loads efficiently but bureaucracy was keeping the trucking business lucrative for only a small few who engaged in it.



DEREGULATION


This configuration continued in the industry until the later 70’s. At that time the top 100 truck line shippers in America controlled the vast bulk of the freight by truck business. At the same time, the railroad was driven to keep that number in check and thus challenged almost every request for authority which was filed anywhere in America. One trucking industry pioneer, Duane Acklie, described his early days in the business and demonstrated how bad the situation with the ICC and the railroad was for truckers. Mr. Acklie was not a trucker by trade as most in the business are. In fact, he was a lawyer who decided that he wanted to buy into the trucking business. Once in, he learned the harsh reality of the tight relationship between the ICC and the railroad. Mr. Acklie tells a story as to how he and partners wanted to gain authority to haul lard over a particular route. No matter how many times they applied or how much justification they showed, the railroad always filed opposition to the authority and the ICC always denied the request. Finally, in desperation, he and his partners came up with a way to demonstrate how the railroad was literally running the ICC. They filed a request for authority to haul yak fat rather than lard over the same route. Immediately, the railroad filed formal opposition and claimed that it would undermine the railroad’s ability to service the yak fat industry in that area. The ICC concurred and denied the authority. Acklie and his partners had the last laugh in that there was no “yak fat” industry in America at the time. The ICC and the railroad had egg on their faces.


Situations such as Acklie’s set the stage to petition Congress for deregulation in the trucking industry and in 1980 that deregulation was granted. The established portion of the industry which controlled most of the existing authority worked with the railroad in opposing this deregulation. Those who hauled exempted commodities with little or no authority supported the change and had nothing to lose in the process, especially if the doors were opened wide. In the end, Congress approved the legislation and deregulated the trucking industry and in the process also got rid of the ICC passing supervision of the trucking industry to a newly created Department of Transportation (DOT).


Under the new regulations, there was no longer any “granted authority”. If an individual owned a truck, they were free to solicit business across the country as long as they were in compliance with federal safety requirements for that sector of the industry and in accordance with any applicable state laws. The process had been greatly simplified much to the chagrin and disappointment of the established trucking industry and the railroad. Those elements had everything to lose in this change.


Those who, at the time, were the church mice of the trucking industry, the exempt commodity haulers, were elated. The world had opened up for them with a level of opportunity they could only have dreamed up a few years before. Suddenly the Duane Acklie’s of the freight business were positioned to achieve the success they desired. Acklie began to grow his business as fast as he could either acquire other fleets or buy equipment. Others followed suit. This move would lead to the development of fleets like Swift, J. B Hunt, Knight Transportation, Consolidated Freighters, C.R. England and hundreds more. Over the next ten years growth would be steady and the face of the business would change. By 1990, the top 100 fleets which had dominated the truck freight business with their control of operating authority were almost all out of business. Most of them had either sold out or gone bankrupt not knowing how to operate in a now competitive environment without the protection of the government or the railroad. The 1990’s became an era of outrageous growth in the trucking industry with a majority of the companies limited only by the number of drivers they were able to place in the seats of units. This trend would continue for the decade and be enhanced to an even larger degree by the passage of the North America Free Trade Act which allowed for movement of goods across both the Mexican and Canadian borders between countries.


Though the railroad seemed relegated to a second seat by the deregulation in the trucking industry, that situation would be short-lived. Though the railroad had controlled a significant portion of the freight business, the infrastructure of the railroad had crumbled and service to smaller towns was no longer profitable. In some ways, the railroad was its own worst enemy. Through investment and improvement, this trend would begin to shift and the railroad would ironically become an operating partner moving in harmony with the trucking industry as opposed to against it. The advent of “intermodal” shipping would create a marriage between the trucking industry and the railroad which served both profitably while also providing efficiency to the shipper. In select locations, the trucking industry would now move trailer loads of freight to the railhead where it would be positioned on train cars to be shipped across the country. At the destination, the trailers would then be moved by truck to their final destination. This cooperative effort created business for the railroad and actually freed up trucking equipment to respond to the growing freight load in America in the 1990’s.



