09 Apr COVID-19: 7 Ways to Be Driver Friendly During a Pandemic
Truck Drivers are Frontline Workers
We spend a lot of time talking about frontline healthcare workers, as we should; after all, they’re risking their lives to care for the sick during this pandemic. But we don’t spend a lot of time talking about truck drivers. And the truth is the truck driver is a frontline worker too. In fact, without truck drivers, manufacturers and distributors deemed essential by the government wouldn’t be able to get their essential freight to those who desperately need it.
There’s no arguing that truck drivers are an essential workforce. As Ron Applegate, a driver since 1991, said to Trevor Hughes in the USA Today, “ If the freight’s there, it’s got to move. If people are going to eat, the trucks are gonna move. If they need medical supplies, the trucks are gonna move. If we stop, the world stops.”
In fact, right now the nation’s 1.8 million truck drivers are still on the road keeping businesses and stores stocked, delivering to hospitals and medical facilities, and making sure consumers have enough grocery and toiletry items to make it through country-wide stay-at-home orders. In order to help drivers out during tough times, HOS rules have been relaxed to help drivers make their deliveries of essential goods.
But it’s not easy for these road warriors. Truck drivers spend a lot of time alone already, traveling long distances and long hours, often eating and sleeping in their trucks. But these days, with many rest areas and fast food establishments closed, truck drivers are more isolated than ever.
Social Distancing for Drivers
Even so, social distancing rules are extremely hard for them to follow because of crowded access points, the necessity of passing paperwork back and forth, loading or unloading cargo, and switching trucks among other things. In addition, Rachel Premack, writing for Business Insider points out that truck drivers are dependent on others like truck stop workers who clean shower booths and fast food workers who handle food. When you take in all these factors, social distancing is almost impossible.
Here at AMT, we talk to a lot of drivers over the course of a week, so we’ve got a pretty good idea of what they are dealing with these days. If you are a manufacturer or distributor of essential goods and are shipping or receiving you can do a few simple things to make your facility more driver friendly.
Be More Driver Friendly
- Provide gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer for drivers when they enter your facility.
- Provide access to clean bathrooms.
- Create social distancing markers on floors or along walls. California State University has a great list of ways to create these markers.
- Provide overnight parking. Many truckers are working more hours with less rest and fewer places to stay.
- Provide food options for tired drivers. Bagged lunches or a food truck on site is extremely helpful. Offer information about nearby restaurants open for take-out.
- Consider paperless options. This might include distance signatures and electronic bills of lading.
- Most importantly, be kind. Treat drivers as the heroes they are, risking their health during a pandemic to keep essential goods on the move.
If you can implement three or more of these tips, you’ll go a long way towards making your facilities a safer place for the drivers who deliver your products.