This week in our Time Travel series, we’re driving our way through the history of trucking.
The trucking industry kicked off in the 1910s, after both vehicles and engines were powerful enough to carry heavy loads. World War I gave trucks a chance to prove their practicality, both on the front and as a substitute for freight trains. In the decades that followed, the industry and number of trucks exploded.
Truck regulation started in the 1930s, between the construction of safer rural highways and the implementation of the Interstate Highway System. Truck stops emerged during the 1940s, flourishing along newly paved roads. The trucking industry and trucker culture reached a zenith in the 1970s. However, that peak was followed by deregulation of the industry and the de-unionization of working truckers.
Today, despite an increase in productivity and efficiency with the incorporation of modern technology, the American trucking industry faces a shortage of drivers and is considered one of the country’s most dangerous professions.
Flip through the gallery above to see how trucking has changed over the past century.
Sarra Sedghi is Paste Travel’s News Editor.