When Trucks Stop, America Stops
Commercial truck traffic is vital to our nation’s economic prosperity and plays a significant role in mitigating adverse economic effects during a national or regional emergency. Our economy depends on trucks to deliver ten billion tons of virtually every commodity consumed—over 80 percent of all freight transported annually in the U.S. In the U.S. alone, this accounts for $700.4 billion worth of goods transported by truck. Trucks hauled 65.6% of the shipment of value into Canada and 67% of the shipment of value into Mexico. It becomes apparent that any disruption in truck traffic will lead to rapid economic instability.
The unimpeded flow of trucks is critical to the safety and well-being of all Americans. However, it is entirely possible that well-intended public officials may instinctively halt or severely restrict truck traffic in response to an incident of national or regional significance.
History has shown us the consequences that result from a major disruption in truck travel. Immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, significant truck delays at the Canadian border crossings shut down several auto manufacturing plants in Michigan because just-in- time parts were not delivered. The economic cost to these companies was enormous. Following Hurricane Katrina, trucks loaded with emergency goods were rerouted, creating lengthy delays in delivering urgently needed supplies to the stricken areas.
Although in the face of an elevated threat level, a terrorist attack, or a pandemic, halting truck traffic may appear to be the best defense, it actually puts citizens at risk. Officials at every level of government must recognize that a decision to halt or severely curb truck traffic following a national or regional emergency will produce unintended health and economic consequences not only for the community they seek to protect, but for the entire nation.
The American Trucking Associations researched seven key consumer industries to quantify the potential consequences of restricting or halting truck traffic in response to a national or regional emergency. This report details the findings.
Click here for the full ATA article.
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