TRUCKING TODAY


The trucking industry of today continues to thrive and grow in America. There are still challenges and consideration as there are in most any business. The price of fossil fuels is significant in the industry with diesel fuel prices which have in the past at times reached $5 per gallon. At one point, there were estimates which predicted that every time the price of fuel went up 10cents, another 1000 entities left the trucking business. Fuel prices bring very tough challenges to remain competitive and in the business. At the same time, the up side is that it creates a desire in these companies to look for fuel efficient measures including low rolling resistance tires, advanced aerodynamics, supplemental idling systems, computer controlled engines, auto-shift transmissions, as well as alternative fuel engines designed to burn a mixture of diesel fuel and natural gas. Technology is in high demand and advancing rapidly in the industry not only with truck manufacturers but also with those who build replacement components. A significant portion of the support to the trucking industry today is “green” and getting “greener” all the time.


Fleets are also changing their business model. For the decade of the 1990’s and 2000’s, the limiting factor in the trucking industry was the availability of qualified personnel to drive the units. In the long-haul, truckload sector of the business, fleets were constantly evolving promotional and motivational programs designed to attract new drivers and keep the fleet in growth mode. Still, the reality of this sector of the business is that it is a hard and demanding life style that leaves little or no room for a personal life or family. No matter what most fleets attempted, the results came out the same, too few drivers and too many units parked for lack of drivers.


With the cost of fuel and the limitation of drivers for long haul routes, the trucking industry is indeed changing its game face. Companies are rapidly moving to operating models which allow units to operate in regional short-haul and dedicated modes which allow the driver to be out for short periods and then back home. Coast to coast service is still achieved by handing the loads off between regional terminals and moving them in corridors or by intermodal railway to their final destination. Companies have reported great success with this model in terms of both driver retention and job satisfaction.



THE FUTURE


Technology will continue to evolve in the trucking industry through open market competition all set up by the advent of deregulation in the industry some 30 years ago. As companies strive for competitive edges, advancements are made both on the environmental side of the coin and on the progress toward alternative fuel technology. In that process, safety also continues to evolve with the addition of driver alerting devices in the cab, the ability to track the unit in real time, ABS braking systems on all wheel positions, tire pressure monitoring and air systems, proximity warning and control devices along with better trained driver personnel who are ever-mindful of public safety and their role in it.


Somewhere in the future, freight may move from point A to point B on an invisible column of air pushed along by hydrogen generators run entirely on tap water. Regardless, it will at its heart still be the freight business operating with the same desires…moving the product to market and earning a profit in the process. God Bless America.



©Copyright WBrown2011. All Rights Reserved.


10/11/2011


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Comments 24 comments

vrajavala profile image

vrajavala 5 years ago from Port St. Lucie

I heard that ,since Mexican truckers are traveling the roads and are not contributing to their upkeep, that roads are suffering quite a bit.

Nice hib lots of history.


Arlene V. Poma 5 years ago

Trucking has been a part of my life. I've had family members who drove trucks. I used to hang out at the local truck stop when my ex worked there before he became the ex. I still know those trucking companies and watch for their trucks whenever I'm driving. I don't know where we'd be without the trucking industry. Voted up, interesting and AWESOME.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

WB - I think about this all the time! First - I have to tell you when I saw the title - ithpught you were talking to me:) lol. My brother in law is an OTR and I live smack between highways 40 and 70. I also use 44 quite a bit. When I was a kid - oh about 10 - living in the sticks - the only highway near was HWY 30 and I'd entertain myself by talking to the truckers on my walkie talkie:) lmao! I lived in the woods - literally - and sometimes my parents were glad I had that walkie talkie - if it snowed - I'd get on and ask how the roads were so the major would know if he should try to drive to the highway or not.

