Drivers risk health to deliver goods - FOX34 Lubbock

Drivers risk health to deliver goods

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We honor the unsung heroes on the front lines who are keeping store shelves stocked.

"They finally figure out what truckers are all about, when they got to have something, now they know where it comes from and how it gets here," Llano Logistics Delivery Driver Terry Owens said.

Almost three weeks ago, President Trump declared a National Emergency and the United States Transportation exempted certain truck drivers from hours of service rules. This applies to drivers delivering emergency supplies and things helping manage the COVID-19 outbreak.

"Every single thing that is delivered anywhere in the United States, at some part of it's journey, goes by truck," Advanced Training Systems CEO John Kearney said.

Instead of breaks every eight hours, they can keep going, but have to take a ten hour break off-duty after delivering cargo.

"We're in these trucks longer than we are at our house," Owens said.

Kearney said this is necessary, but more action is needed. Current regulations restrict 18 to 21 year old C.D.L. drivers to only the state they have their license in.

"Their ability to drive is the same where they're in their state than when they're in another state," Kearney said

Twenty-two states have shut down driver's license offices, so nearly half the country is blocked from issuing new C.D.L's. That could lead to a shortage of more than 100,000 drivers by the time the dust settles.

Governor Abbott has allowed D.P.S. officers in Texas to stay open sorely for the purpose of providing initial C.D.L's, but truck driving schools are not considered an essential business.

Usually truckers have their routes planned out for them. It may even be the same every day. Now it is different.

"So what we've done is totally unwrapped the logistics issue," Kearney said.

"Yeah, really busy. some of us are taking two loads a day and some of them are just taking one, but we're trying to get it done to keep everybody satisfied and keep the shelves full," Owens said.

Every stop a driver takes to drop off precious goods is a risk, but Owens said he'll take it.

"If you got time in between and you can grab another load, make somebody's dream come true right now to have them some groceries, we'll do it, we'll do what we gotta do," Owens said.

He said he's felt the support from Llano Logistics and the community.

"You feel it in your heart that you're appreciated for what you do in life," Owens said.

Kearney said they deserve it.

"Give them a honk, let me know you appreciate them when you can," Kearney said.

 

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