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Covid-19: Truckers are at the frontline — Here’s what they’re seeing


Amid the crisis, truck drivers are working around the clock to keep grocery shelves and medical supplies stocked, and as consumers stock up and begin hoard products, truckers are working hard to help replenish. There’s no end in sight.

On Friday, the FMCSA announced a temporary HOS exemption for drivers hauling relief supplies.

“This Emergency Declaration provides regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations that are providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreaks, including transportation to meet immediate needs for: (1) medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19; (2) supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants; (3) food for emergency restocking of stores; (4) equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine, and isolation facilities related to COVID-19; (5) persons designated by Federal, State or local authorities for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes; and (6) persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services, the supply of which may be affected by the COVID-19 response. Direct assistance does not include routine commercial deliveries, or transportation of mixed loads that include essential supplies, equipment and persons, along with supplies, equipment and persons that are not being transported in support of emergency relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreaks. Direct assistance terminates when a driver or commercial motor vehicle is used in interstate commerce to transport cargo or provide services that are not in support of emergency relief efforts related to the COVID-19 outbreaks or when the motor carrier dispatches a driver or commercial motor vehicle to another location to begin operations in commerce.”

CDLLife polled its drivers to find out how they’re being affected by Covid-19 and here’s what they said: shippers and receivers are declaring themselves as health experts and are now asking drivers questions and having them sign waivers about exposure, some shippers and receivers aren’t allowing shared pens, truck stops are no longer allowing personal-refillable cups and some shippers and receivers aren’t allowing drivers to enter the building.

“Having to bring your own pen, not allowed on most docks, being told to stay in your truck we will let you know more often. Taking more caution because of what we haul.” – J. M.

“I haven’t been affected personally but professionally. I’m running the Kroger account and when I go into the unloading area they have so much product in the back room but not enough hands to get it to the floor an then on the shelves, there also limiting what goes out on the floor, such as paper products, wipes and hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes etc because one person will come in and while it all out which makes more work for them. Let’s not forget those who keep the stores stocked and sanitized as well, we’re all a team effort here.” – T.B.

“I work with BD Transportation. We haul auto parts and a couple of trips have already been cancelled.”

“Crossing the Throgs Neck Bridge (NYC). No traffic whatsoever.” – S.C.

“The last place I picked up was at Americold and they had me answer three questions and sign a paper that I hadn’t been around anybody with it or been in public places were it has been. Well I basically stick to myself and don’t get around other people too much. I know how to wash my hands after using the restroom and anywhere anyone has touched. I cough in my elbow and I cook on my truck and don’t hardly eat out. So far that’s all I’ve seen with is is me having to sign a paper. I make my delivery tonight so we will find out what Walmart DC is doing.” – U.T.

“According to my TM, they [shippers and receivers] are giving questioners to drivers that pick up and receive from them. Rejecting those who “fail” the test.” – Anonymous

“Some places have a form you have to fill out regarding whether or not you were in contact with someone with coronavirus or if you have coronavirus.” – J.V.

“Love’s truck stops will not allow you to use your thermos or your own coffee mugs to get refills. You have to purchase a cup of coffee and then you can pour it in your thermos or coffee mug.” – J.V.

“Gloves, no sharing pens, drivers not allowed in building, put paperwork in trailer.” – J.J.

“Most seem to be trying to use enhanced cleaning and sanitizing procedures. Individual condiment packets are not out any more.”

“Seeing a lot of shippers with more hand sanitizer out. Had one ask me tons of questions to make sure I didn’t have any flu like symptoms. They had me sign a paper stating that I had none.” – J.S.

“Our reciever made us sign a waiver and gave us a spare to prove we didn’t make this $h*t up lol.” – C.W.

“Shipper n receiver asking truckers to stay in truck to help control virus spread, also in turn make it easier on driver not to stand on docks and count product. Hand sanitizer frequently available so, take advantage and use it when washing hands not possible.” -A.A.

Here’s what we know:

  1. Auto parts have slowed
  2. Non-essential freight has slowed
  3. Fewer traffic, as many businesses are instituting a mandatory work from home procedure
  4. Some stores are packed with supplies but can’t get them out on the floor fast enough and/or are holding back supplies to prevent hoarding
  5. Carriers who ship necessities are noticing an increase in freight

Drivers are on the front line of this pandemic. You are the true heroes — you’re keeping America rolling, keeping grocery store shelves stocked, delivering medications, etc. We appreciate you! That being said, we want you to stay safe. Can you please provide us with feedback on how Covid-19 is affecting you?

Share your experiences, pictures, or concerns with us!


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