I have to say - if there is an invisible column of air moving our freight - it sure would make less traffic for me. There's just something nostalgic about the trucking industry to me - makes me think about my childhood and all the fun I had with my walkie talkie:)


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Hello Mr. Wayne,

that second last sentence: "Regardless, it will at its heart still be the freight business operating with the same desires…moving the product to market and earning a profit in the process", had a romantic feel to it (for me). I do not intend in getting into a long debate about socio-economic systems but do you not think that at some point in the existence of humans, we could move past "profit"? To a different system of some kind - I have nothing in specific in mind.

Now, on trucking ... I am not too happy with it because I think it does a lot of damage to the roads, environment, etc. Here in Canada for example, there are tons of trucks - we hardly have any railway so, it's mostly all trucks. The highways are full of them too - I sometimes wonder about the space alone that would be freed-up if we had more trains and rail (as I sit in gridlock ...).

I do like the eighteen-wheelers though. Some of them are pretty cool - this is the driver side of me talking lol. I do love to drive, perhaps my worst hobby ...

Thanks for the write, cheers! Keep on truckin'!


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@vrajavala...Luckily there are not too many. Most of them cannot meet the safety standards and the few good ones are slow to come up with a plan. Obama has opened it up even more but the major activity remains in the trailer exchange at the borders. Few USA truckers actually go into Mexico. The loads are pulled to the other side by Mexican contractors. Thanks much. WB

@Arlene V. Poma...I have only been in an industry associated with it from a supply standpoint but it helps in my line of work to understand the history and functionality of the industry. WB

I have a nostalgia for it as well. I think it goes hand in hand with the old west...drifting cowboys...no roots except the next horizon. There's a certain romance there for many people. I always said that if my second wife divorced me, I might have to give it a go! LOL! WB

@Mr.Happy...Perhaps when we all get rich the time will finally come when "profit" is not a deciding factor. There are some down sides to feeding the supply chain. The wear and tear on the roads is certainly one. Down here in the States each tractor/trailer rig pays about $4500 a year in road taxes so I am sure many of those companies feel they are contributing. Unfortunately, like so many things down here, those funds end up getting spent in other areas and the roads end up waiting. Up in your region, you have to contend with frost line damage which is much more damaging to the road surface. We see that just in the differences between highways in the north and south here in the states. Oklahoma suffers much more damage than Texas due to the winter weather factors. The NAFTA traffic flow has at times turned Interstate 35 south of DFW into a slow moving parking lot. There is a proposal on the table to build a complete separate road system through that region of Texas just for the truck flow to Laredo. Laredo does five + times the cross border business of all the other Mexican stations added together so you can imagine the traffic flow. Luckily we have some good alternative roads here in Texas to accomodate us on our trips south. I've had the opportunity to sit behind the wheel of a few 18 wheelers for various proposes...quite an experience that only adds to the romance of the profession. Unfortunately, there is a reality as well! LOL! Thanks much! WB


CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 5 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

These guys are really the backbone of this country...another reason why we must become independent from foreign oil...we need to get fuel prices back down, to keep inflation down...the more these guys pay for fuel, it is passed on to us the consumer...

especailly the price on Yak fat....Lord knows I pay enough for that as it is!!...lol

a very interesting hub, once again Wayne...

Up and across the board...


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

Thanks for a very interesting Hub. I learned a lot and other items piqued my memory. We all must respect this industry more. I like this Wayne.


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Hello again Mr. Wayne,

thank you for responding to my comment. It is funny how close we are - in the fact that we can respond to each other's comments in a matter of minutes yet we are so far and live such different life-styles.

I remember seeing footage on the news or perhaps a documentary about the border between you guys and Mexico. It's ridiculous the amount of vehicles and people that cross each day ... I was baffled when I saw the volume: rows and rows of cars, trucks, etc; on a constant basis. I think borders are imaginary lines which we invented and I actually think they are pretty crazy. In some parts of the world borders have separated communities, towns and so on.

