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Reasons Why Truck Drivers are Essential

The truck drivers of the world kept the world running when everything was grinding to a halt. We count on them to deliver critical supplies.

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ABCO Transportation
September 9, 2020
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The global pandemic shone a light on the trucking industry in a big way and solidified why truck drivers are essential. Why? Because come rain, shine and a global pandemic they were there. They were taking medicine through the night to hospitals. Truckers were there taking PPE to other essential workers. They were the ones delivering those essential items to house all over the world. 

The truck drivers of the world kept the world running when everything was grinding to a halt. In fact, in the face of food shortages, medicine shortages and toilet paper shortages - truckers drove through the night to get people what they needed. And for that, there is likely never going to be enough ‘thank yous’ said. These are the reasons why truck drivers are essential. 

In the meantime, let’s take a look at what it is that makes truck drives essential.

Truck Drivers Never Stop

truck-drivers-never-stop

When something is essential - it has to be done. Without it, things stop. Everything from lipstick to dialysis machines won’t get delivered. Truck drivers are on the road for weeks at a time, although some drivers do prefer to be away longer. Local truck and van drivers will most often be home each evening. Linehaul, dedicated and regional will typically be home every weekend. 

Like doctors, there are things that need to be done by truckers, and without them, things will stall. 

Freight demand saw a sharp rise during the early months of the coronavirus lockdowns. This was in part due to the huge amount of panic buying from consumers, and the masses of online orders too. Grocery stores were forced to act quickly, putting pressure on the transport industry to meet public demand. 

There were many news articles that noted that the trucking industry and new truckers are needed now more than ever. We have what you need to learn how to become a truck driver. Medical supplies and food supplies have been in high demand for months now, and that might not ease off until early 2021 - where some normality might arise. Hospital staff began to work round the clock to care for those who had COVID-19 and those who needed regular health care. 

Grocery stores couldn’t stock the shelves fast enough for the phenomenal amount of orders that happened. 

What was the sum of all of this? Truckers didn’t stop either. If the long haul truck drivers had shied away from the challenge, the whole world would’ve come to a stop. And, while there were many obvious heroes of the pandemic, truckers were the ones keeping the world running. Truck drivers are needed now more than ever, and the job will never be looked at in the same way again. 

Trucking is no longer just a job, truck drivers are essential workers. 

Transporting Medical Supplies

transporting-medical-supplies

Transporting life-saving medical supplies needs dedication and care. Medical equipment complexity and the cost of that equipment is rising every year. Shipping medical supplies and equipment is essential and is at the top of the list for the transport industry. 

During a pandemic, transporting medical supplies is the front-line. Eventually, coronavirus vaccine shipping for the virus will be critical too. It hasn’t been without its challenges and dangers but with the lack of supplies and demands increasing, freight companies needed to step up to the plate. And it wasn’t just trucks that felt the crushing blows of the medical supplies transportation challenges with travel. It was felt in the air with air transport and during sea transport  too. 

The demand for the fast delivery of medical supplies is like nothing we have seen before. 

When you heard that Prime Ministers, Medical Secretaries and Presidents were telling the public that they will be rolling out PPE, testing kits, and moving huge shipments of ventilation equipment to hospitals all over the globe; the task falls to the transportation companies to fulfil. 

Logistic Firms are Called on in Times of Crisis

Many transportation companies needed to make a quick and efficient pivot from delivering typical goods to life-saving medical equipment. Putting in long hours, tackling the many rules and regulations for entry into different countries, and even the next city over. 

As the pandemic spread through the world, transportation companies and truck drivers became the beacons of hope. Making sure that when nurses and doctors needed gloves, they arrived with haste. When people fell ill and needed ventilation machines, they were there as fast as possible. From face masks to medicine, transportation companies and truck drivers were essential.

So, what were the medical supplies list that required these extraordinary measures? Here you go:

  • Medical supplies and equipment related to testing, diagnosis and treatment
  • Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety and sanitation, such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants
  • Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centres or stores
  • Raw materials, such as paper, plastic or alcohol, required for the manufacture of medical supplies, sanitation items and safe distribution of groceries
  • Fuel
  • Equipment, supplies and people to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine and isolation facilities
  • People designated by Federal, Provincial/Territorial or local authorities for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes
  • People needed to provide other medical or emergency services

Transporting Essential Supplies

transporting-essential-supplies

What we thought was essential and was truly essential changed overnight. 

