The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every industry in 2020, in one way or another. The trucking industry is bracing itself for the aftereffects of COVID-19 and the so called, ‘COVID hangover’ as it is being labeled by major industry websites. We saw a lot of extensions being put into place in 2020 due to the driver shortage and the pandemic. These extensions will most likely play out into 2021 as COVID-19 trudges forward.
Last year, Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDLs) and permit expiration dates were extended. Training schools and motor vehicle administrations stopped accepting new applicants, while many other vehicle transactions were also put off because of the pandemic. Commercial Vehicle Training Association President Don Lefeve says, “What I fear is that, even when you get people inoculated, you’re still going to have the COVID hangover, so to speak. You are going to have not only CDL transactions, but just the normal motor vehicle transactions that have largely been put off because of COVID. What’s that going to do to the DMV? In many states, that’s still going to lead to further backlogs.”
What happens when COVID-19 extensions are dropped, and training schools begin accepting full capacity of students again? Post-COVID is when the trucking industry will be faced with many challenges and will continue to confront issues that existed both before the pandemic and during it. Licenses will need renewed, vehicles will need serviced, random drug testing will start back up in full swing. No one can really be too sure how everything will pan out after COVID, but the trucking industry is aware and will prepare itself for the so called ‘COVID hangover’.