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Baltimore driving is “terrifying for a trucker right now”

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Baltimore driving is “terrifying for a trucker right now,” say local drivers dealing with the aftermath of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse late last month. 

The March 26th collapse of the Baltimore, Maryland bridge claimed the lives of six construction workers and has altered shipping, commuting, and trucking routes for the foreseeable future. As a result of this rerouting, truck drivers in Baltimore say that trucking is tougher, and causing them to reconsider their career path. 

“It’s terrifying for a trucker right now,” said 33-year-old Mandel Brown, a truck driver of only two months who took his first night off in 40 days on the evening of the collapse. Had Brown not decided to take a rest, he would have been at the Key Bridge right about the time of the tragedy, reported The Baltimore Banner.

“You never picture something like that happening, even when it happened,” Brown continued, adding that he knew Baltimore driving would involving being cautious of four-wheelers and proper driving when he started trucking, but had not previously considered the structural integrity of the roadways he was driving on. Brown says he will no longer be traveling on bridges crossing waterways, no matter how long it takes him to detour. 

“I’m actually thinking about just changing jobs, just getting out of trucking altogether,” said 53-year-old Kim Freeman, a trucker of 15 years who is very familiar with Baltimore driving. Freeman would previously cross the bridge daily, first to get to work, and then up to 12 more times a day for local deliveries. Now, she says she is forced to use tunnels, which forces her into multiple close-call situations a day. 

Freeman also says that her shift used to last from 5:30 a.m. until 2 p.m., but the change in Baltimore driving has stretched her shift until closer to 6:30 p.m. For her, this means only seeing her grandson every few weeks, instead of every few days. 

“It’s just such a tough job anymore [sic], and it’s not so much the work, it’s just everything that’s going on.”

“Nobody realized how important the bridge was until it went down,” said 51-year-old Mike Latinski, another trucker familiar with Baltimore driving. Latinski says he is worried about what might happen in the five years it is expected to take to replace the bridge. 

He says “it’s inevitable,” that one of the many tunnels will close during a bad accident, or traffic slows to a crawl on Interstate 95 or Interstate 895 due to construction. 

More than 12 million vehicles crossed the Francis Scott Key Bridge annually prior to its collapse.

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