Safety Tips for Drivers During Covid-19
If there's one thing that's been on everyone's minds around the world the last couple of months, it's COVID-19. The pandemic has disrupted life in the United States and globally, from daily routines to business practices. Amidst the chaos, truckers remain essential workers that keep the country running. Crucial not only to the economy, truckers also are transporting vital medical supplies to those combating the virus, brining goods to grocery stores, and even helping deliver items to customers' homes so they can stay safe. However, with working on the front lines comes the inherent concern for safety. Luckily, many organizations are coming to the aid of truckers as they keep the country moving.
A major concern for the FMCSA, as well as all transportation employers, is the safety of truckers on the front lines. Truckers are in such high demand to keep the country running that the FMCSA even released a waiver allowing non-CDL drivers to operate vehicles and transport loads under certain conditions. That's not the only thing the FMCSA has done to support essential drivers during these times. In response to concerns for truckers' health, the FMCSA helped FEMA with the distribution of over 1 million masks nationwide to protect drivers. Additionally, the administration issued an expanded national emergency declaration addressing concerns on working hours of drivers hauling emergency supplies. The declaration stipulated mandatory relief for emergency supply drivers, including a minimum of 10 hours off-duty if transporting property, and 8 for transporting people. This declaration addresses the concern for driver safety regarding increased hours on the road to keep up with long hauls of emergency supplies.
Truck stops are even stepping up to help drivers stay safe. Sanitizer and other supplies are in short supply, but a driver is going to need plenty on a daily basis to stay safe. The American Trucking Associations are hauling 10 55-gallon drums of hand sanitizer for truckers in several states. The sanitizer was purchased by Protective Insurance Company in the hopes of protecting front line workers. Sanitizer will be available for free refills for truckers in stops in 8 states. To find a location near your route, check the list here.
Here are some safety tips you can easily add to your routine:
- When getting gas, don't forget to wear your gloves! Fuel pumps are some of the dirtiest things at a truck stop. Even a towel or old shirt can be a good barrier when touching those public surfaces to minimize exposure. Of course, be sure to wash your hands or use sanitizer after.
- Stock up on foods. If you have a mini fridge or cooler, fill it with plenty of snacks and ingredients to make on-the-go meals. You'll want to limit your stops at grocery stores and restaurants, so you don't need to go inside!
- If you choose to stay in a hotel, be sure to wipe surfaces before touching them. Keep some disinfectant in your cab in case you need it! For a list of open truck stops with safety measures, see here.
- Wear your face protection anytime you're near other people. Even though you will be 6 feet apart with social distancing, wearing a face mask is key. If you don't have a face mask, a bandana works as well. Be sure to wash your mask regularly to disinfect it (if it's reusable).
- Social distance as much as possible! If it's not necessary to help, remain in your cab while loading and unloading to limit your direct contact with others.
The most important tip for drivers during this time, however, is to stay positive! While the pandemic has resulted in stress, major lifestyle changes, and even financial hardships, it isn't permanent, and many states are beginning the process of reopening. What will last, however, is the respect drivers deserve. Without truckers, important medical supplies, groceries, and more would be out of reach to those in need. Truckers keep the country moving, and we at JobsInTrucks thank you for your hard work! As states begin to reopen, transportation companies will begin to increase their demand even more than throughout the pandemic. If you're looking to find a new career in trucking, now is the best time. Explore our hundreds of thousands of actively recruiting opportunities here!