Anyway, up here the border seems a little calmer. I have crossed it a few times - no big deal although, that was before '01. I don't know how it is now - I hear your government wants to build a fence on our side too ...

Your comment about trucks having to pay "road taxes" ... is that on top of the tolls you guys have? I do not fully understand this because we don't really have tolls here. There is one private highway but that's like the black sheep in the herd.

The idea about a specific road built for truckers might be a good idea too. Our highways here are simply packed with eighteen-wheelers and like you said, due to the extreme cold temperatures the roads are already puffing-up and cracking. Adding heavy trucks to the mixture just adds to the problem. For drivers here (at least in Toronto), there are two seasons: winter-season and construction season ... it's a pain all year-round lol.

I wonder if someone can't invent a longer-lasting asphalt? (There's a question for the bright chemist minds out there.)

Thank you for the conversation Mr. Wayne - I appreciate it.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

Thanks to you, Wayne, I am now less trucking-education-challenged than previously. In your honor, here is my favorite 'truck' quote: “He who runs behind truck is exhausted, he who runs in front of truck is tired.” :)


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@CMerritt...Yes, yak fat is over the top now, Chris...got to do something about that. It's George Bush's fault! LOL! For sure this is an industry that makes America work and gives us the opportunity of choice on our retail shelves. WB

@Hypenbird...It's always good when we learn something in the process, huh? Thanks much! WB

@Mr. Happy...I lived in Washington State for a few years near Seattle. Frost line issues were abundant there. The state kept truck traffic off of secondary roads at certain times due to it. Their weight considerations for trucks was set by cross-section width dispersement and limited by the nominal width of the tire in order to reduce and control footprint pressures on asphalt. Two things I doubt they will ever perfect...asphalt and concrete...both have their traits! LOL! It is good that we can trade ideas quickly across so many, many miles...it of the many great things about the Hub. Thanks Mr. Happy. WB

@drbj...Hello Doc! Your points are well taken. Brings to mind the old Confusius saying, "Man who have intimate relations in pantry soon get butt in jam." That Confusius..he was a riot! You should interview him! WB


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

This is one of the primary reason that we must have oil. Without it, the trucks, trains, ships and farm machines would all stop and we would begin to starve within a week.

Great Hub, Wayne!


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@WillStarr...Some of these folks just don't get that point, Will...they think this stuff just appears magically and is probably provided by the government. WB


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 5 years ago

Wow, what an interesting comment one of your followers made...moving past profit.. I think that perhaps thy have much in common with those people sleeping all over Wall Street. Up interesting and awesome.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@breakfastpop...As bad as it sounds to some, profit motive is the magic which stimulates the creative of the American mind in such a manner as to provide us with goods and service of a superior nature and allow us, the consuming public, the opportunity for choice in our selection process. That is the beauty of a system awash in capitalism and democracy. Thanks Poppy! WB


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Mr. Wayne,

I read the comment Breakfastpop left and your response about profit. I wanted to respond but I felt that my response would not really have much to do with the blog you have written here and so I gathered my thoughts together and I posted them just now into a blog of my own (so I don't change the nature of your comments here, I liked this blog the way it is) - just some questions regarding profit and such: http://hubpages.com/business/On-Profit-Some-Questi...

If you have time, or Breakfastpop ... or anyone else for that matter - I would welcome anyone's opinion. For that is all we really do have: each our own opinions.

Cheers!


Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

WB - This was very interesting . . . and not just because of my truckstop - Ha! We study the 5 themes of geography with 4th graders. Movement is one of the themes -- which includes how people, goods, information, and ideas move place to place. An importanct concept we learn with Movement is Interdependence - or how people depend on one another to meet their needs and wants. You are a great teacher, and your hub illustrates and honors a vital industry. Kiddos these days understand the immediate transfer of knowledge (via the internet, TV, radio, etc), but they are less aware of trucking and shipping and the time, effort, and materials needed for each. I look forward to sharing your hub with them! Instead of trying to sneak in front of 18-wheeelers causing near accidents -- we need to respect the drivers and their important loads.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@Mr. Happy...Thanks for the info...I will follow the link and check it out. I will also let Breakfastpop know. Thanks. WB


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@Truckstop Sally...Glad that I could produce something of educational value for a change! LOL! It is a very important link in our economic functionality which we seem to often take for granted. If the trucks top rolling our country would fall into chaos in a relatively short period of time. We hae much to be thankful for in America and our trucking industry is certainly one of the more important elements. WB


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas

What a thorough article on the history of trucking! A lot of work went into this. When we stop and think also of the time with family that truckers give up, we have to really appreciate them. My mother's 2nd husband was a trucker and she only saw him on the weekends.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@homesteadbound...Thank you. I have become quite familiar with many aspects of this business out of necessity in my own business over the years. I find it an advantage to historical understand how things evolved. You are correct on the loss of family time...it takes a toll on many families in this industry. WB


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 5 years ago from Arizona

Wayne, a great educational hub, well written and laid out. I had to wet my feet as driving a rig was a had to do on my list, hated every single day of a 3 year lease, and the deregulation knocked a good chunk out of an owner operators pay, the money was good until 80 and 81 as I remember, great hub,

dust


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@50 Caliber...The shortage of drivers in the 1990's caused a re-emergence of the Owner/Op who damn near died out in the 80's. Those who have a decent business head are surviving now but they have to work hard at it every day and be very careful who they broker with in the process. Fuel costs over the past three years have pushed many others off the cliff. There for a while, every time the price of diesel went up 10 cents, another 1000 operators (single owners) dropped out of the business. The entire face of the industry is changing today in light of new CDL safety regulations and company reconfigurations to reduce the demand so long-haul. Now, the driver must accomplish his day in 14 hours and only 10 of those hours can be driving hours. Then there must be 10 hours of uninterrupted rest. Basically a single driver rig earns all its income (legally) on about 44% of its available time. The other 56% of the time, it is either sitting to load or unload, or illegal in terms of the driver day. Thanks Dusty, I appreciate the good words. WB


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 5 years ago

Great researched Hub on the trucking industry Wayne. As you know I was an 18 wheeler myself. I drove my first rig as an owner operator back in 1976 thru to 79. I had a 318 screaming jimmy, 13 speed. White western star, conventional and my handle was Phantom 309. I hauled the northern roads of Canada, hauling steel to Hydro Dam sites being built. I left the industry until 2000 never knowing I would re-enter the industry. It had completely changed. Fully automatic rigs, no clutch, just a fuel pedal, brake and a console that had D,N,R,Low and High.

Talk about pulling up and down mountains with 80,0000 lb payloads, no effort at all. I never thought I would see the day I would not be shifting gears. Your right about the cost factors, many owner operators were forced to park their rigs. Also now due to the baby boomers retiring, trucking companies are having difficulty attracting younger people into the industry. They have to become very creative, e.g. shorter time away from family, more short hauls and turnarounds.

Better pay for sure, people are finally starting to understand the huge responsibility that drivers have behind the wheel of a big rig and pulling all types of trailers. Regulation has stifled the industry, to much red tape and log interventions have pushed drivers to quitting, fed up with the paperwork and huge unnecessary delays at border crossings. Heck Wayne I can go on and on, I will stop here. I loved your history and the video to....fantastic job. Roll on big mama, roll on...we need drivers, for without them the economy would grind to a halt, could you imagine if every truck in the country shut down for 24 hrs. Wow....it would be critical..


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@saddlerider1...No doubt about it, Ken. Those trucks we see on the road every day make up the conveyor belt of our economic engine. If they stop the product line that feeds, clothes, and houses us stops as well. It is an absolutely critical function to our well-being and our ability to have a selection to choose from. Thanks much for sharing some of your personal experience in the industry. WB

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