If the shelves in your grocery store have anything on them, after almost a month of “lockdown,” you can thank a truck driver. During the coronavirus crisis, they might be the most unsung heroes in the country and the world right now.
Their work is considered essential, which it is, because if they weren’t trucking, our shelter-in-place lives would not only be less comfortable, we wouldn’t even have basic necessities. Hospitals would not have the supplies they need to treat coronavirus patients or anyone else.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2018 there were almost 2 million truck drivers working in the US. They average about $21 per hour or around $50,000 a year. The trucking industry, in 2019, was worth $700 billion.
These drivers move over 71% of all freight in the country, and without them, the country would not be able to function. They are the reason the almost nationwide lockdown isn’t interrupting our supply chain in a crippling way. Many regulations have been lifted to help truckers get essential goods, like food and medical supplies, to go where they need to go.
According to the Sacramento Bee:
Truckers bringing medical supplies to hospitals are clearly exempt from a long list of restrictions, as are food deliveries. So are truckers carrying cattle. Livestock are a “precursor” to food, and the government is keeping the food production chain, from farm to market, open.
These truckers are vital, just as vital as medical personnel in getting the country through the coronavirus crisis and lockdown. Indeed, the hospitals are also dependent on trucking to get the essentials they need to treat the victims of the virus.
Truck drivers risk getting coronavirus
Many truck drivers fall into risk categories for the coronavirus.
From the Trucker’s Report:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, truck drivers anywhere from two to five times as likely to experience high isk factors.
- Trucker obesity rate (69%) vs American average (31%)
- Trucker morbid obesity rate (17%) vs American average (7%)
- Truckers who regularly smoke cigarettes (51%) vs American average (10%)
- Truckers with Diabetes (14%) vs American average (7%)
- Truckers without health insurance (38%) vs American average (17%)
- Trucker average age (55 years old) vs American average (38.2 years old)
If truckers think they have coronavirus it is hard for them to get tested. It is also hard for them to get home if they are sick.
Essential services missing
In spite of their importance, truckers are finding it difficult to get essential services while they do their important work.
Truckers are facing many obstacles. More and more truck stops are closed, making it harder to fuel up and use a restroom. Many highway rest stops have also been closed, depriving truckers of safe places to rest. Some drivers have quit driving during the lockdown to avoid the virus.
So, be thankful for the truckers when you see the milk, cheese, toilet paper and everything else on the shelves at your stores.
You can meet a few of the truckers in this video below: