30 Trucking Industry Statistics You Won’t Believe (But Should)


Trucking Industry Statistics

Trucking is an incredible industry. It’s an integral part of our economy, and it’s going through a massive transformation right now—from new regulations to new technologies, there are so many exciting things happening in the trucking industry.

There’s no better way to get a sense of what’s going on in the industry (and where your trucking company fits in) than by getting a snapshot of all the data that lies within it.

The trucking industry is so huge and diverse that it’s difficult to break down what these stats mean on an individual level. But we’ve taken the time to do just that.

That’s why we’re so excited to share with you the latest trucking industry statistics broken down into easy-to-digest categories. So take a look at these stats, and see if you can find something that will help you grow your business! 

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Latest Trucking Industry Statistics

1. Trucks haul over 70% of all freight transported in the US every year.

(ATA)

The American trucking industry is a major driver of the U.S. economy. For decades, it has moved most of the nation’s freight and continues to grow in terms of both revenue and tonnage transported.

In 2020, the trucking industry hauled $732.3 billion in gross freight revenues from primary shipments (down from $791.7 billion in 2019), amounting to 80.4% of the nation’s total freight bill.

As for tonnage transported—10.23 billion tons of freight were transported via trucks in 2020, representing 72.5% of all domestic tonnage shipped that year (down from 11.84 billion tons in 2019).

 

2. In 2020, there were 3.36 million truck drivers employed in the US.

(ATA)

Although there were 3.36 million truck drivers employed in 2020, this was still a decrease of 6.8% from 2019, when there were 3.6 million truck drivers.

The fact that more people are working remotely may be contributing to this effect because it means that fewer packages need to be shipped, and fewer products need to be delivered to retail locations.

Yet even with this decrease, there are still over three million truck drivers in the U.S., and they are still an essential part of getting the things we need to our homes and local stores on time and without damage.

 

3. A single truck driver drives between 80,000 and 100,000 miles per year.

(Jerry)

On average, a single truck driver drives between 80,000 and 100,000 miles per year. The collective miles for all the trucks in America during a single year is around 450 billion miles. Truck drivers are amongst the hardest workers in America.

 

4. In America, 7.8% of all truck drivers are female.

(Women in Trucking)

According to the department of labor, there are on average 3.37 million truck drivers currently in America. Of those truck drivers, about 263,000, or 7.8% are female drivers. That is an increase of around 88% since 2010.

 

5. There is a shortage of about 80,000 truck drivers in the United States.

(Vox)

Despite being one of the most common jobs across America, there is a shortage of truck drivers. The trucking companies are battling to keep up with the high demand from customers wanting goods delivered.

There is a current shortage of around 80,000 drivers. If the trends continue, there could be a lack of 160,000 truck drivers by 2028. 

Trucking companies are having trouble attracting younger employees to work as truckers. The average age for a trucker is between 45 and 56.

 

6. The average trucker’s wage is about $26.30 an hour.

(U.S Bureau of Labor)

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor, in 2020, truck drivers earned on average $26.30 p/h. That equals a yearly wage of $46,360 for tractor-trailer truckers and $41,960 for light or delivery service truckers.

 

7. Nearly one-fourth of all trucks registered in the US are used for business purposes.

(ATA)

Trucks are an important part of the business world. With such a large number of trucks traveling our roads, it’s important to know how many of them are used for business.

There are over 37.9 million trucks registered for business purposes in the U.S., excluding government and farm vehicles which are registered separately. This represents 23.9% of all trucks registered in the United States.

This is an incredible amount of trucks—and a huge amount of overall business activity.

 

8. As of February 2021, there were 996,894 registered for-hire carriers across the US.

(ATA)

The U.S. Department of Transportation reported that, as of February 2021, there were 996,894 for-hire carriers, 813,440 private carriers, and 83,235 other interstate motor carriers on file with the FMCSA.

For-hire carriers are companies that transport goods or passengers for compensation — typically from point A to point B. As specified by the FMCSA, “for-hire” carriers are those who haul freight for non-governmental entities in exchange for compensation.

Private carriers are companies that operate vehicles used solely to transport property or passengers to meet their business needs — not for compensation.

Other interstate motor carriers include motor carrier businesses that operate vehicles transporting passengers or property in interstate commerce but do not fall into either the For-Hire or Private categories.

 

9. Trucks carried more than two-thirds of the surface freight between the U.S. and Canada.

(ATA)

In 2019 truck drivers transported 67.7% of surface goods between the U.S and Canada. 83.1% of the transports were cross-border trades with Mexico. The goods’ total price amounted to $772 billion.

 

10. In 2016, an autonomous truck made its first commercial delivery, hauling 2,000 cases of Budweiser.

(USA Today)

The evolution of the trucking industry took a drastic turn when in 2016, Otto’s self-driving truck made the first delivery without the use of a driver. This trucking concept was the brainchild of Otto working in partnership with Anheuser-Busch. The truck successfully transported 2000 cases of Bud Beer.