Throughout the most critical periods of the pandemic and long since the first countries began to lockdown, logistics and transport have played a vital role in the supply chain (as they always do). 

Country leaders all agreed that there must be support for people who wish to join the transport industry and that their contribution during the pandemic has been invaluable. 

The hours of truck drivers were modified to meet the demands of the world. 

What are the essential supplies?

Here are a number of the essential supplies as noted in the EU Commission COVID-19 document C(2020) 1753 final:

Essential supplies and services are those that are crucial to maintaining the availability of goods. In particular, this includes:

Guaranteed circulation of goods:

  • Protective Equipment and Supplies
  • Vital Medical Equipment and Supplies
  • Food Supplies, this include livestock

This allowed many countries to continue to keep some sort of economy going. And, although many small businesses began to suffer, the transport industry played a vital role in the supply chain - ensuring that all essential items were delivered. 

The key role that transport and logistics for the essential supplies have been highlighted, and noted as critical infrastructure. 

It was also asked of all member states to ensure that there were smooth and efficient border crossings for all freight transport, this included third countries, intra-EU and usage of green freight lanes. 

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Transporting to Grocery Stores

transporting-to-grocery-stores

It was reported early in 2020 that there was a shortage of truck drivers, and that it was going to have an impact on the food supply chain. This meant that grocery stores had empty shelves and people were unable to get the basic foodstuffs that they needed. While food industry heads stated there would be no food shortage, there were many large chains that didn’t have a scrap of toilet paper. 

The transportation links that move food around the globe were tested in ways that no one could predict. Yet in a matter of weeks, the shelves went from bare to a restock and then able to make those all-important deliveries. People all over the globe were able to sigh with relief. The grocery stores that had been so used to a steady and predictable food supply chain had a huge disruption. 

Again, the logistics and transportation industry stopped. Delivering essential food supplies to the most vulnerable as quickly as possible. 

The shortage of groceries has forced consumers to understand the supply chain. The primary production covers fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and seafood. It is essential that there is uninterrupted and safe transportation for all of the fresh produce - this supply chain is delicate and vital. With an initial shortage of truck drivers, much of the fresh produce was unable to get to the stores quickly enough. The other issues that followed were the grounding of aeroplanes. Leading to animal welfare issues and spoilage. 

There was a big call for refrigerated shipping containers and ambient trucks. While there was more than enough food to feed everyone, a combination of panic buying and logistic challenges meant we saw an increase of empty shelves. It was stabilized within a few weeks in almost all cases, due to the dynamic manoeuvres that the logistics companies pulled. 

Coronavirus Pandemic Safety Measures to Follow

coronavirus-pandemic-safety-measures-to-follow

Staying safe while delivering the good that is keeping the world ticking over is vital. Here are a number of things that you can do to protect yourself while making those all-important deliveries. 

These safety measures can be used for long or short distances, country or across the state borders.

Even a pandemic has impacted millions of people, most often, truckers are advised to take responsibility for how they personally interact with people. This includes keeping a high level of personal hygiene and social distancing too.

Here are a few things that you can do to help your next drive, or the next few drives and deliveries it goes smoothly.

Tiredness

Drivers were, in some cases, required to take the unusual measures of self-governing their stoppage. It is important that you recognize the signs of fatigue and make the correct decision about how long you can operate safely. This can be difficult when you know you are carrying life-saving and essential services equipment. However, it is a necessary step. 

Hand Washing

You will know by now that it is important to wash your hands. Everyone should wash their hands regularly anyway, but during a pandemic it should be something that Is done without question and more often. Everyone should be washing their hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. This will help to reduce any chance of illness. It is also vital that before you touch the steering wheel, and certainly before you eat any food at a truck stop.

Ensure that you have hand sanitizer on your person or in your truck, is it every time we get out of the truck and every time you get back in.

Vehicle

Almost all vehicles are already a hotbed for germs. And certainly, in the midst of a pandemic, it becomes even more essential for you to keep your vehicle clean. You should make sure that you get it sprayed with an antibacterial spray at the end of every day and that it’s given a deep clean at least once a week. 

Taking this step can also ensure that your vehicle doesn’t begin to smell too much, it can increase the lifespan of carpet and upholstery is within the vehicle. They should be part of your general maintenance anyway, but it is more fortunate to take care of it now.

Key places to disinfect: steering wheel, seat belt, wiper controls, the dashboard, air ducts, temperature controls, window controls or handle, light switches, arm and headrest, and seat cover. If your truck has a sleeper berth, you should also do all flat surfaces, mattress and other buttons and controls. 

