While truck drivers continue to provide goods and services over the road, concerns continue to rise over safety at rest stops. Just last week, President Trump was celebrating truck drivers amid the coronavirus pandemic. The President held an event noting states have been working to make accommodations for truck drivers nationwide. Although the public attention for truckers has been positive for the industry, many issues arise when drivers are traveling. A big problem is detention times, where facilities are understaffed, and detention times can be hours. Thus, leaving drivers without access to food and water or even restrooms.
The coronavirus, or COVID-19, has changed life as we know it to a ‘new normal’ in less than a month. The trucking industry has had to do a total overhaul on how they can operate during this time.
There are many people we should thank for being true heroes during the COVID-19 pandemic, but one profession that is often overlooked are the nation’s truck drivers. They risk their lives every single day to deliver medical supplies, dried goods, food and beverages and other vital supplies that are needed during this crisis. Like almost everyone else, every day activities are also very different for them.
Yesterday, in response to the spread of COVID-19, Pennsylvania state officials decided to close all Pennsylvania highway rest stops. After the message was made public, many truck drivers were stuck trying to find sites where they could make stops to rest and use facilities. Industry officials said, “these closures were making the job of the haulers more difficult as they keep goods flowing during the pandemic.” Based on feedback from the transportation industry, PennDOT reopened the 13 most utilized rest areas by truckers out the 30 rest stops that were closed. “At these locations, PennDOT will be taking down the barricades on some facilities in critical locations and making them available for truck parking. Portable restroom facilities will be available at all these locations: each location will have five portable toilets, one of which is ADA-accessible, that will be cleaned once a day,” said Alexis Campbell a spokesperson for PennDOT.