 

11. 55% of small businesses are optimistic about the prospects for fully autonomous fleets.

(Nissan)

According to a survey done by the Nissan Motor Corporation, the idea of self-driving trucks is taking hold. More than half of the small business owners expect to move to fully automated trucks in the next few decades.

 

Trucking Industry Safety Statistics

The trucking industry has had moments of significant renovations, leading to fascinating safety regulations and statistics.

 

12. In 2019, 5,005 people died in large-truck crashes.

(US-DOT)

In 2019, a total of 5,005 people died in large-truck crashes. This was an increase of 36% since 2010 when 3,686 deaths occurred.

Of those who died in large-truck crashes in 2019, 70.8% were occupants of other vehicles (3,544 deaths), 17.8% were truck occupants (892 deaths), and 11.4% were non-occupants (569 deaths). Those non-occupants are primarily pedestrians and cyclists.

The increase in the number of deaths from year to year is due to a combination of factors: increased urbanization, more miles driven by trucks, and more commercial vehicle traffic on our roads. This results in dangerous conditions for all road users—especially those traveling on foot or by bike.

 

13. There has been a dramatic 52% increase in truck accident deaths since 2009.

(NHTSA)

The trucking industry is more hazardous than other jobs.

According to the ILO (International Labor Organization), truck drivers are in danger of five main hazards. These include:

  • Accidents
  • Ergonomic injuries
  • Physical
  • Biological
  • Psychosocial

The number of accidents deaths due to trucking accidents has increased by 52% since 2009, and the number of incidents that involve the other hazards of trucking is also increasing.

 

14. Each year, the trucking industry invests at least $10 billion in safety.

(ATA)

According to the ATA, the trucking industry invests over $10 billion per year to help improve safety in the trucking industry.

Some safety measures include proper safety training, new safety technologies, compliance with safety regulations, and driver safety incentive pay.

 

15. Since Jan 2020, 72,000 truck drivers have been taken off US roads for failing drug tests.

(NY Post)

The ATA was a major proponent of making drug and alcohol testing for truck drivers mandatory. The DOT (department of transportation) now requires all truck drivers to be regularly tested for drugs like cocaine, marijuana, THC, etc.

They also test for alcohol concentration levels of .004 or above. The trucking industry’s highest number of failed drug tests has trucking companies at a loss as 72,000 truck drivers have been taken off the road since January 2020.

 

16. Stress is a major factor in truck driver turnover, which is as high as 75% since 2005.

(University of Memphis)

According to a 2012 study done at the University of Memphis, truck driver stress affects turnover in the trucking industry.

These stress factors include work overload, the physical characteristics of their working environment, social interactions with colleagues, and information technology (I.T.).

 

17. Driver fatigue contributes to 7% of all trucking accidents.

(ATA)

According to FMCSA and the ATA, only 1-7 % of all trucking accidents happen because the drivers are fatigued. The original estimate was 1.6%, but the ATA and FMCSA say companies underreport driver fatigue accidents, and the percentage is closer to 7%.

 

18. In 2019, Wyoming had the highest percentage of fatal crashes involving large trucks.

(National Safety Council)

In 2019 Wyoming had the highest fatal accident rate with 25% of large trucks involved in fatal crashes, followed by North Dakota. The district of Columbia had the lowest at 0%, and Hawaii came in second lowest with 2% of the national total.

Texas had 652 reported deaths involving large trucks, the highest in the nation, with The District Of Columbia having no reported deaths.

 

19. The cost of insuring a long-haul truck has doubled in the past decade.

(Property Casualty 360)

The cost of insuring long-haul trucks is on the rise as truck insurance premiums have skyrocketed in the past decade.

Insurance premiums have increased dramatically, doubling from an average between $6,000 and $7,000 at the beginning of the decade to between $12,000 and $14,000 today.

This means trucking companies have been paying an extra $5-$6k per truck per year!

 

How Has the Covid 19 Pandemic Affected the Trucking Industry

Because we get most of the products we use delivered by trucks, the pandemic and lockdowns hit the trucking industry hard.

20. U.S. trucking tonnage fell by 9.18% between March and April 2020.

(U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics)

Between March and April 2020, the truck tonnage (how many tons of goods were delivered) fell by 9.18%. It was a significant turn in the trucking industry and contributed to America’s declaring a state of emergency.

 

21. During COVID-19, transport workers were 20.6% more likely to be unemployed than workers in other industries.

(Science Direct)

Over 88,000 jobs were lost during April of 2020 in the trucking industry. Further, an estimated 140,000 truck drivers had lost their jobs by December 2020.

