Alabama Trucking Association CEO: ‘If you see a trucker, thank a trucker’
With the coronavirus pandemic upending almost every aspect of American life, increased focus has been given to the trucking industry.
Almost every commercial good purchased by any consumer in Alabama was brought to that place of business, at least part of the way, by a trucker.
Yellowhammer News interviewed Alabama Trucking Association CEO Mark Colson to see how Alabama’s truckers were dealing with the crisis.
“Trucking is open for business, and its an essential business,” began Colson, noting that beyond trucking companies themselves, gas stations and auto-shops that service trucks have all been deemed essential buy the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
“When store shelves became empty for a moment, they got filled right back up. The warehouses that hold those goods got filled back up,” pointed out Colson with regards to the necessity and efficiency of America’s truckers.
Multiple reports from across Alabama reported described truckers struggling to get meals while on the job because their vehicles could not fit under the drive-thru clearance and many fast food places do not normally allow walk-up orders.
Yellowhammer asked Colson about those issues.
“It’s been a little bit of a problem here and there … but there is no problem a trucker can’t solve. Just give us a little bit of time and good information and we can figure it out,” he replied.
He added, “Truck stops like Love’s, Flying Pilot J, even organizations like Mcdonald’s, they’re becoming innovative about how they allow people to walk through their drive-thru, or deliver the meals out.”
Colson said the coronavirus ordinances from all different types of government have led to all truckers keeping hand sanitizer and personal protective equipment like masks with them in their cab for use before, during, and after dropoffs.
“Governor Ivey has done a great job,” Colson commented about the Truckers’ relationship to government during the pandemic. “Everyone is in a problem-solving mode, that is a good thing.”
Governor Kay Ivey had previously raised the weight limit for trucks and increased the allowable hours of work for trucks and truckers carrying supplies of need during a State of Emergency, like medical equipment and food for grocery stores.
Colson said that if the coronavirus precautions are required to stay in place for a protracted period of time that the Trucking Association hopes to work with the state to resume some amount of CDL testing, which is currently paused out of social distancing concerns.
“They know about it, they’re aware of it,” Colson said of State Government. “Depending on how long this goes, we may need to get new drivers out there.”
Yellowhammer News asked Colson what the public could do if they wanted to support their truckers.
Colson responded that the first and most important thing people could do was, “when you’re on the highway, drive safely around trucks.”
He went on to say, “You know #thankatrucker, the president tweeted it, that’s a big deal, and it’s going to be a bigger deal as we get on into this.”
“The families of truckers, if you know them, just thank them, support them, make them feel loved,” Colson continued.
“If you know their family, take them a meal,” he concluded.
Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: email@example.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.