COVID-19 has put many drivers on edge. The industry has taken a few hits over the past few years, but none have been as impactful as the countrywide “stay at home” policy issued by many states.
Mass Closings Of Stores
Due to mass closings of public areas such as rest stops, and stores, many drivers are feeling the pressure to continue with the lack of essential supplies. Many truck stops that are still open are also facing the dilemma of having low hygiene supplies such as hand sanitizer, alcohol wipes, and latex gloves.
“I feel like I have a high potential to catch the virus if I go into a store without the proper safety,” says Graham Hinsch – a driver currently going from New York to Portland, Oregon.
Restaurants Are Take Out Only
With many restaurants not allowing for sit in and dining, many drivers are forced to eat at open truck stops. Unfortunately, there aren’t many options (or healthy ones at that) that provide truck drivers the essential nutritional value to continue their day.
“It really comes down to planning ahead. Knowing that these stores are closed means that I need to bring my food. I portion my meals in order to get the best benefit throughout my day. Some days I drive upwards of 14 hours with no breaks so I need to run on all pistons.”
Drivers Face Long Hours
Apart from the lack of necessary supplies, a silver lining for them is that they are not required a maximum of 8 hours before they need to stop. The current demand for drivers has worked to put a strain on many of them. Some are driving upwards of 13+ hours a day and are facing a lack of supplies wherever they go.
“DOT has lifted the regulations that we would get ticketed before for doing. Such as time limits. 70 hrs on duty was the limit before you needed a 34hour reset and my company is still keeping that. Other companies and owner-operators have removed that time limit so you have many truckers working non stop and like the good old days when we weren’t told when we have to sleep or drive by an electronic system. I am paid well to meet the demand and having unlimited hours has been beneficial for me.“
Despite these shortcomings many drivers are aware that closed truck stops and other places are trying to get back on track. They feel that these are just temporary for their times and look forward to things returning to normal.