Truckers are receiving some extra assistance from the federal government in the United States.
The Department of Transportation promises to provide PPE and other assistance to the nation’s transport sector during the novel coronavirus pandemic – and it couldn’t come soon enough according to some.
One benefit of the lockdown is that truckers seem to have the road to themselves which, in theory, should lead to a decrease in truck accidents but the numbers and reporting on that aren’t clear at this moment.
What we do know is that the economy, as far as it is operating, depends on the trucking industry and keeping that moving is a matter of national interest.
U.S. DOT Secretary Elaine Chao said in a press release about the move, “Transportation workers are on the frontlines of keeping our transportation systems operational during this public health emergency, and their wellbeing and safety are paramount.”
Truckers are particularly vulnerable during the novel coronavirus pandemic because they traverse so many different areas and inevitably interact with many different people along the way, Landline Media reports.
That said, transportation firms, the government, and most transportation-related industries such as gas stations are joining together to make sure truckers receive PPE and other equipment.
For gas and rest stations, this includes more frequent cleaning of facilities as well as contact-less service delivery.
OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer said of the effort, “Every day they are exposed to COVID-19, because of the critical service they provide for all of us…They run in and out of the hot zones and, without question, they are exposed. They don’t have access to personal protective equipment or any practical means to know when they may be falling ill or any practical solution if they need treatment or self-isolation.”
As far as the traffic situation goes, some truckers have seen a surge in their personal efficiency and the decreased time it takes to make it between point A and B due to the decreased levels of traffic. Truck driver Shane Stenger said of the traffic situation, “I don’t have to worry about rush hours too much anymore…Yesterday, I hauled auto parts — steel bars that are going to be cut into camshafts for engines…The load before that was some Welch’s grape jelly.”
Even with the current flow of business, some truckers are worried about a serious economic downturn and the potential impact that could have on their livelihood.
“There’s just not going to be, total, as much freight being moved. Like anything else, it’s supply and demand. We’ve got plenty of trucks to haul the lower amount of freight, so the rates of the freight pays less” he told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
Many of the lockdown procedures put in place should be coming down over the coming months. Analysts will be looking closely at economic activity as optimists hope for a V-shaped recovery but while pragmatists are looking hard at what might have to be done to keep the nation’s economy rolling along.