Traffic over the last few weeks has been noticeably lighter as Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s stay-at-home order has been in effect. But, with essential businesses still open, Ohio’s truckers continue to travel the roads getting products where they need to be, though the coronavirus threat has created some additional challenges for the men and women moving America’s goods.
Located just north of Dayton, Jet Express has a fleet of around 1,100 trucks. They deliver automotive parts and supplies all over states east of the Mississippi. Jet Express President Kevin Burch says business is definitely slower.
“Because of the virus, it's been a difficult time,” he says.
So now, the company is delivering non-automotive goods as well to keep their trucks on the road. Burch says many drivers face some new challenges.
Many of the businesses where truckers might typically pull over for a meal or take a break are closed or off-limits because of social distancing measures. Several states also shut down their Motor Vehicle bureaus because of the COVID-19 threat and some drivers were having difficulty getting their licenses renewed.
Burch says state governments have helped though, in some cases reopening truck stops that were closed and offering six-month extensions on licenses and business certifications.
And, he adds, there’s another positive change happening on the roads today.
“People are much friendlier. The drivers have been telling me personally that they're doing the ‘hand down to your horn’ type of thing with the kids, and people take pride that driver is there.
There are more than 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the U.S. and many trucking and delivery companies say, despite the business slowdown, they are in need of more drivers.
As the pandemic and COVID-19 threat progresses in the U.S., the trucking industry is keeping the safety of its drivers in the forefront by promoting adherence to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for employers to disinfect their facilities.
They also recommend drivers use the general practices provided by the Technology & Maintenance Council for in-cab cleaning and sanitation.