Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders mentioned in a campaign speech to an enthusiastic crowd that he wants to ‘take trucks off the road’ Admittedly, I wondered why and what the consequences would be for the tens of thousands of dedicated truck drivers who, in many ways, are the true lifeblood for the economy.
There are roughly 14,000 supermarkets in the US. How would a rail system deliver products from the rail to the supermarkets? Would Uber act as the middle man and get involved to ship tons of pallets of groceries to your local supermarket? I’m joking but in all seriousness there is a grave concern that it might damage the economy dramatically in terms of service delivery and, more importantly, severely damage paying our nation’s dedicated truck drivers who provide the most valuable service for our nation’s economy, that is – delivering products and goods to our nation’s supermarkets and retail outlets, from large big boxes retailers like Walmart, supermarkets like Publix and Whole Foods to small run family owned businesses who work tirelessly 24/7.
The rail system is vital to our economy in terms of delivering goods and people all across the country, however, if we take ‘trucks off the road’ I can only envision the immense cost and time to build a rail system to taxpayers eliminating the needs for trucks. By the way, what would happen if the rail system shuts down due to mechanical or electrical outages? How many stores would have to wait and wait for food. And if they are computerized and the grid goes down, food like dairy products would diminish sharply and the revenue lost would be monumental.
Truck drivers can overcome all types of challenges like the weather, delivery, because they communicate and adjust their schedules to accommodate, with the supermarkets and retailers. Their role to the nation’s economy is indispensable. They literary carry the most valuable type of products: food to eat and live well.
I have unloaded trucks for about four and a half years. I have removed hundreds of grocery pallets: frozen food, milk crates, bags of ice, housewares, etc. and I can tell you that the truck drivers I have the privilege to interact with are some of the nicest, down to earth and dedicated people I know. Their job is not glamorous like a vice president in corporate america sitting behind a desk, in a huge corner office, staring at a 50 inch computer screen. However they also have a job where sit down for hours too, making sure products all over the country are delivered on a timely basis, rain or shine.
In addition, truck drivers are some of the safest drivers. I spoke with one driver who is a spiritual man and takes pride that he never had an accident for the twenty years he has been driving a truck delivering millions of pounds of groceries each year.
Mr. Sanders, please have empathy for our nation’s truck drivers. They are the economic fabric of our country who overall are extremely reliable and vital to jobs and our economy. An expanded rail system is a bold and disruptive idea, but please leave our truck drivers alone. They do a job not many people would not and could not do.
We need our truck drivers. Please keep them forever on our roads.