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Coronavirus pandemic puts the brakes on the trucking industry

Posted at 9:49 AM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-19 14:16:05-04

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 at certain places because they are closing everything down," truck driver Dia Moore said. "But we're the ones out here delivering all the goods, and we can't be treated any better than this? That's not cool."

Moore, who was traveling through Indiana during a haul, said she hasn't had any issues so far on her cross-country journey but 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, meaning drivers hauling goods like cars or lumber may be out of luck.

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

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

This story was originally published by Cameron Ridle on WRTV in Indianapolis.