Number of Trucks on Roads Increasing

Number of Trucks on Roads Increasing

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Richard Piatt Reporting"It's going to double over the next 20 years, the number of trucks is going to double."

Trucks, trucks and more trucks. There's more competition for road space these days. It's not your imagination, the roads are more crowded with trucks and it's just going to get worse. It's all part of Utah's growing economy.

When rush hour traffic slows you down, you notice who else is on the road with you, and when it comes to trucks, you may curse them on the roads, but you're probably grateful once you get home.

Think of something you treasure: your iPod, your new car. Think of the things you need: Food, water, gasoline. Think of the unthinkable: When you need medical supplies like surgical gear, bandages, or oxygen. Chances are high all those things and more reached you by truck.

David Creer, Utah Trucking Association: "The quality of life we have today has to do with the ability of these trucks to deliver our goods."

There's a price for that quality of life -- more trucks on the roads. Last year Utah's ten ports of entry reported 6-million trucks crossing the borders. Trucks are also carrying cargo that comes into the state on rail. At the Intermodal Hub, trucks are loaded 24 hours a day.

Utah Freeways are major thru-ways and trade agreements make I-15 part of a critical Canada-Mexican corridor for the Intermountain West.

If you think things are crowded now, just wait. Truck traffic is expected to go up six per cent a year, so that in 20 years, it will be double. That's a lot of competiton for road space.

Everyone knows trucks can be intimidating, annoying, even maddening on the freeway. There is sometimes road rage between truck and car drivers. Last summer, a California man played chicken with a semi, causing a jackknife accident in Salt Lake County. It's the kind of thing that worries people who drive trucks.

Brennin Lund, Truck Driver: "All the little cars just don't care. They don't give us any leeway at all."

Trucks in Utah have one of the best safety records in the nation, but a lot of drivers are still a bit nervous around them at times.

Lauryn Smith, Car Driver: "You just kind of grip the steering wheel a little bit tighter, because of the draft that happens after you pass by the truck."

The trucking industry is growing, but there is a shortage of truck drivers right now.

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