abc27 Senior Investigator Kendra Nichols discusses the challenges facing the trucking industry during the COVID-19 pandemic with Kevin Stewart, CEO & President of the Pennsylvania Motor Trucking Association (PMTA).
“They are the first ones out there making those essential deliveries. They are delivering the goods that we need to restock our stores. They are delivering test kits for coronavirus. It is a all hands on deck approach. They are delivering America right now. ,” said Kevin Stewart, President &CEO, Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association.
While President Trump’s emergency declaration has allowed truck drivers to operate longer hours in order to deliver much needed supplies many rest areas have been closed. abc27 reported some of the rest stops have been re-opened but the trucking industry is calling for more to be re-opened.
“There are 13 of 30 that they are re-opening. We need to reopen all of those rest areas back up. It is very important that the drivers be able to clean up, get a shower, have something to eat. The president passed an emergency declaration to allow drivers to operate longer hours so it is even more important now to have places where they can get needed rest and the closures of those rest areas make it very difficult,” said Stewart. “
With many restaurants closing finding food has also been a challenge for drivers.
“Some places are just offering drive up service and our drivers can’t take a tractor trailer through a drive thru window. If you see a driver at a Burger King or McDonalds parking lot, ask if you can go get their food for them and go through the drive thru window and get them the necessary food they need,” said Stewart.
Some drivers are also traveling to areas hit hard by the coronavirus.
“Shippers and receivers are starting to talk to drivers and asking them how they feel, where are you coming from, because they want to try and prevent the spread as well. Our drivers are out there in contact with people, so it is important we keep them healthy. It is a real sacrifice on part of the drivers and their families as well. ” said Stewart.