Congresswoman Virginia Foxx recently met with representatives of the trucking industry. Crystal Collins, president of the North Carolina Trucking Association, said the discussion was regarding industry challenges including workforce shortage.
Foxx shared, as chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, how Republicans plan to modernize the country’s post-secondary education system.
“We shared our success story with the NC Community Colleges offering the trucking operations management degree,” Collins said. She also noted the importance of the trucking industry in the North Carolina economy.
“One in 16 jobs in North Carolina is trucking related, with 86 percent of NC communities depending exclusively on trucks to move goods,” Collins said.
According to the NC Fast Facts sheet, the trucking industry in North Carolina provided 210,600 jobs in 2015 and total trucking industry wages paid in North Carolina in 2015 exceeded $9.6 billion, with an average annual trucking industry salary of $45,648.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in May 2015 that heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers held 52,430 jobs with an average annual salary of $39,800. As of April 2015, there were 18,420 trucking companies located in North Carolina, most of them small, locally owned businesses. These companies are served by a wide range of supporting businesses both large and small.
Improving safety and increasing environmentally friendly practices are also an important part of the trucking industry according to the fact sheet.
In 2014 the U.S. large truck fatal crash rate was 1.23 fatal crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT). This rate has dropped by 73 percent since the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) began keeping these records in 1975. The trucking industry is committed to sharing the road safely with all vehicles.
The Share the Road program sends a team of professional truck drivers to communities around the country to teach car drivers about truck blind spots, stopping distances and how to merge safely around large trucks, all designed to reduce the number of car-truck accidents. North Carolina Trucking Association members put safety first through improved driver training, investment in advanced safety technologies and active participation in industry safety initiatives at the local, state and national levels.
The trucking industry also continues to improve energy and environmental efficiency even while increasing the number of miles driven. In 2014, trucks consumed 97 billion fewer gallons of fuel than passenger vehicles in the U.S. and accounted for just 17 percent of the total highway transportation fuel consumed.
Through advancements in engine technology and fuel refinements, new diesel truck engines produce 98 percent fewer particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions than a similar engine manufactured prior to 1990. Sulfur emissions from diesel engines have also been reduced by 97 percent since 1999. Through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) SmartWay Transport Partnership, the trucking industry is working with government and businesses to quantify greenhouse gas emissions and take steps to reduce them.