May-June 2016

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eing chairman of the American Trucking Association (ATA) is a tremendous honor – the culmination of a career spent in an essential industry hiding in plain sight. It is easy to take for granted ubiquitous things – the everyday things that make our economy and our national quality of life possible, and as ATA chairman, it is my job to point out at least one of these things: trucking. Just look at the economic impact of trucking: a $700 billion, billion with a "B," industry that literally moves our national economy. Trucking employs 7.1 million people, that's one out of every 16 people working in the U.S., and less than half of those people – 3.4 million – are professional drivers. Those drivers traveled 275 billion miles, twice as many as they drove just 25 years ago. Over the past decade, our professional drivers have been safer than ever, reducing crashes by 20% even as they drive more miles. Just how essential is trucking to our economy? Trucks moved nearly 10 billion tons of freight in 2014 – that's 68.8% of all domestic tonnage, by far the largest percentage by mode. How much more? The next busiest mode, rail, moved just 14.8% of our freight. Today in America, 80% of communities are served solely by trucks, meaning that no other freight mode delivers milk, gasoline, food, medicine or any other essential goods. As important as trucking is to our country, it is still a much-misunderstood and maligned industry, which is why ATA spends a great deal of time burnishing trucking's image and advancing a pro-industry and pro- safety agenda in Washington. 32 PalletCentral • May-June 2016 Business Blog: Trucking Trends By Pat Thomas BUSINESS B

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