America’s roads and bridges aren’t far from failing. And when that happens, the country will have about five days of normalcy before the trucks stop rolling and chaos ensues.
That’s the alarm being sounded by a new documentary out now on Amazon called “Be Prepared To Stop,” which takes a hard look at the failing U.S. Interstate Highway System and paints a grim picture of a society unable to function if the trend isn’t corrected soon. The result would be a crippling depletion of food, drinking water, medicine, fuel and other daily necessities, according to Jennifer Clymer, co-director and executive producer of the film. Airports would close, trash would pile up, industrial production would stop, public transit would end and the country would come to a standstill.
“'Be Prepared to Stop' is a documentary about our absolute dependence on infrastructure, specifically the Interstate Highway System,” Clymer explained. “We rely on those roads and the big rigs rolling down them to supply us with just about everything we use every day. But this round-the-clock lifeline has become so entrenched in our daily routines we don’t even notice it anymore. Now that neglect is reaching a crisis point. Roads and bridges are failing, safety concerns are mounting, skilled drivers are retiring and government action is at a standstill. 'Be Prepared to Stop' raises awareness about the impact of this impending breakdown and how it will obstruct the U.S. economy and adversely affect the daily lives of all Americans."
At the core of the film, Clymer said, are several trucking-specific facts that few Americans appreciate today:
- 32% of America’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition and 25% of bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. $146 billion in capital investment would be needed on an annual basis over the next 20 years to significantly improve conditions.
- 42% of America’s major urban highways are congested, costing the economy an estimated $101 billion in wasted time and fuel annually.
- The trucking industry hauls 10.49 billion tons of freight every year, or 70.1% of total U.S. freight tonnage. Rail is next, moving 13.8% of the nation’s freight tonnage.
- All goods carried by ship, airplane or train reach their destination by truck. More than 80% of U.S. communities depend solely on trucking for delivery of their goods and commodities.
- One out of every 14 jobs in the United States is created or directly affected by the
- trucking industry.
- 54 million tons of freight move across the nation every day. By 2040 that will increase more than 40%.
Clymer said her grandfather was a truck driver and taught her to respect the professionals driving the rigs hauling everything we rely upon for our way of life. “I am alarmed about the poor state of our highway system and the lack of understanding about how dependent we are on it. I am hoping this film sheds a light on this problem and is a wake-up call that if action is not taken soon there will be significant consequences.”
“Be Prepared to Stop” debuted on Amazon April 6 and will be released on iTunes later in the month. More information and a preview are available at BePreparedToStop.org.