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Receiving nation attention during the 1960's and 70's, songs and movies about truck driving were major hits. Finding solidarity, truck drivers participated in widespread strikes. Truck drivers from all over opposed the rising cost of fuel. Not to mention this is during the energy crises of 1873 and 1979. In 1980 the Motor Carrier Actdrasticallyderegulated the trucking industry. Since then trucking has come to dominate the freight industry in the latter part of the 20th century. This coincided with what are now known as 'big-box' stores such as Target or Wal-Mart.
Beginning the the early 20th century, the 1920's saw several major advancements. There was improvement in rural roads which was significant for the time.The diesel engine, which are 25-40% more efficient than gas engines were also a major breakthrough.We also saw the standardization of truck and trailer sizes along with fifth wheel coupling systems. Additionally power assisted brakes and steering developed. By 1933, all states had some form of varying truck weight regulation.
In 1991 the film "Thelma & Louise" premiered,rapidlybecoming a well known movie.Throughout the movie, a dirty and abrasive truck driver harasses the two women during chance encounters.Author Michael Dunne describes this minor character as "fat and ignorant" and "a lustful fool blinded by a delusion of male superiority".Thelma and Louise exact their revenge by feigning interest in him and then blowing up his tanker truck full of gas.
The USDOT (USDOT or DOT)is considereda federal Cabinet department within the U.S. government.Clearly, this department concerns itself with all aspects of transportation with safety as a focal point.The DOT wasofficiallyestablished by an act of Congress on October 15, 1966, beginning its operation on April 1, 1967. Superior to the DOT, the United States Secretary of Transportation governs the department.The mission of the DOT is to "Serve the United States by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible, and convenient transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life for the American people, today and into the future." Essentially thisstates how important it is to improve all types of transportation as a way to enhance both safety and life in general etc.It is important to note that the DOT is not in place to hurt businesses, but to improve our "vital national interests" and our "quality of life". The transportation networks are in definite need of such fundamental attention. Federal departments such as the USDOT are key to this industry by creating and enforcing regulations with intentions to increase the efficiency and safety of transportation.
The Federal-Aid Highway Amendments of 1974 established a federalmaximum gross vehicle weight of 80,000 pounds (36,000 kg).It also introduced a sliding scale of truck weight-to-length ratios based on the bridge formula. Although, they did not establish a federalminimumweight limit.By failing to establish a federal regulation, six contiguous in the Mississippi Valley rebelled.Becoming known as the "barrier state", they refused to increase their Interstate weight limits to 80,000 pounds.Due to this, the trucking industry faced a barrier to efficient cross-country interstate commerce.