With a nationwide response to COVID-19 in full swing, trucking is in high demand. People are buying in bulk, medical supplies are running short, and more people are ordering online. In response, the FMCSA eased hours of service regulations so that truckers can meet demands without going out of compliance. More drivers are taking the wheel to provide emergency relief, and that means they’re are away from worried family members through a time when “shelter in place” orders are going mainstream. Here are a few tips for keeping drivers safe and informed through COVID-19.
Share News from Official Sources
There’s a lot of misinformation out there right now, and things are changing daily. Make sure you use your corporate communications to share accurate, timely information. Check dates on news articles that you share with your drivers, and be sure to reference official sources. Some recommended sites include:
- The FMCSA COVID-19 Emergency Regulations Page: Includes up-to-date federal emergency mandates and state-level amendments.
- The ATA COVID-19 Update Hub: Contains timely, fact-based information to answer frequently asked questions and address common challenges that arise from the pandemic and national response.
- Official CDC COVID-19 Page: Scientifically accurate and verified information regarding the COVID-19 virus, including symptoms, treatment, travel, how to care for others, and more.
- World Health Organization COVID-19 Page: Global information relating to COVID-19, including situation reports, travel advice, the latest research, and valuable myth-busting information.
Help Drivers Practice Social Distancing
Once drivers are safely in their cabs, they’re not in danger of coming into close contact with others. However, before and after the trip and during stops, a few precautions can help keep drivers, and those they come in contact with, safer.
- Be sure to use alcohol or bleach wipes on steering wheels, door handles, latches, shifters, and dash controls between each trip. Supply your drivers with cleaning supplies, or have a dedicated team member clean cabs.
- Provide drivers with disposable gloves that they can use while at fueling stations and public restrooms.
- Stress the importance of maintaining distance from others whenever possible. A minimum of 3 feet is advised by the CDC.
- Advise your drivers to stay in their cabs rather than using public waiting areas during dwell time.
- Owner-operators should use their personal sleeper cabs, rather than staying at hotels.
- Stress the importance of handwashing at every stop, both before conducting business, at regular intervals while stopped and before getting back in the cab.
- Remind drivers to avoid touching their eyes, mouths and noses.
- Encourage drivers to change clothes and wash up as soon as they get home, and place all clothing from their trip directly into the wash.
Get Clear About What has Changed – And What Hasn’t
While hours of service regulations have changed, drivers are still responsible for maintaining medical compliance, renewing licenses on schedule, and abiding by drug and alcohol laws and random testing. If any of your drivers need to renew or update their licenses, they may be able to do so online. Check with your state’s motor vehicle division for the latest information and requirements. Most medical facilities are open for medically-necessary treatment. Have drivers call their providers to determine office hours.
How to Help a Driver who Suspects They Have COVID-19
First and foremost, don’t have them drive! If they are home, they should isolate at home and call their primary care doctor or nearby urgent care for guidance. If your driver is on the road, they should call the nearest urgent care clinic. Most states require a doctor’s orders for COVID-19 testing. For up-to-date CDC recommendations, refer to the “What to Do If You are Sick” page.
Keep Calm and Keep On Trucking
We know you care about your drivers’ health and safety. We understand you also care about the community that your trucks serve. Right now, the country depends on companies like yours to keep stores stocked, hospitals running, and medical providers safe. By keeping a level head and taking the precautions listed above, you can meet relief effort needs while keeping your drivers safe.
Find additional resources and recommendations for business owners on the CDC website.