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Industry groups urge states to cut truckers slack at travel plazas

Drivers waiting up to two hours to get carryout food and use facilities

The trade group for travel plazas and the American Trucking Associations urged local and state governments to make it easier for truckers to get what they need at travel plazas while respecting social distancing guidelines.

Cut truck drivers some slack.

That’s the message from trade groups for the trucking and travel plaza industries, which said Wednesday that critical relief supplies are being delayed because drivers must wait in long lines for carryout food and to use travel plaza facilities in some states.

NATSO, which represents truckstops and travel plazas, and the American Trucking Associations (ATA) urge state and local governments to ensure that truckstops and travel plazas can safely serve commercial drivers while implementing social distancing guidelines necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“What should be 20-minute stops are turning into more than two-hour layovers,” said Lisa Mullings, NATSO president and CEO. “It is imperative that local enforcement officials enforce occupancy caps in truckstops without unnecessarily disrupting the efficient movement of essential supplies throughout the country.”

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) includes truckstop workers and commercial truck drivers on the list of “essential critical infrastructure workers.”

But local enforcement of occupancy limits in travel centers that exceed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended social distancing guidelines are delaying commercial drivers when they stop for food or fuel. Some are enforcing limits of as few as five or 10 people, including employees.

According to NATSO, truckstops and travel plazas frequently average 28,000 square feet — large enough to practice 6-foot safe social distancing while serving truck drivers.

NATSO and the ATA wrote to the National Association of Counties; National Association of County and City Health Officials; the National League of Cities; and the United States Conference of Mayors.

“We urge officials at all levels of government to help our industry keep those deliveries rolling by keeping facilities open and accessible for drivers to use in a safe and efficient manner,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear.

Given the critical medical supplies and basic necessities that truckers are hauling, drivers deserve special consideration, said Jon Pertchik, CEO of TravelCenters of America.

“It is crucial that they have quick and easy access to fuel, food, restrooms, showers and other services so they can get back on the road in a timely manner,” Pertchik said.


  1. Ron K. Morgan

    Pennsylvania and other states still have numerous closed rest areas. Indiana and Ohio are still forcing people to engage in hand to hand toll payments. California is pulling truckers over for frivolous reasons. These states don’t deserve delivery of Covid-19 supplies or anything at all.

    1. Stephen Webster

      Ontario Canada is no better most of the scales open doing a lot of truck inspections in Windsor 1000 feet inside Ontario Canada. We should be able to have one truck driver per table instead of 3 or 4 people. Truck drivers and the poor people with out cars or a apartment are getting hit really hard by these new rules. I see people sleeping on the street in Windsor Ontario every night besides my self. The insurance companies delay in accident claims and home claims are causing this many places. Truck drivers need to have a good medical treatment and insurance through out all of Canada, U S and Mexico.

  2. Ron Wilson

    Unfortunately, today’s truck drivers are from a vast array of individuals who are either not as well educated in proper hygiene, to being well informed and cautious. Too many of the least educated, or noncompliant, are today’s majority. And you just can’t seem to keep them away from each other, no matter how much you try. It’s a sad situation, no matter how you see it.

  3. Harvey

    If you had to our job the country would screech to a stop and people would starve to death. Who is selfish now? You narrow minded ass.

  4. Steven Crossman

    Decades ago the truck stops were dedicated to the drivers, always gave them exceptional prompt service, taking care of their needs. They had designated sections for truckers only. But after the late eighties, they began wooing the “tourists” and four wheelers. There’s nothing now to differentiate service to the truckers.

  5. SamIam. Sure

    No. We don’t care to risk our health and our families health for convenience of others. That is just plain selfish and entitled. Truckers are coming inti take out only coughing some sweating and its scary af to think they are traveling picki4 up and/or spreading pandemics knowing full well that they are not above biological illness. That’s just wrong that they don’t care bc they live in isolation for there careers. No. No special privileges in a crisis. Thank you so much.

    1. Kathy

      If you are bothered by being around truckers, then stay out of facilities dedicated to truckers. You can go to a drive through in your car, but truckers can’t. Service plazas are a convenience to you, but a necessity for them. Also, if you are so bothered by truckers, then don’t buy anything anywhere, because if you bought it, a trucker brought it. They are putting themselves at risk everyday so that you can have the things you depend on everyday.

      1. JJ

        Thank you Kathy. It is frustrating to try to do our jobs most days right now. I know for me, I’d love to have access to Amenities every night before I go to bed after a 12 to 14 hour day. Maybe longer for others. I wish more folks were able to see from the driver seat of our trucks.

    2. Avelino Juarez

      Just for the record truck drivers have to by law take a medical examination as requirements and pass it to be able to obtain a license CDL to drive any equipment be it dry van, fuel and industrial materials, health test done most every 2 years some yearly and when are sick an is required to be able to go back to work (driving a truck).

    3. Enzo

      You’re just a MORON because everything you have as far as FOOD toilet paper and the clothes you have are delivered by a truck

    4. MrBigR504

      Let your shelves and medical supplies and fuel run out and then lets see who you’ll call! Oh wait, its those same truckers that you put your foot in their asses earlier remember? Yeah thats right, we (the truckers) keep America moving so tone it down and enjoy those supplies at home that a “Truck Driver” brought to the stores you went to!

    5. Mike Martin

      Truckers are not only the life blood of our supply chain, but play a big part of our National Security as well. Walmart is open so you can feed yourself, give the truckers the same ability to eat.

    6. Stephen Webster

      You are so wrong on this one. Truck drivers need a spot to wash up and eat at. I agree that when a truck driver is done his work he should go to a hotel room if he doesn’t have any where else to go. But many people who are homeless are just a big or bigger risk of spreading disease. If trucking stops working shortages will happen in 3 days. The truck drivers and the truck stops need to work together along the Government. If truck drivers continue to be treated badly many drivers out here now will leave the industry in the 12 months.

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Alan Adler

Alan Adler is an award-winning journalist who worked for The Associated Press and the Detroit Free Press. He also spent two decades in domestic and international media relations and executive communications with General Motors.