In 2020 during the early part of the lockdown, the trucking industry had a surge in customers wanting goods delivered. The other parts of the trucking industry that supplied restaurants, food markets, retailers, etc., suffered as these businesses were closed for months.

However, during the lockdown, truckers made better time and had very few accidents because there was less traffic to contend with. They did have trouble getting food on the road, but roadside diners came to the rescue. They were able to get food from these establishments when on the road.

 

22. Due to the lockdown in China, the volume of long-haul trucking fell down to 15 percent of 2019 levels.

(IFC)

Ports were closed during the lockdown, so the need for long hauls across the country decreased, but the percentage of short-distance trips increased significantly.

 

23. The DOT reports that reforms to the hours-of-service (HOS) rule, which will save American taxpayers $4 billion.

(Business Insider)

The one good thing that came out of the pandemic for the trucking industry was the federal HOS regulations changed for the first time in 15 years.

Some of the new rules included more time for the truck drivers to sleep more regularly and increased daily and weekly maximum driving limits.

 

24. Truck drivers’ salaries have dropped by as much as 50% since the 1970s.

(Business Insider)

Why do truck drivers have a harder time making ends meet now than they did in the 1970s? The academics who study trucking say there is one law to blame: the Motor Carrier Act of 1980.

After the passage of the MCA of 1980, which created an unnecessarily competitive atmosphere for businesses, firms were forced to cut wages and working conditions at a fast pace in order to survive.

 

Historical Facts About Trucking

The moment you step into any store, all the products you can see, a truck probably delivered. The trucking industry had its start in 1896. A German company Gottlieb Daimler made the first functioning truck-based vehicle. Since then, the trucking industry has boomed.

Trucks are the primary way to transport various goods on the roadways, short or long distances. It’s so commonplace to see trucks on the roads these days, but trucks have only been around for 120 years. Come along and read about how it all started and how it progressed to the big industry it is today.

 

25. Two brothers started the first trucking company in 1900.

(Mack Trucks)

Gottlieb Daimler invented the first truck in 1896 when he converted the engine of the passenger car and put it in a horse-drawn cart. In 1900 two brothers, Jack and Gus Mack, from Brooklyn, NY, started the company that later became Mack Trucks.

 

26. The first professional truckers’ union was formed in 1901 by 1,700 frustrated and fed-off drivers.

(Stacker)

In 1901, 1700 truck drivers were tired of the bad working conditions and formed the first trucking union, Team Drivers International Union (TDIU). Two groups broke away from the TDIU and created their own associations.

They saw they needed to unite and merged again to form The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT). It became the most powerful trucking labor union in history.

 

27. In 1912, it took 91 days to make the first transcontinental truck delivery.

(Teamster)

In 1912 five men from the Charles W. Young Company made the first transcontinental delivery. They drove from Philadelphia to deliver three tons of olive oil soap to Petaluma, Calif.

Driving on barely any maintained roads with no comforts to speak of, they delivered the cargo in a record 91 days.

 

28. The ATA was founded in 1933 and has grown to include 37,000 members in 50 states.

(ATA)

In 1933 the American Highway Freight Association and the Federation Trucking Association of America came together to form the ATA. Today the ATA is the biggest trucking industry trade association in the nation. It includes affiliated trucking associations from all 50 states.

 

29. In 1964, the Master Freight Agreement was signed in an effort to protect over 450,000 drivers.

(Teamster)

1964 was the year that Jimmy Hoffa, the Teamsters president, won the battle to get truck drivers the same benefits and protections as other blue-collar workers. The IBT had fought for decades to get the truck drivers these benefits.

Called the Master Freight Agreement, this document ensured better wages, benefits, and protections to over half a million truck drivers. The Master Freight Agreement protected over 450 000 truck drivers at the time.

 

30. In the US, the second week of September is National Truck Driver Appreciation Week.

(Rand McNally)

In 1998 Bill Webb from ATA started truck driver appreciation week to raise awareness and show appreciation to truck drivers. The ATA is asking the public to Thank A Driver during this week.

The week focuses on the sacrifices that truck drivers have to make when delivering goods as the trucking industry is the backbone of the economy. The week is celebrated to show appreciation to over 3.5 million truck drivers employed in the U.S.

 

Conclusion

Whew! You made it through this list of trucking industry statistics.

We hope that this post has helped you better understand the trucking industry as a whole. From its economic impact on the US economy, to the role of technology in the industry, to the number of truck drivers and trucks on the road, there are plenty of interesting statistics to be found.

In conclusion, the trucking industry is huge. It’s going to get even bigger in the near future, so it’s important to keep an eye on how the industry changes.

We’ll be sure to keep our eyes on the road and update this list as we find new stats to share. If you’ve got a stat to add, please let us know by contacting us.

Thanks for reading, and stay safe out there!

Sources