by CHRIS SPEAR
Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about The American Trucking Associations’ motto: Moving America Forward. It’s never been truer than it is today.
Everything we need to fight COVID-19 is moved from Point A to Point B by a truck driver. Medical supplies, cleaning products, food, gas, and even the world’s newest hot commodity – toilet paper. Without truckers, grocery store shelves and hospital supply rooms would be empty. The result would be chaos.
The doctor who’s saving lives in a New York hospital – a trucker delivered her mask. The cashier scanning groceries in a Nebraska supermarket – a trucker delivered that food. Truck drivers ARE the supply chain. They make sure we have what we need, where we need it, when we need it. And that’s always been crucial. Right now, it’s just more obvious.
I’m grateful for drivers like Steven Richardson, with Big Express, who switched from hauling Jack Daniel’s whiskey to their newest product – hand sanitizer.
Most drivers chose a career in trucking because they knew it was essential. And it’s not surprising they’ve stepped up during this crisis. They’re used to sacrifice. Nights away from family, trying to find a spot to park for the night, the same sandwich at every diner. Those are the frustrations every driver knows all too well. And when you spend your work hours in a cab, you’re used to the social distancing and isolation everyone is now experiencing firsthand.
Having those sacrifices acknowledged by a grateful nation is an honor for the men and women behind the wheel. In the past month, I can’t tell you how many people have sent me photos of thank you cards, letters, and encouraging chalk messages written for truckers. Our drivers have been called “road heroes” and “the lifeblood of the economy.” In fact, a few weeks ago, I was overjoyed to hear the President of the United States say, “thank God for truckers.”
And I couldn’t agree more. I’m grateful for drivers like Steven Richardson, with Big G Express, who switched from hauling Jack Daniel’s whiskey to their newest product – hand sanitizer. And for Tina Peterson, a FedEx driver who recently had a family offer her a meal while she was on her route. They’d put it together ahead of time in case they came across a hungry hero.
In all my years working for the trucking industry, I’ve never seen more gratitude and concern for our hardworking drivers.
I’m grateful for drivers like Steven Richardson, with Big G Express, who switched from hauling Jack Daniel’s whiskey to their newest product – hand sanitizer.
While we’re still working with Congress to expand the definition of “essential worker” to include the crucial personnel who support drivers, we’re thankful they’ve extended the expiration dates for commercial drivers’ licenses while DMVs are closed, and that state governments are working to keep rest stops open for truckers.
Now that Congress has a plan to provide immediate relief to our nation’s small businesses and individual workers, we’re encouraging them to shift their focus to repairing and expanding our infrastructure. That way, America’s truckers can keep on delivering the medical supplies that are helping save lives and the food that’s keeping the country fed.
I’ve never been prouder of the men and women I work with. When coming together is more important than ever, they keep Moving America Forward.
Chris Spear is President and CEO of the American Trucking Associations, the nation’s leading organization representing the interests of the trucking industry.