When you think of the transportation of global trade, you picture giant container ships, flying cargo planes, or endless trains loaded with shipping containers. What you may forget (unless you’re driving on an interstate highway) is that 18-wheeler trucks move a vast amount of freight in this country. Without trucks, we would be nowhere.
Long haul trucking is a lonely business, with drivers on the road by themselves for days at a time. The photographer Julie Hassett Sutton captured the loneliness of these long distance drivers in a series of photographs she took in Basin, Montana. “Just the idea of these guys on the lonely roads. It just seemed so isolated,” says Hasset Sutton. “They were really the only ones around. There are these people working in these early mornings, when no one was around. And you’re in a truck, not interacting with other people.”
Passing through the snow-bound landscape, to and from destinations unknown, the trucks look more like objects of design than of commerce. But they haul two-thirds of all our freight; trucks are what drive the economy. But the convenience of having goods driven wherever they’re needed comes at a cost: Trucks also are major polluters, making them as destructive as they are convenient.
One day soon, these trucks as we know them will have to be phased out in favor of something less polluting–or removed entirely as we develop an economy that doesn’t require the daily movement of goods over long distances. Until then, we can still pause and romanticize the trucker, driving alone on mountain roads.