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Coronavirus pandemic puts the brakes on the trucking industry

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Posted at 12:10 AM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-19 09:32:45-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Last week the Department of Transportation relaxed some of the rules on driving hours for truckers if they're hauling medical or emergency supplies.

Truckers who aren't hauling those items, however, are starting to see a decline in business, similar to other industries dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I heard on the news that everything was shutting down, the truck drivers can't get any food, you can't get a shower certain places because they are closing everything down but we're the ones out here delivering all the good and we can't be treated any better than this?" Dia Moore, a truck driver said. "That's not cool."

Moore is one off the many truck drivers passing through the crossroads of America. She said she hasn't had any issues so far on her cross country journey, but she has noticed more trucks parked at truck stops and fewer on the road.

"Nothing is moving," Moore said. "So if all the truck drivers just stop, the whole country is going to be stopped because you can't get anything in."

Larisa Williams is an independent dispatcher. She's been in the trucking industry for nearly 20 years and she's never seen anything like what coronavirus is doing to the country.

"I'd say if my trucking friends had gotten together and tried to make a map of what something like this would look like we would've been dead wrong," Williams said. "We wouldn't have expected this."

Williams said right now a trucker's demand depends on what they are hauling. Drivers hauling non-essential good like cars or lumber would get this response if they call a dispatcher for another load.

"I'll look, but good luck, that's probably one of the ones that's pretty non-essential right now," Williams said.

A driver carrying essential household good like food or toilet paper would get a different response.

"You're golden, I'll find you one," Williams said.