With much of the U.S. economy shutting down, truck drivers are still on the job delivering essential supplies to a nation that is hunkered down in their homes hoping to avoid infection from the COVID-19 virus. To assist truckers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has relaxed hourly driving regulations for the hauling of medical, fuel, paper products, and food.
While truck drivers have always been an indispensable part of the fabric of the U.S. economy, today they are even more important in connecting the world when so many have been told to stay home. For drivers, this is a difficult time with many of their routine duties disrupted.
Luckily, many vital truck-stop chains and independent truck-stops are remaining open, although in most cases, they have closed their restaurants to sit down customers and are providing take-out instead. FMCSA acting administrator Jim Mullen said, “In the coming weeks and months, it will be critical that these businesses remain open, 24 hours a day, providing America’s truck drivers with fuel, food, showers, repair services and opportunities to rest.”
To that end, truck-stop chains such as Pilot Flying J and Travel Centers of America have indicated in online updates that they are offering carryout food and are keeping their showers open. All fuel lanes remain open. They are also assuring drivers that they have stepped up their cleaning and disinfecting procedures. Pilot Flying J is also saying they strongly encourage drivers [to] use social distancing while in our stores.”
Love’s is also only offering drive-thru and carryout food. In a statement on their website, Love’s said, “At Love’s, we have always been committed to providing safe, clean and well-maintained stops that help get our drivers back on the road quickly. We’ll continue to make that a priority, along with the health and safety of our team members and you, our customer. In light of the developing COVID-19 situation, we’ve made some temporary changes to try to help better protect you and our employees.”
Additionally, drivers who are interested in information about safety precautions they can take during this crisis can go to the Customized Logistics and Delivery Association’s website which contains advice to carriers and drivers. Recommendations from CLDA include not shaking hands, avoiding driver lounges and at all times practicing social distancing (stay at least six feet away from anyone).