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Trucking celebrates National Transportation Week

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Jan Vineyard Jan Vineyard
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Jan Vineyard is president of the West Virginia Trucking Association.

Every day, trucks are on our nation's highways bringing all the things that Americans need. The trucking industry quietly backs up to grocery stores, hospitals and schools for deliveries without too many people giving it much thought. During National Transportation Week 2013 (May 12-18), I encourage everyone to take a closer look at trucking, and transportation, to understand how they get all of life's essentials.

There are nearly 3.1 million truck drivers in the United States, with the industry employing 6.8 million workers or one out of every 19 people in the country. But the impact of trucking reaches far beyond simple employment figures.

At this very moment, coast to coast, trucks are on the road hauling life's essentials — everything the nation needs such as food, books, clothing, electronics, automobiles and medical supplies. More than 80 percent of U.S. communities depend solely on trucking for delivery of their goods and commodities.

And as trucking continues to lead the nation in freight delivery, the industry is expected to move an even greater share of freight in the future. Did you know that in 2011 the trucking industry hauled 9.2 billion tons of freight, or 67 percent of the nation's freight bill?

The trucking industry is also the safest it has ever been. Because of the dedication to safety of the men and women of the industry, trucking continues to see a decrease in the number of injuries and fatalities involving large trucks. The professional truck drivers follow stringent safety regulations, attend frequent training programs and work to educate the motoring public on how to safely drive around tractor-trailers. Safety does not just happen; it is a commitment to a way of life. 

The trucking industry is invariably linked to West Virginia. Trucking is a vital part of our state economy, carrying millions of dollars worth of cargo every day and servicing every segment of the population. Many of our communities are served exclusively by trucks, and couldn't exist without the trucking industry.

So during National Transportation Week 2013, remember that without the men and women of the trucking industry, you may not have that food on the grocery store shelf, much needed medicine at your pharmacy or even the clothes on your back.