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Trucking survey learns about drivers’ worries while on the road during pandemic

Posted at 11:46 AM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 11:46:57-04

Across the country, people have been eagerly checking their local store shelves for necessary supplies and groceries, while they stay quarantined at home from the COVID-19 pandemic. Behind the scenes, truck drivers have been hauling that valuable freight with a new sense of pride.

"They're being kind of the unsung heroes and going to get the freight to deliver critical medical supplies," said FreightWaves reporter Clarissa Hawes.

While truck drivers nationwide continue to work, many are concerned about their safety. Online logistics publication FreightWaves recently put out a survey to see how drivers were being treated during this time.

"There were 130 motor carriers that took the survey and it ranged from CEOs to the director of operations and drivers," explained Hawes.

Survey results showed 55 percent reported their drivers have seen closed truck stops while out delivering supplies. Roughly 76 percent said they've seen closed rest stops. Clarissa Hawes says these rest and truck stops are crucial for drivers who are sometimes on the road for weeks at a time. They rely on these facilities for bathrooms and showers.

"Then, it's the hand washing and not having access to that as well," said Hawes.

FreightWaves also surveyed drivers on treatment shipping and receiving facilities. Some, like driver Thomas Mitchell who took a photo of a sign warning drivers to stay far away, are being locked out of offices amid the coronavirus pandemic. Others are finding they're being treated better than before. Driver Wayne Cragg recently picked up a load of toilet paper.

"They had just for us truckers--one thing of toilet paper if we needed it and wipes,” Cragg said. “So, Kimberly Clarke was saying 'Thank you, truckers!'"

Still, the biggest issue for truck drivers is the lack of protective gear, such as masks hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Even at truck stops, they're finding supplies sold out and many are worried--as they deliver to COVID-19 hot spots around the country--that they're not being shielded properly from the virus themselves.

Global Coronavirus Tracker:

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Data from The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.