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Why do we use semi-trucks and not trains?

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2022 | Truck Accidents |

The United States certainly uses both semitrucks and trains to move goods across the country. However, anyone who spends a significant amount of time on the interstate will come away feeling like there are far too many semitrucks and not nearly as many trains.

After all, trains can carry much more in the way of material, and they’re also much safer since their path is so strictly controlled. This isn’t to say that accidents don’t happen, and motorists could even be injured if a train derails or if some sort of issue leaves a car stranded on the tracks.

But truck accidents can happen at any second, and they can be absolutely devastating. They’re vastly more common. Why don’t we simply put more of our goods and materials on trains so that we can reduce the number of trucks on the road?

Shipping by truck saves money

For numerous reasons, putting goods on trucks is simply cheaper. One potential reason is that a train car can hold about half as much weight as a semitruck, due to the weight of the car itself. While it is true that single trains can carry far more cars, this still limits what can be transported in this manner. It also helps to drive up the cost of this transportation. So, even if it was feasible to ship more items by rail, companies would not do it because they’re looking for the cheapest way to move their goods.

Another potential issue is the fact that rail systems are very limited. Not only are they limited in the United States itself, but once the train arrives at the destination. In order to get those goods to the end consumer, they will have to be transported onto some sort of truck anyway. This makes everything take longer, it can make it more expensive and it means that companies often don’t view it as worth the time to put those goods on the train first. They might as well just load it on the truck once, rather than switching it over at the end.

Accidents will continue happening

It’s clear that efficiency and cost really drive the trucking industry, along with the convenience of being able to drive directly to the end consumer. But the trade-off is that we’re going to continue to have a lot of semi-truck accidents every year, leading to very serious injuries. Those who are injured or who lose loved ones need to know how to seek financial compensation.