The Federal Aid Highway Act was signed by President Eisenhower in 1956. Before that time, the transportation industry got by on a mish-mash of state highways and local streets. Needless to say, it was cumbersome. It was also far pricier than it should have been to ship goods from one state to another (and it complicated America’s war effort during the 1940s—something former General Eisenhower was probably frustrated by). Today, graduates of truck driving school have access to a fast and efficient network of interstate highways.
The Early Culture of Trucking
Construction on the new interstates continued into the 1960s. During this time, more people also began moving to the suburbs, which necessitated commuting to work on these newly built interstates. The sight of a passenger vehicle driving alongside a massive big rig became a common one, and a sense of camaraderie developed. Trucking was perceived, rightfully so, as a vital industry that was building and modernizing America. But even as people looked forward to the future, they remembered the past with a bit of nostalgia. The public viewed truckers as the modern version of the old-time cowboys of the Wild West.
The Culture of Convenience
The driving industry shaped the landscape around the interstates as much as the interstates shaped the American driving industry. Long before hours and breaks were heavily regulated by the government, it was recognized that all those truckers hauling goods all day and night would naturally get hungry and need breaks. During the late 1950s and into the 60s, Americans started getting a taste for fast food. McDonald’s was the first, and Burger King followed not long after. Pizza joints also became popular, in large part due to the WWII military servicemembers who had brought back a love of pizza from Italy. Naturally, fast food joints began springing up around the interstates to cater to truckers and commuters. Today, of course, professional truck drivers also have access to healthier options.
Is a career on the open road in your future? Phoenix Truck Driving Institute can help you take your CDL exam in as few as four weeks! Call our Phoenix office at (877) 295-5372—we welcome military families!