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Trucking in a Pandemic: What Drivers and Companies Need

Truck drivers are in high demand since the start of the pandemic. All across the country, there is a shortage of medical supplies and groceries. Entire cities and states rely on these truck drivers to deliver essential goods, especially to remote areas. That’s why, although the job is risky for them, many choose to continue driving because they know that communities are relying on them.

However, businesses and firms can also do their part to ease the challenges they are facing.

Automation

Every day, truck drivers travel across cities and states, putting themselves at high risk of being infected. They have to interact with multiple people at every station and pit stop and assist in the logistics. This can be dangerous for them as they can carry the virus with them to other areas. Aside from that, it will be harder to trace back who or where they had caught it.

One solution to this is to make use of technology to automate specific tasks. For instance, check-ins and documentation can probably be done through a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution. These are also good for tracking the driver’s location, giving an estimated time for package or goods arrival. It will reduce contact with other people, and these devices can be regularly disinfected for added measure.

Some of the more advanced logistics technology include machines that can load and unload supplies from the truck. This can be extremely helpful for truck drivers to avoid extra work between drop off points. It would also be best to create a system for tracking the number of items being delivered at a given time.

Increase compensation

Currently, there are 80,000 fewer truck drivers than there was last year. A shortage of drivers already existed before the pandemic, but now it has worsened as many were unable to pass health checks or are forced to stay at home for safety reasons. New government regulations have now allowed for truck drivers to have longer hours because of this, but that does not mean it makes it easier.

Drivers are working longer and more frequently because of the pandemic. To add to the delivery process, loading and unloading, drivers have to add cleaning and sanitizing to their routine. Some are working for as much as 60 hours every week. Many of them have even struggled to find places to eat, sleep, and shower because most areas have been closed.

The simplest way that companies can give back to these drivers is to increase their benefits. A higher salary is one thing, but more paid vacations can also make a big difference. Overworking drivers can become their downfall if they start becoming sick or worse. Groups should also try reaching out to respective organizations to find more ways to compensate these drivers.

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Support

For those outside the industry, you can help truck drivers by rallying support for policies that benefit them. Many of these drivers are experiencing health complications as a result of long hours of driving. This can lead to exhaustion and high levels of stress. Not all of them can get the medical assistance that they need, so access to medical supplies would be important to them.

Aside from that, the company has to ensure that they get regular health check-ups to ensure their safety. The costs of this should not be put on the drivers. Medical equipment such as face masks, gloves, rubbing alcohol, and sanitizers should be readily available and provided by the employer at every drop off location.

Companies should also look into providing legal support for truck drivers on the road. A truck accident attorney would determine where true liability is. They would also help with negotiations with insurance companies to ensure that they get enough money for their expenses.

Logistics and transportation companies also need to look at contingency plans for when there is a medical emergency. Since truck drivers are often days or weeks on the road, they can get sick while traveling. Companies also need a strategy on what to do with drivers that catch COVID-19. Many of them get worried about how they can return home if they ever catch the virus while on the road.

Truck drivers are a vital part of the United States’ economy. Without them, the flow of goods will come to a halt, and both businesses and ordinary residents will be drastically affected. That is why active efforts to ensure their safety is important, especially now.

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