Before the Pandemic, most would say that they take the trucking industry for granted. As long as there is no indication that there would be a shortage of goods, no further thought was given. Those in the truck industry and particularly the long haulers, played and are playing a crucial role in sustaining the life of the US population to as normal a life as possible. They are playing a vital role in keeping the supply lines open.
These drivers face many additional challenges outside of the normal ones that are part of their daily routine.
Self-Quarantine From Their Families
Many truckers don’t want to return home for fear that they may have contracted the virus during their deliveries. Although they take as many precautions as necessary, they still don’t feel comfortable returning to their family environment. Instead, many of them have adopted the attitude that they will keep on trucking as long as possible.
For them, the isolation that they are contending with is not out of the norm. They are used to being restricted to their trucks for long periods. Social distancing is only a concern for them during their drop-offs, pickups, and roadside stops.
Dealing With The Isolation
Although used to being isolated on their long hauls, the big difference is they don’t have that time at home to look forward to. The Pandemic has created a heavy demand for what these truckers do. They have not failed the public yet, and if it weren’t for them, one could only imagine what state the country would be.
For the average trucker during this time, most of the twenty-four hours in a day are spent in their trucks. For those working for companies providing good rigs, this is less of a strain. Still, no matter how prestigious the truck is, there is the loneliness to contend with.
Many drivers responsible for delivering critical PPE supplies found their hours for driving to be significantly extended. This was done through the lifting of some regulations. Such as the regulation for only being allowed to work fourteen hours a day with 11 hours of driving. Drivers still have to take a 10-hour break after delivery of their goods or pull over if they are tired.
Reports show that there are over three million truckers throughout the United States. Out of these, 1.8 million are heavy truck operators or tractor-trailer operators. Within this category, it spans across short haul drivers to tankers transporting liquids, and more.
Reduction of Critical Resources
One of the lifelines for truckers is the many truck stops they use during their hauls. The virus caused many of these to be shut down, leaving truckers in terrible situations. No access to bathrooms, food, and shower facilities made the working conditions unbearable for the truckers. Although some efforts were made to partially open some of these stops, their services are limited, which adds additional challenges for the drivers committed to getting their deliveries to their destinations on time.