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History of the Trucking Industry

The trucking industry is a vital part of America's economy. Over 70% of all freight that is moved in America is moved by trucks. There are more than 3.5 million truck drivers that can be seen on roadways all across the US, but it wasn't always this way. Here is a brief history of the trucking industry.

The First Trucks

In the early 1900's, the truck was more of a modernized wagon with the motor and other machinery positioned below the driver's seat. The trucks rode on solid rubber tires, and the drive was rough because most roads were not paved. Most of the delivery trucks only traveled in and around larger areas, and delivery was very slow.

In 1912, electric running lights were added to trucks to allow them to drive at night. By the 1920's the semi-trailer was first used and quickly became a way to transport cargo and freight.

Interstate System Paves the Way for Trucks

The construction of paved roads increased by the 1930's and the trucking industry began to take off. With the trucks starting to take over the roadways, new government regulations were put in place for safety. 

The trucking industry saw a huge increase of work after the interstate system was built in the 1940's and 1950's. The interstate linked many major cities, making it easier and quicker for trucks to make deliveries. The semi-trailer started to evolve, and we saw new innovations like refrigerated trailers -- the trucking industry was booming!

Industry Gains Attention

By the 1960's, the trucking industry was gaining national attention by being featured in music and movies, and the industry has continued to grow ever since. Truckers have even been the topic of widespread strikes that have taken place over the rising costs of fuel.

The opening of stores like Wal-Mart created a higher demand for the more efficient and cheaper movement of freight. Trucking now dominates the freight industry, and there is no sign of it slowing down. As the transportation of freight across America continues to grow, we will keep seeing new innovations that transform the trucking industry.