Trump Ensures Safety of Truck Drivers with PPE donation
Truck drivers are heroes of the American continent, particularly during this period of the COVID-19 outbreak. For months, they have been leaving their homes to deliver supplies to families at all times during the national crisis.
They connect every grocery, manufacturer, hospital, business, and the community. However, truckers and drivers recently complained about putting their lives on the line as they serve the people due to a lack of protective equipment to protect themselves against the coronavirus.
In effect, they sent a direct appeal to the Trump Administration to offer them quick turnaround tests for the virus, treatment strategies needed, and personal protective equipment (PPE). In an unprecedented move, the president donated 1 million masks to the truck drivers.
The Demand for Truck Drivers Has Become a Nationwide Phenomenon
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the nation has seen “panic buying,” which has tripled the work of truck drivers. Across the US, hand sanitizer sales, for instance, witnessed an increase of 228% within the first four weeks of March, compared to last year’s statistics.
Business Insider also reported that during the first two months of 2020, the sales of flu, cough, and cold products across the top 80 online retailers in the US grew by 198%. Virus protection items and canned foods similarly jumped 817% and 69%, respectively.
But everything, from hand sanitizers to pharmaceuticals, has been moved through truck driving. Of course, foods and drinks as well as toiletries are moved by trucks before they arrive at consumers’ doorsteps, hospitals, or the big stores.
Without truck driving services, most people would go homeless, hungry, and naked during the pandemic. They are doing their best to ensure there is less social contact with those who are not in essential duties so that they get all their necessities in their homes.
In order to support the relief efforts by the government during the emergency, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that it has temporarily lifted the 1938 trucking safety law, which restricts the number of hours that truck drivers spend on the road.
Some of the types of loads that have been exempted from FMCSA’s law include:
• Emergency restocking foods for stores
• Supplies, equipment, and persons needed to establish temporary housing, isolation, and quarantine facilities related to the crisis response
• Persons designated for isolation, quarantine, or medical purposes
• Medical equipment and supplies related to diagnosis, testing, and treatment of coronavirus
• Equipment and supplies needed for sanitation, community safety, and prevention of the COVID-19 transmission
• Persons needed to provide emergency services during the crisis
Truckers Receive 1 Million Masks
In collaboration with the president Administration, the FMCSA is distributing 1 million face masks to truck drivers. FMCSA has been working closely with other relevant stakeholders in the transport industry, including motor carriers to deliver the protective face masks.
Out of the 1 million masks, 800,000 are to be distributed across 8 states: Texas, New York, Illinois, Georgia, California, Arkansas, Indiana, and Nebraska. The remaining 200,000 face masks are to be distributed to motor carriers, who would then deliver them to drivers.
The acting FMCSA Administrator, Jim Mullen, acknowledges the efforts made by the country’s commercial drivers to deliver supplies and goods to businesses, homes, and hospitals every single day. He noted that the protective masks would help truckers to remain healthy and safe while they continue to support the economy during the crisis.
In further response to the crisis, FMCSA has taken an unprecedented move to support the motor carrier industry and the country’s supply chain, through several measures. This includes taking steps to enable drivers to get their commercial driver’s licenses, ensuring that rest stops and truck parking are open 24 hours a day, and making a declaration of the national emergency service hours.
Trump Recognizes the Efforts of Truck Drivers
The President recognized the significant role of truck drivers in the American economy. During a White House event that took place on April 16, the president thanked the country’s truck drivers for ensuring that the people received essential goods and services, referring to them as “lifeblood” of the economy. Asking whether they would switch their jobs for anyone, he went ahead to call drivers the “heroes of the nation’s great struggle against the COVID-19 outbreak.”
Naming the event “Thank God for Truckers,” the president described all truck drivers as foot soldiers who are carrying the nation to victory as they are playing a significant role in vanquishing the virus. He invited several drivers to his podium, giving them the chance to share their personal stories of working during the pandemic and how the product delivery process has changed.
Stephen Richardson, a professional driver working with Triple G Express, Charlton Paul, who is serving at UPS Freight, and Tina Peterson, all spoke about their experiences during the pandemic.
During the crisis, truck drivers are expected to maintain good personal hygiene and ensuring that their vehicles are clean while also keeping social distancing from people to ensure their own safety.
The basic hygiene measures that have been advocated by the World Health Organization (WHO) include:
- Washing hands with running water and soap for at least 20 seconds
- Putting used tissue in a bag or bin immediately
- Sneezing or coughing while covering the mouth
- Avoiding making contacts with unwell clients
- Using alcohol-based hand sanitizers when not in a position to wash hands.
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