The pandemic and natural disasters like Hurricane Ida remind us that the trucking industry is more important now than ever. As the American economy ground to a halt, it was 18-wheelers that kept our country from nationwide food shortages while allowing the online economy to thrive. When Louisiana residents were surveyed in May, 82% were unified in wanting to protect the state’s trucking industry.

It was a stark reminder that “essential worker” goes far beyond nurses and doctors. Without the intricate system of interstate commerce and the truckers that transport goods over them, we’d be looking at a very different country a year and a half into the pandemic. People took notice, with 57% of Louisiana residents say that the pandemic improved their perception of big-rig drivers.

As Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana, 18-wheelers were nimble enough to provide essential supplies when the state needed them most. Truckers rapidly redirected shipments of water, ice, food and generators to affected communities in time to make a difference.

Despite all this goodwill, interstates are littered with signs advertising lawyers who specialize in suing big rigs. Our lawmakers should consider ways to better protect the trucking industry from litigation to ensure our supply chain is running as efficiently as possible. Truckers make the world go round, and Louisiana voters know it.

TOM O'NEAL

member, Louisiana Motor Transport Association

Choudrant