The cleaning solution that the CDC recommends is products that meet the EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2. They should have 70% or more alcohol, or a diluted bleach solution. Follow the manufacturer's instructions and ensure that you clean your hands thoroughly afterwards. 

Paperwork

In order to help officials at the border be as efficient as possible, it is important that you make sure you have all your extra paperwork in order before you get to the border. Make sure it is somewhere that is easy to reach, and that you have spare copies just in case you need them. Usually, if you’re crossing any borders there are requirements and federal government websites that can give you the information you need. 

So it’s very important that you keep an eye on those requirements. This will ensure that you get the quickest possible border crossing. 

Communication

Wherever possible, you should communicate with dockworkers and managers with radio or mobile phone only. This will reduce the number of times that you spend outside of your truck and contact with other people. 

It is also vital that if you run into issues that you open the lines of communication quickly with your manager. If you are making local or regional deliveries, it can be a good idea to call the customer. 

How to Stay Safe in Truck Stops

how-to-stay-safe-in-truck-stops

The CDC has recognized that long haul truck drivers are at risk of catching COVID-19. There is a high chance of being exposed to the coronavirus during the times at truck-stops. At truck stops, you are more likely to have close contact with store workers, dock workers, other truck drivers, and truck stop attendance. Truck stops have a high vehicle and people traffic. Leading to an increased risk of exposure. 

PPE

It is now allowed for healthcare staff and other stuff to wear clothing like scarves and bandannas as a makeshift in the event that there is no mask available. If you don’t happen to have any disposable gloves with you, you can wear an old sweater around your waist and use this to open and close doors.

It has been noted that you can also wear sunglasses when you come into contact with individuals, as this can minimize any exposure. Also help protect your face if someone near you is coughing or sneezing.

Payment

When possible, avoid using cash. In general, cash is pretty unclean, even without a pandemic going on. Whenever possible use a contactless card to pay. You can also use Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung pay. This will limit the amount of contact that you get with hard services, money and other people.

At the pump

If you find that there are no disposable gloves at the pump, you could use a ride to pump your gas. You will often still be required to pay with a key if you are paying at the pump. If so, try to use a cloth or napkin as a barrier between your finger in the keypad, as this can help you to minimize your exposure. 

If you do have no choice but to use your hands to pump the gas and when paying make sure that you use your knuckles instead of the fingertips, and wash your hands straight after. And then apply a layer of hand sanitizer.

Eating

If you’re not typically one to make sandwiches and pack a thermos, now is the time to change those habits.

It’s not always the most convenient thing to do, and sometimes it cannot be feasible either. Where possible, try to do it. It is important that you are trying to avoid contact with others as much as possible, where possible order your food to go instead of eating inside restaurants. 

And if you do need to enter a restaurant for whatever reason, make sure that you try to buy bulk food and drink where you can. This is a great time to have a cooler in your cab and make sure it is filled up with ice. You also need to have things like your face mask prepared.

Public bathrooms

Of course, there will be times when nature calls, and you must, of course, go to the bathroom. One thing that you should definitely be prepared for is the possibility of having no toilet paper in the public restrooms. It’s a good idea before you head out on any of your transport jobs to have some toilet paper with you in your own truck.

A great tip here is if you often order takeout when you’re on the road, ask for extra napkins. Although not ideal this can be a great substitute. And certainly, after you have used the bathroom to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap where possible and apply a layer of hand sanitizer.

When it comes to opening doors, do so with your elbow or with your shoe. This will minimize the number of times that you touch surfaces that other people might not have cleaned. 

NOTE: There are many occasions where the public restrooms and rest areas are not available for use. It is important that you check in advance of stopping that the toilets are possible to use. Ahead of your journey, plan your stops and call ahead or check with your manager to see if there are facilities available to use. 

Showers

Long haul drivers will need to have a shower, once in a while. If you don’t already, and it’s time to bring some flip-flops in to stand in the shower, not only this can this protect you from other fungi and bacteria that typically live on the shower floor, this can you stop picking up COVID-19.

Make sure that you are taking with you a plastic bag to use to put your shower shoes in and keep the bottom of them away from you and your things at all times. Make sure that you thoroughly wash your arms, elbows, hair and face. If you usually use the hand dryers and hairdryers in a public restroom, it’s important to give this a miss. 

