Created: March 18, 2020 09:48 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— The trucking industry is in high demand amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
Following President Donald Trump’s announcement of issuing a national emergency declaration, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration also issued a national emergency declaration.
"There is a declaration that has been passed that relieved the drivers from the hours of service during this emergency, but most of them will not pass over 11 hours just because the way the routes are set up,” said the Managing Director for the New Mexico Trucking Association, Johnny Johnson.
He said drivers could go over 11 hours if they need to.
Part of the demand is taking supplies to stores that have run out of in-demand items.
“There's anywhere from a 40% to 60% increase of product being moved into grocery stores and warehouses since this started,” Johnson said.
The other part is drivers are now helping transport Coronavirus testing kits to other states.
Johnson said he’s been in contact with several companies on how they’re handling COVID-19. Over the phone, he explained they are not too concerned since drivers spend most of their work day on the road. However, they are making sure drivers follow the recommended health tips.
Johnson is now retired, but he said he has about 1 million miles under his belt since he joined the industry in the 1960s. He’s never experienced something like this.
"Never to this degree. I can honestly say I've never seen anything to this degree,” said Johnson.
Right now, he hopes people realize the sacrifice truck drivers are making to help their country.
They're away from their families during some difficult times. There’s a lot of burdens that these drivers are enduring that people don't appreciate...or should appreciate,” he said. "It has definitely shown how important it truly is, today."
Copyright 2020 - KOB-TV LLC, A Hubbard Broadcasting Company