Monday, January 24, 2011

"When Trucks Stop, America Stops"

How fragile our intricate, modern weave of social and economic interdependence!

A document prepared by the American Trucking Associations a few years ago is an excellent reference for what WILL happen when one of any number of proverbial monkey wrenches gets tossed into the gears of our smooth-running existence today. Read the whole doc here.

Below, I've captured the last page summarizing what we can expect when America's trucks stop running (think such causes as pandemic, war, social upheaval, fuel disruption, border crossing delays, material or parts importation halts, security clampdowns, earthquakes, etc.) ...

"When Trucks Stop, America Stops"
A Timeline Showing the Deterioration of Major Industries Following a Truck Stoppage

The first 24 hours
• Delivery of medical supplies to the affected area will cease.
• Hospitals will run out of basic supplies such as syringes and catheters
within hours. Radiopharmaceuticals will deteriorate and become
unusable.
• Service stations will begin to run out of fuel.
• Manufacturers using just-in-time manufacturing will develop component
shortages.
• U.S. mail and other package delivery will cease.

Within one day
• Food shortages will begin to develop.
• Automobile fuel availability and delivery will dwindle, leading to skyrocketing
prices and long lines at the gas pumps.
• Without manufacturing components and trucks for product delivery,
assembly lines will shut down, putting thousands out of work.

Within two to three days
• Food shortages will escalate, especially in the face of hoarding and
consumer panic.
• Supplies of essentials—such as bottled water, powdered milk, and
canned meat—at major retailers will disappear.
• ATMs will run out of cash and banks will be unable to process
transactions.
• Service stations will completely run out of fuel for autos and trucks.
• Garbage will start piling up in urban and suburban areas.
• Container ships will sit idle in ports and rail transport will be disrupted,
eventually coming to a standstill.

Within a week
• Automobile travel will cease due to the lack of fuel. Without autos and
busses, many people will not be able to get to work, shop for groceries,
or access medical care.
• Hospitals will begin to exhaust oxygen supplies.

Within two weeks
• The nation’s clean water supply will begin to run dry.

Within four weeks
• The nation will exhaust its clean water supply and water will be safe for
drinking only after boiling. As a result gastrointestinal illnesses will
increase, further taxing an already weakened health care system.

This timeline presents only the primary effects of a freeze on truck travel. Secondary effects must be considered as well, such as inability to maintain telecommunications service, reduced law enforcement, increased crime, increased illness and injury, higher death rates, and likely, civil unrest.
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