Truckers During the Pandemic
Gr Trucking | Concrete Recycling | Material Trucking | Sacramento
The coronavirus pandemic has presented new opportunities and challenges to the trucking industry. Because 70% of America’s freight travels by truck, many of the country’s 3.5 million truck drivers are finding themselves on the road and busier than ever. However, small trucking companies and independent truckers find themselves suffering. Today we will look at how the pandemic has benefited some drivers but hurt others.
The outbreak has led the federal government to lift restrictions on total hours medical supplies truckers spend on the road each day. This is the first time that the rule has been suspended in 82 years. Truckers hauling medical supplies are now in high demand and are able to be compensated with more hours available for them to work. Similarly, large trucking companies are recognizing that their drivers are putting their lives at risk every single day they are on the road. Because of this, employers are upping their employee benefits. One Nebraska trucking company is promising two additional weeks off with pay if their drivers were to get sick. From increased hours to improved work benefits, many drivers have seen great opportunities from this pandemic.
In turn, many small trucking companies and independent truckers are suffering. The trucking industry did not receive a federal stimulus bailout. Some trucking companies were eligible for small-business loans, but many were not. This has led many small trucking companies to shut down or file for bankruptcy. For independent contractors, they find themselves driving without health insurance or other benefits. If they get sick with the virus, they are out of work with no financial help. Seven in ten truck drivers reported lower pay and more dangerous working conditions during the pandemic and many are demanding that local governments ensure trucking companies comply with their orders to provide employees with face coverings, hand sanitizer, and other protections. Though labeled as essential workers, many truckers are not getting the attention and protection as other essential workers on the front lines.
The pandemic has caused major changes within the trucking industry. Benefiting some yet hurting others. Just like many of us, the industry is hoping to minimize the damage caused by this crisis. Hopefully, the industry, and specifically the ones hurting, will be able to survive.