Air dryers and hairdryers have the ability to blow around the invisible surface matter, and the surface matter can be inhaled. Stick to using a towel that you have taken with you. 

As an extra precaution to make sure that you bring your own soap and shampoo. 

Sleeping

If you need to rent a motel or hotel room while you are on the road, it’s important you don’t just press the cleanliness of the surfaces. It is important to adhere to best practices like hand washing, after touching anything in the room and get those flip-flops out again. Make sure that you bring blankets sheets and even a pillowcase. 

If You Get Sick

If you come into contact with someone who has COVID-19, or you begin to feel ill, it is essential that you notify supervisors as soon as possible. Before you leave for any long-haul journeys, it is important that you have a plan with your employer and family about what you will do if you get sick while you are on the road. 

This should include where to stop, how you will seek medical advice and the plans for the delivery that you are currently transporting. 

You should then ensure that you meet all of the criteria for returning to work before you head back to work. You can seek information from your healthcare provider and employer. 

Why You Should Become A Truck Driver

If all of the above hasn’t convinced you that truck drivers are in high demand, and essential to keeping the world ticking over. Here are several that you should consider becoming a truck driver. 

Income potential

The bureau of labor reported that the median income for truck drivers over 2018 was $43,680 per year. New drivers typically and around $35,000 per year, however, some signing bonus is up to $5,000. There are also bonuses for safety and retention, and that can increase the overall salary amount.

One of the best things is that you don’t need a degree to be a truck driver, and training is often provided by the company that hires you.

Travel

If you like to drive in general and enjoy travelling to new places, then trucking is the ideal occupation for you. It’s often said that truckers get to see most of the country, behind the big wheel of the truck. If the idea of working in an office, answering telephones or date doesn’t do it for you, then you can travel the world, and certainly around your own country if you choose to be a truck driver.

Each evening will require a stop in a new part of the country on the way to make your deliveries. Each morning you’ll depart with the sunrise. The best part is you’ll get paid to see all of these views, and this is why you should become a truck driver today.

Trucking Community

The trucking industry is very neat and comes with its whole community—this truly more of a lifestyle than just a job. No one truly understands what a trucker goes through on a day-to-day quite like another trucker. And truckers often form quite a tight bond, and on those long journeys taking it in turns to take the lead and set the pace.

Job Security

It is no secret there is a shortage of truck drivers across the world and the benefits of joining this industry now is going to mean unprecedented job security. 

Training 

There are often truck driving training opportunities in every country. From commercial programs, during the colleges and even on the job training with an established company. 

Once the full training has been completed, it can take less than four weeks to get a job placement. You can find endorsements from different trucking companies for your career too, which could help you cover the fees of any schools.

If you don’t want to pay for training, many firms can offer paid training, and they will often exchange this for a fixed work commitment from you.

Benefits

Of course, knowing that you have lifelong job security, and get to travel, as well as a steady paycheck is a great thing. There are actually many added benefits to a typical job package. Most often, you will find that it will include a retirement plan, performance pie, health insurance. That’s usually just the start. Trucking companies do provide some of the most competitive packages to their staff.

You will often find they have the following benefits:

  • Paid vacation
  • Health, dental, and life insurance
  • 401k with a company-match
  • Pay raises or performance bonuses
  • Paid holidays

Freedom

There is something about a truck driving position that most jobs don’t offer. While some people do enjoy attending long meetings, and a desk, replying to emails. Others don’t. 

If you enjoy having a flexible schedule, the opportunity to meet new people, and seeing some beautiful sights as you drive, it’s certainly the best career choice for you.

Longhaul trucking means you’re going to be able to see the road, sunsets, sunrises; and the inside of modern trucks is designed for your complete comfort. You will, of course, have to follow hours of service but you are also in a position to set your own schedule for the rest.

It’s Time for the Perfect Career Change

Trucking can be a perfect career change, for those whose children have grown up and they are no longer doing school runs. Or for those who always have had a love of travelling and never been able to make use of it before. If you have a driving license and are ready to jump into the trucking training, then now can be the perfect time to start. 

There is no doubt that 2020 has proved the truck drivers are an essential part of the economy and have managed to ensure that everything from medical supplies to cleaning products have been delivered all over the world.

If you are interested in trucking and want to find out more about how you can start in your career, then fill out our trucking job application today to learn more. We have OTR, Regional truck driving jobs in Florida and limited local job opportunities. Call us today at 866-980-2710 and enjoy a new cab with a new company.

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