SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Big rig truck drivers are essential in getting goods where they need to go during this coronavirus pandemic, but changes on the road, are impacting their industry.
Truck drivers are noticing a big difference on the road since California’s shelter-in-placer orders.
“The traffic conditions are a lot better,” driver Andre Nunn said.
“Most places that I go its scarce to find cars,” driver Bob Keck said.
“It would be so congested, people are taking it really serious and staying at home,” driver Billie Safford said.
Truckers transporting essential goods are exempt from stay-at-home orders as the country relies on them.
“Everything that you get from your groceries to your household products, cosmetics, are definitely going to come in on a truck,” Nunn said.
But, the coronavirus pandemic has changed how they work. Federal and state rules limiting the number of hours behind the wheel have been relaxed for drivers carrying essential goods. Its a change supported by the trucking industry.
The biggest complaint truckers have right now is the lack of restrooms and places to pull over and eat.
“It’s getting harder and harder, a lot of the places are open but they are drive-up only and obviously we can’t drive up with these big trucks,” Keck said.
Even once they reach their final destination, they’re often out of luck.
“When I pull up at the shipper or receiver, they are not letting us go in the building,” Safford said.
Many drivers are still proud to remain on the job and appreciate the public’s support.
“We just came from up in Oregon and there’s a lot of banners saying thank you to the truckers…to know that we’re responsible for keeping the country going it kind of feels good,” Nunn said.
Some wonder though if the well wishes will last once life on the road gets back to normal.
“Everybody’s looking up to us because they need their toilet paper. When this is over they’ll go back to the way it was before, we’ll just be in their way,” Keck said.
The California Trucking Industry says demand for drivers remains high.
Some truckers who are no longer needed on local routes have switched to driving delivery trucks for Amazon and other retailers that are increasing service.