Posted by Fernando Correa ● Jun 9, 2020 1:34:41 PM

How the DOT is Protecting Truck Drivers During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Trucker Driver wearing PPE

The coronavirus pandemic has made a significant impact on the economy and supply chains throughout the United States. During this crisis, truck drivers continue to play a vital role in keeping society going by transporting critical, life-saving medical supplies needed by healthcare workers in the fight against the coronavirus.

Truckers have stayed behind the wheel, hauling the most essential of necessities consumers need throughout North America. During this time of crisis, our trucking heroes have not always received the thanks or care they deserve for putting themselves at risk during these unprecedented times. 

This attitude is now changing, as the U.S. Department of Transportation has taken steps to protect truck drivers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Challenges that Truckers Face on the Road

Life on the road has never been easy for truckers, and the coronavirus pandemic has worsened it. Many truckers haven't been allowed to leave their trucks while making deliveries to use bathrooms. They could only get food at specific locations. Some even reported not being allowed to stretch their legs while their rigs were unloaded. 

With many fast-food restaurants resorting to drive-thru only as they have locked down their dining rooms, truckers have had difficulties because it is practically impossible to drive a big rig through a small drive-thru lane.

The situation began to improve with more truck stops opening back up and restoring much-needed services to truckers. The DOT loosening some restrictions that truckers typically comply with. 

Then the issue of having to wear masks began as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued guidelines to help stop the spread of the virus through community transmission. In complying with recommended CDC guidelines, many states have implemented that everyone must wear masks when entering any stores or restaurants, which includes rest stops.


US Dept of Transportation Main Office Front

The DOT Steps Up to Help Truckers

It has been well-publicized about the shortages of personal protection equipment across the country - including masks. As more masks have become available, companies have distributed them to their drivers. But because masks are still in short supply overall, many truckers have been left to trying to find them at truck stops and travel centers, or have had to improvise masks on the fly with whatever items are available on the road.

The DOT recently donated 200,000 masks for distribution, along with the 800,000 masks provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). These one million masks are being distributed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) at rest areas throughout eight states, including multiple locations to truck drivers for free:

  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Nebraska
  • New York City and State
  • Texas

More locations will become available as areas in need are identified. These efforts on behalf of the DOT, FEMA, and the FMCSA aim to help truckers stay safe and stay in compliance with requests to wear masks where required during the coronavirus crisis.

FMCSA Acting Administrator Jim Mullen in his announcement regarding the mask distribution recently stated:

"Under Secretary Chao's leadership, the Department of Transportation been supporting America's truckers during this challenging time. We have all seen the incredible efforts that the nation's commercial drivers are making each day to deliver goods and supplies to homes, businesses, and hospitals throughout America. With the help of our state partners and the motor carrier industry, these protected masks will help truckers remain safe and healthy while they continue to maintain our nation's supply chain."


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Stay Connected with Us for More COVID-19 News

Now, more than ever, it is a great time to discover the benefits of Cargobot's digital platform connecting shippers and carriers. 

This easy to use service allows shippers to find the best carriers to always get their shipment to their destination on time without the need for a middle man. Real-time tracking, 24/7 tech support, and electronic document storage are a few of the main benefits of using Cargobot for freight shipping.

Stay connected with us by following our blog, where we keep you up to date with the latest industry news, including the fast-moving changes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Topics: Carriers/Truckers