When we talk about trucking industry trends, we could mean the newest technologies that are improving trucking safety and efficiency, or we could be talking about the continued emphasis on truck driver health. However, in 2020, trucking industry trends have been focused on one major thing: operating in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As huge portions of the country shut down to help stop the spread of this virus, it’s fallen on the brave men and women in the trucking industry to help keep our economy running and our homes stocked with the supplies we need. Things are constantly changing, though, and there’s so much new information going around that it can be difficult to keep track of it all.
So, to help you keep track of how the trucking industry is responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, here are some of the most important and relevant developments:
Extensions on CDL Validity
As of April 2020, the FMCSA has issued an extension for any truck driver with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or commercial learner’s permit (CLP) that was set to expire between March 1st, 2020, and June 29th, 2020. The FMCSA is also making accommodations for other factors that may impact trucker safety and productivity, such as:
- An extension for any CDL medical certificate valid for 90 days or more that was due to expire on or after March 1
- A 180-day extension for any hazardous materials endorsements that were set to expire between March 1st and July 31st
Our country’s truckers occupy an essential role in getting the valuable goods and resources we need to the people who need them most. Without them, we’d be facing even more dramatic shortages of the kind of supplies we need as we shelter in place until the COVID crisis has passed.
To that end, the FMCSA has expanded the terms of its national emergency declaration—originally issued on March 13th, 2020—to include regulatory relief to the truck drivers “transporting emergency relief in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
This will help our country’s drivers “get critically important medical supplies, food, and household goods to Americans in need,” the Acting Administrator for the FMCSA said on March 18. Additionally, President Trump and U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao publicly thanked truck drivers for “playing a critical role in vanquishing the virus” and in their efforts to help “get our economic engine roaring” again.
Finding New Ways to Support Truckers
Perhaps more than anything else, the most inspiring truck industry trends revolve around people finding new and meaningful ways to support truckers. Whether it’s big companies offering free curbside food for drivers or kids handing out free meals to any truckers who drive past, the country is not letting the work our truckers are doing go unnoticed.
Here at Lily Transportation, we’re so proud of our drivers and are honored to have them in the Lily family. The work they do every day is nothing less than essential to our country, we are grateful to be a part of it all.