While millions of people across the country are driving a lot less these days than they're accustomed to, that really isn't the case for many truckers. Deliveries still have to be made in a timely manner, and with traffic thinning out nationwide, many pro haulers are seeing more of their compatriots on the road and fewer other motorists.
However, while the job of a trucker has become a bit easier with less traffic and almost nothing resembling rush-hour conditions, there are other concerns many drivers still have, according to the Boston Herald. For instance, in continuing to work and interact with a wide range of people - from gas station attendants to loading dock workers - they put themselves at greater risk for coronavirus infection.
Many other experts note that it's not just normal traffic that's down; truckers also have less work to do, as some industry figures show commercial vehicles have covered 13% fewer miles than normal nationwide in recent weeks, the report said. Depending upon how long the pandemic lasts - and some estimates show it could stretch on well beyond the end of 2020 - these conditions could change dramatically.
Understanding the situation
Because of the elevated risk truckers face, many of them believe their employers and partners aren't doing enough to properly insulate them from a variety of risks, according to Connecticut television station WTNH. Even beyond the obvious and understandable concern about drivers coming down with coronavirus, they also say they've experienced problems with rising prices and smaller shares of money paid by brokers because business is down.
In Connecticut and elsewhere, drivers have been compelled to hold rallies in protest of these practices, in hopes of raising awareness among lawmakers and the general public, the report said. However, any regulations that may come as a result of these demonstrations could take weeks, months or more to be enacted.
Open roads, closed doors
Finally, truckers are also reporting that, because so many businesses have shuttered or significantly reduced their hours due to the coronavirus outbreak, they're also having a little more difficulty finding places to stop and take a break, according to Memphis, Tennessee, station WREG. Certainly, the fact that it's mostly smooth sailing on the nation's highways and byways these days helps make up for that fact, but truckers are making do any way they can.
The good news is that with more businesses reopening soon, difficulties for drivers on this front may return to relatively normal conditions in the near future. However, it's still important for freight companies and brokers to make sure they continue to offer drivers higher pay (and, when applicable, excellent benefits) in addition to providing safety gear that reduces infection risk.
It's a tough world out there for everyone these days, and anything that can be done to make drivers' jobs easier should be undertaken as soon as possible. They're part of the glue that's helping hold society together right now, and supporting them in any way is critical to ensuring ongoing recovery.
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