National Geographic : 1977 May
Different ways of looking at trucks. To one a nerve wracking threat? To another a large ingredient in our nation's commercial health. Trucks can be frightening. Some are massive: 55 to 60 feet or longer, weighing as much as 40 to 60 tons loaded. They sometimes crawl up hills, snail-slow. People complain that trucks tailgate, crowd them on narrow roads. Their slipstreams buf fet small cars. They can be noisy, smelly, deadly in a collision. America has 24 million trucks. One for every four passenger cars. Many car drivers feel driving would be easier without trucks. Others see trucks as essential to a healthy economy. They carry most of our meat, our fruits and vegeta bles, and the things we wear. They carry products all or part way to us from our factories. Filling shops with things to buy, trucks go wherever roads go - including 38,000 towns without railroads. And truck owners pay nearly 40% of road use taxes. Trucks help make possible the dis persed, decentralized living that characterizes most American com munities today. What to do? First we must all recog nize that cars and trucks have equal rights to our roadways. And pay each other the courtesy those rights de mand. Next we can work to maintain the quality of our modern roads and improve our outdated ones. That won't make traffic any lighter, but it can make it faster, safer, more eco nomical and a lot more pleasant. Caterpillar builds diesel engines to power America's trucks. We regard trucks and the roads they run on as critical elements in our total trans portation system. There are no simple solutions. Only intelligent choices. W CATERPILLAR Caterpillar.Catand B areTrademarksof CaterpillarTractorCo.