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Prior tothe 20th century, freight was generally transported overland via trains and railroads.During this time, trains were essential, and they werehighlyefficient at moving large amounts of freight.But, they could only deliver that freight to urban centers for distribution by horse-drawn transport.Though there were several trucks throughout this time, theywere usedmore as space for advertising that for actual utility.At this time, the use of range for trucks was quite challenging.The use of electric engines, lack of paved rural roads, and small load capacities limited trucks to most short-haul urban routes.
In many countries, driving a truck requires a special driving license. The requirements and limitations vary with each different jurisdiction.
Another film released in 1975, White Line Fever, also involved truck drivers. It tells the story of a Vietnam War veteran who returns home to take over his father's trucking business. But, he soon finds that corrupt shippers are trying to force him to carry illegal contraband.While endorsing another negative connotation towards the trucking industry, it does portray truck drivers with a certain wanderlust.
The 1950's were quite different than the years to come.They were more likely tobe considered"Knights of the Road", if you will, for helping stranded travelers.In these times truck driverswere enviedandwere viewedas an opposition to the book "The Organization Man".Bestseller in 1956, author William H. Whyte's novel describes "the man in the gray flannel suit", who sat in an office every day.He's describing a typical office style job that is very structured with managers watching over everyone. Truck drivers represented the opposite of all these concepts. Popular trucking songs glorified the life of drivers as independent "wanderers".Yet, there were attempts to bring back the factory style efficiency, such as using tachnographs. Although most attempts resulted in little success. Driversroutinelysabotaged and discovered new ways to falsify the machine's records.
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) conducted a series of tests.These tests were extensive field tests of roads and bridges to assess damages to the pavement.In particular they wanted to know how traffic contributes to the deterioration of pavement materials. These testsessentiallyled to the 1964 recommendation by AASHTO to Congress.The recommendation determined the gross weight limit for trucks tobe determined bya bridge formula table. This includes table based on axle lengths, instead of a state upper limit. By the time 1970 came around, there were over 18 million truck on America's roads.