The coronavirus pandemic has fast-spread through society after society around the world. According to the CDC, as of September, 2020, there have been close to 190,000 total deaths due to the novel coronavirus in the US. This information is from all 50 states, including territories of Washington DC, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. The state legislation enacted as a result of the coronavirus has affected everyone, including truck drivers. Find out what states have done across the nation at rest areas and truck stops—the places on which drivers depend.
While the economy, in general, has slowed down, the trucking industry must keep going, and it's essential to keep up to date. You can find most of the information online in pages like Freight Waves that keep constant updates on how the industry is responding and adapting.
It's also crucial to have financial certainty in the middle of these fast-paced changes so that you can take action as you gather new information. Also, having financial safety eases the new burdens we are facing. Companies like Summar Financial help with freight factoring to assure a constant cash flow.
Here are a few important updates on what's happening regarding legislation, bills, and overall actions truck stops are taking to stay safe.
Legislation and Bills
The US has seen the introduction and adoption of legislation in several states around the nation. For example, Alabama has passed a bill, SJR 40, that "Urges individuals to fist bump rather than shake hands." So if you are out in the truck stops in the Southeast, make sure to use the fist rather than the fingers for a personal greeting. However, most of the legislation simply enacts rules to procure funding for future spending on coronavirus cases.
For instance, in New York, funds have been allocated for spending on transportation, which might benefit truckers at some point. The most significant changes have been that in many states, schools have suspended classes, and healthcare services have moved to telehealth. That means much less traffic on the roads. Yet for truck drivers specifically, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has not made any blanket recommendations or statements. On the FMCSA website, they simply redirect you to the CDC's recommended social distancing requirements.
Rest Areas and Coronavirus
Where are you going to go when you are a truck driver with 18 wheels and a Class 8 big rig that only is permitted to park in specific lots? Rest areas have long been the last stand for truckers and are among the biggest concerns for truck drivers dealing with coronavirus shutdowns. Yet some states have shut these down entirely. Vermont closed all 16 rest areas from March to July, and reopened 8 of them in July, while the Indiana Department of Transportation has kept all of its rest areas open. If you are driving into a new state or region, please check the individual location to see if the rest areas are open to date, specially as summer drifts away and the colder months are just around the corner.
Food Trucks at Rest Areas
One good deed to come from this has been that truck stops are now serving food truck fare. According to Transport Topics, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) "issued a notice to state departments of transportation that the agency will allow food trucks at federally funded interstate highway rest areas to support commercial truck drivers during the coronavirus emergency." This will accommodate truckers who are sitting at roadside exit ramps or near their private stops without any facilities.
Dealing with Truck Stops
In the different parts of the US, truck stops are taking on entirely different approaches. Thank goodness, too, as truck stops and fuel stations are a lifeline for truckers. Pilot Flying J stores will remain open, as well as truck driver showers. There are parts of the truck stop facilities closed, so keep checking individual spots as you plan your journey.
How are your driving services affected during this pandemic?
Having the tranquility of knowing you can count on your invoices being paid almost instantly is a significant relief during these uncertain times. Also, Summar Financial is the only one to offer you true non-recourse programs with credit guarantee in all your loads, meaning we will never do a chargeback if your debtor fails to pay.
Last but not least, our fuel card program and fuel advances will help you save money and ease your travels. We are open and ready to help during this crisis with what we do best. And that is supporting you from several fronts to assure you a safer trip and a peaceful mind. Give us a call or fill out our form. We can help you get started.