For many transport services, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a hard hit. For truck drivers, they have felt some hard times but there is a silver lining for some. Graham Hinsch is a driver currently making his rounds across the US. We spoke with him in regards to his life on the road during the lockdown.
How has COVID-19 Affected Transport On Your End?
“COVID-19 hasn’t really hurt many things as a truck driver in my experience. Driving a semi-truck is an isolated day for the majority so we truckers are more than prepared for social distance and being alone. It’s helped as far as traffic.”
Drivers typically live a self-isolated lifestyle. The cab typically allows for drivers who make extended trips to eat sleep and live with the proper essentials. Typically, they leave their cab for food, bathroom brakes (including showering) and to refill their gas tanks. For the most part, if a driver uses caution such as using gloves at the pump and washing after using a public rest stop, the threat of the virus can typically be deterred.
Have Their Been Any Improvements That You Have Encountered While On The Road?
One major benefit is fewer cars on the road. This means less traffic and I deliver water and food mostly so it’s given me some more motivation to work harder and longer hours. I deliver essential items to people.
DOT has lifted the regulations that we would get ticketed before for doing. Such as time limits. 70 hrs on duty was the limit before you needed a 34-hour reset and my company is still keeping that. Other companies and owner-operators have removed that time limit so you have many truckers working non stop and like the good old days when we weren’t told when we have to sleep or drive by an electronic system.
Have you Received Public Support As A Truck Driver?
Yes, this is the first time we have public support and recognition in my life since I started driving. The police don’t seem to be pulling us over and the weigh stations are closed so that’s definitely less stress for us.
I see signs and people thanking us. I’m not and as far as I know, the majority of us are not receiving hazard pay. Which is fine unless we get sick and get our wives or children sick is really my only concern with receiving that extra pay. But at the same time with so many people not working many of us don’t want an extra dime and are happy that we aren’t getting harassed or dealing with the many commuters who were driving daily before.
Thank You To All Drivers Currently Out On Transport During This Time
Prior to current events, the trucking industry hit a hard point. Many long standing and experienced drivers started to move into retirement and with the appeal of the industry, not many have decided to venture into trucking as a career. With COVID-19 leaving many stores and pharmacies without the proper necessities for citizens under the “stay at home” policy. With the already established challenges of the industry, plus the lack of skilled and able drivers, many who are on the road are becoming overextended and away from their families and loved ones.
Still, drivers push forward to help America continue to move, despite having the same worries that the rest of the country faces. To them, we say thank you. Without trucking, we have nothing. Your efforts are crucial and do not go unnoticed to us. For those still on the road and not delivering, wave to a driver and do something to show that the country and its people support the men and women on transport.