Truck Drivers: “Not All Heroes Wear Capes”

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.

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PennDOT Reopens Rest Stops

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.

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Demand for women truck drivers is continuing to grow

Since 2010 the number of female truck drivers has increased by 68 percent. While the vast majority of drivers are men, women are often-overlooked candidates who can also excel in these roles. Companies in the trucking industry have struggled to fill open positions, and the problem continues to grow because of high turnover, retirement and increased demand for goods. In 2018, the national trucker shortage was 60,800, by 2028 they are projecting 160,000 open positions within the trucking industry.

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Driver Shortages on the Rise

The increase in truck driver shortages could be a serious problem for the U.S. economy in the future. Driver shortages were up 20% in 2018 and this trend is continuing in 2019. Within the next decade, United States industries could see the highest driver shortage in U.S. history.

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Tough Times in Trucking

Trucking companies across the country have experienced a rough first half of 2019.  Coming off a profitable and robust 2018, the transportation industry has taken a one step forward, two steps back, which is causing many trucking companies to shutter their doors and leave thousands of drivers unemployed.  There are many factors that have led to a shaky 2019 for trucking.  Let’s take a look at a few.

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