The trucking industry serves the American economy by transporting large quantities of raw materials, works in process, and finished goods over land—typically from manufacturing plants to retail distribution centers. Trucks are also used in the construction industry, as dump trucks and portable concrete mixers move the large amounts of rocks, dirt, concrete, and other building materials used in construction. Trucks in America are responsible for the majority of freight movement over land and are tools in the manufacturing, transportation, and warehousing industries.
Driving large trucks and buses require a commercial driver's license (CDL) to operate. Obtaining a CDL requires extra education and training dealing with the special knowledge requirements and handling characteristics of such a large vehicle. Drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) must adhere to the hours of service, which are regulations governing the driving hours of commercial drivers. These and all other rules regarding the safety of interstate commercial driving are issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA is a division of the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), which governs all transportation-related industries such as trucking, shipping, railroads, and airlines. Some other issues are handled by another branch of the USDOT, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
Developments in technology, such as computers, satellite communication, and the Internet, have contributed to many improvements within the industry. These developments have increased the productivity of company operations, saved the time and effort of drivers, and provided new, more accessible forms of entertainment to men and women who often spend long periods of time away from home. In 2006, the United States Environmental Protection Agency implemented revised emission standards for diesel trucks (reducing airborne pollutants emitted by diesel engines) which promises to improve air quality and public health.