Truck drivers say they’re struggling to keep up with demand amid coronavirus pandemic

Truckers struggling to keep up with demand amid COVID-19 pandemic

PORT ALLEN, La. (WAFB) - Drivers of 18-wheelers say they’re facing tough times on the road.

“They are shutting down the showers; can’t eat, can’t dine in anywhere, you know, it’s just been hard for them,” said Carlos Townsend, a truck driver.

Townsend says he and his fellow drivers are seeing many truck stops and rest areas close as the nation fight to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

“It’s devastating to everyone because mostly you’re concerned about getting supplies where it’s needed,” said Chuckie Haley, another truck driver.

Haley is helping deliver necessary supplies that are helping to keep stores shelves stocked with essential items.

"A big necessity now is face masks, hand sanitizer, paper towels, and water. Those are supplies that are needed in stores like Walmart, stores that don’t have them due to the coronavirus,” said Haley.

The Federal Motor Carrier Administration, which oversees how long truck drivers are on the road, issued an emergency exemption for drivers who are delivering essential supplies.

Now, the administration is talking about changing the hours of service regulations, making them drive longer hours and things like that just because the need for tissue paper, toiletries, and things of that nature. One locally-owned truck stop in Port Allen is helping accommodate drivers who are looking for place to rest.

“We’re open, we have hot food for them, they can grab a lunch, they can grab a shower if they’re heading on the road,” said Vincent Hunts, general manager of LA 1 South Truck Stop.

Hunts says they’re working hard to help keep these drivers going.

“Those guys and girls are out working, you know. They need support from us and we need to be open and able to do that and on top of that keeping a clean environment,” said Hunts.

Hunts says they’re waving parking fees for truck drivers. The truck stop is open 24-hours a day.

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