COVID-19 AND THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY
Due to COVID-19 overwhelming the country and changing life as we know it, all industries across the country have been affected. The trucking industry is no different. Thankfully, the trucking industry is full of workers that are resilient and hardworking, especially during a time where they are crucial to keeping America running. There are updates and changes across the country daily, so it is essential to keep up to date on the latest industry information.
For fleets who typically haul non-essential goods, such as food for restaurants and school systems, are being negatively impacted due to the closures of these places. Looking ahead, general freight will see a decrease in volume because of non-essential business closures that are continuing across the US. It will be important for these fleets to keep their drivers as busy as possible. This way, when businesses start opening and have high demand, there will be drivers available to supply that demand. An easy way to fill the extra time is to perform truck maintenance. This will help ensure that when the freight volume increases again, your trucks will be ready to roll! For other fleets carrying essentials such as groceries, paper goods, and medical supplies, business is booming. With a lot of the population under stay at home orders, people are cooking most meals at home are stocking up on what they can every time they go to the grocery store. This means less of the budget is going to activities such as leisure shopping, concerts, and events and more is going to groceries and household staples. There is also a spike among online ordering, causing companies like Walmart and Amazon to hire employees to keep up with the demand.
The FMCSA issued an emergency declaration for fleets who are carrying essential goods such as medical supplies and groceries. Licenses that have an expiration date from March 1, 2020 or later can now wait until after June 30, 2020 to renew their license without penalty. This also comes as DMV’s across the United States are closing due to COVID-19. There have also been hours of service relief for drivers transporting emergency supplies. Under this declaration, drivers are no longer required to take 30-minute breaks and are no longer restricted to a 14-hour work days. You can learn more details about the emergency declaration on the FMCSA website.
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Something as simple as stopping to get food has become difficult for drivers. Many fast-food restaurants have closed their dine-in areas, only allowing drive-through pickup. This makes fast food stops unavailable for drivers because their truck won’t fit through a drive trough. The FMCSA has issued a statement that truck stops are essential to professional drivers and that they must continue to be open 24/7. Many truck stops have stepped up to provide the best possible service to drivers. Foodservice is still available for drivers to eat, but it must be taken as carryout. Most stops have closed down their lounges as well as self-serve stations that offer coffee, drinks, and food. has increased cleaning and disinfecting efforts, as well as removing self-serving stations. More information for drivers can be found at Truckernation.org/covid19.
KEEP UP TO DATE AND SAFE
As rules and regulations are changing daily during this unpredictable time, it is important to keep yourself informed of the current news. The ATA has set up a COVID-19 Hub on their website that can provide you with industry information and the latest news on COVID-19. https://www.trucking.org/COVID19