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.
Fleets have mastered how to manage the safety of its drivers, follow the federal and state regulations, and deal with risk management. Trucks are waiting in line for hours to get loaded and unloaded at shipping facilities, and this has affected drivers in many ways. Tom Moore, executive vice president for the National Private Truck Council (NPTC) said the following: “There are constant changes within the industry — daily changes; hourly changes; changes at the federal, state, and local levels; health advisories — and there is a lot of confusion and misinformation,” Moore explained. “The best advice is to be transparent. Do as much research and get as much knowledge as you can to make data-driven decisions, and make sure your team members understand that you’re not going to have all the answers, but you’re going to try and help them be successful and healthy. You have to let your drivers and entire team understand that you really care about what they’re doing, appreciate what they’re doing, and make sure you are communicating in a manner that is timely, accurate, and that shows you care,” he added.
Two of the larger items being discussed are reducing risk and working around regulatory waivers/exemptions and looking into loans or grants to keep small trucking business’ afloat during this crisis. It is beneficiary to educate drivers on how to stay safe and provide them with the resources to do so. There are new exemptions and policies are ever changing. To keep drivers on the road to deliver the essentials and medical equipment we need daily, the laws on Hours of Service (HOS) have been updated and can vary state by state, but the state governments are striving to keep them in line with the standard HOS regulations. The main goal is to protect the drivers, to not burn them out, and ensure proper safety of all.