This is the TDMST Weekly Round-Up of news affecting professional truck drivers, written by Vicki Simons for the week ending April 4, 2020.
We welcome your comments, thoughts and feedback on the items of your choice below.
1. Regarding small business loans due to coronavirus (COVID-19):
If you’re an owner-operator and your trucking business has suffered as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19), you may be seriously considering applying for a small business loan to keep you afloat.
With the strongest possible caution I can possibly give, I’m going to encourage you to NOT take out this kind of loan.
It may be overly pessimistic of me, but until all possibility is eradicated that the government can push another shutdown upon the people, you have no guarantee that you will be able to pay back the loan according to the terms outlined (whatever those terms may be).
It is one thing to be making payments on your truck and lose the truck if you can’t make payments.
It’s another thing altogether if you lose your business.
Some folks may say that I’m splitting hairs.
You’re free to disagree if you like.
But I need to make this point…
In the “bank run” clip from the movie It’s A Wonderful Life, we hear George Bailey say the following starting about the 2:22 mark:
Can’t you understand what’s happening here? Don’t you see what’s happening? Potter isn’t selling; Potter’s buying! And why? Because we’re panicky and he’s not. That’s why.
There are some striking similarities between the bank run in the movie and what’s going on with the coronavirus.
Given that the precedent has been set that the government can shut down businesses anytime they feel that there is a global health crisis, there is no telling how often they will do that.
So, again, I very strongly caution you NOT to take out this kind of loan.
If you need any more convincing, see the next section below…
2. Regarding dropping truck traffic and trucker layoffs:
An April 1, 2020, article stated that truck drivers are encountering “plunging traffic” at the Canada-U.S. border since March 21, because all non-essential travel has been suspended.
A March 31, 2020, article states, “There will be layoffs during the economic downturn brought about by Covid-19….”
A March 30, 2020, article says that “some trucking segments are enjoying a surge in demand [and] others are struggling because of COVID-19 closures.”
An April 1, 2020, article states:
FTR has released the COVID-19 Impact Heatmap, which assesses the state-level rate impacts by four trucking equipment types – dry van, refrigerated, flatbed, and specialized – using Truckstop.com spot market data.
A March 30, 2020, article says that last-mile deliveries are surging in a socially distanced world.
Shelter-in-place, quarantine, shutdown and lockdown orders are continually changing because of coronavirus (COVID-19), so continually monitor conditions where you are traveling.
3. Regarding dealing with coronavirus as a trucker:
Here are some articles and resources:
- Tips for Cleaning and Sanitizing Truck Cabs
- 10 ways truckers can stay healthy during COVID-19
(Note that this article does not address boosting one’s immune system with eating healthy food; taking vitamins, minerals and supplements; and doing what is necessary for a healthy lifestyle.)
- Important Tips for Cleaning Your Truck’s Cab and Staying Healthy
(At least this article lists “Truckers Most At-Risk” of “severe illness due to COVID-19.”)
- Truck Stop Operators Warn COVID-19 Restrictions Will Cause Long Delays for Truckers
- Florida’s COVID-19 Travel Checkpoint on I-95 Leaves Traffic Backed Up For Hours
- Trucking Group Demands Emergency Action From Congress on Truckers’ Right to Carry
- DOT issues guidance, but not exemption, for DOT drug-and-alcohol testing during pandemic
- FMCSA issues guidance for truckers in travel-restricted areas
- Total statewide stay-at-home orders now at 38 (as of March 30)
- COVID-19: The latest news releases from federal, state authorities
- How is COVID-19 affecting capacity and freight rates?
- Coronavirus crushes trucking optimism
- The Impact of COVID-19 on the Trucking Industry
askthetrucker.com/the-impact-of-covid-19-on-the-trucking-industry/ (no longer online)
- Transport Canada releases Covid-19 guidelines for fleets and drivers
- Truckers Must Wear Face Mask in This Texas City or Face $1,000 Fine (and related)
- Trucking companies are dramatically overhauling hiring because of COVID-19. Here are the biggest changes.
- ITI giving drivers free online course for COVID-19 safety
- NATSO, ATA Call for Increased Driver Access to Truckstops
- A List Of All The Companies Offering Truckers Help As They Fight Back Against COVID-19
From a March 30, 2020, article, we read:
The legal landscape is shifting rapidly with emergency declaration, regulatory suspensions and shelter-in-place orders. However, the federal, state and local rules that govern classification of workers—those who are employees and those who are independent contractors, including owner-operators—have not shifted.
4. Regarding windshield smashes:
An April 2, 2020, article stated, “The Eagan (Minnesota) Police Department posted to its Facebook page that a wild turkey flew into and through the windshield of a tractor-trailer on eastbound Interstate 35 Wednesday. While the truck’s windshield was destroyed, the driver and the turkey were shaken but not injured.”
A March 30, 2020, article stated, “New Jersey State Police are investigating after a cinderblock was thrown off of an overpass at a semi truck, sending the driver to the hospital.”
How would you protect yourself from items thrown from overpasses?
5. Regarding plant closures and order cancellations:
This is so sad.
- Kenworth, Peterbilt extend truck plant closure
- Large Cancellations Push Down Class 8 Orders in March – Equipment
- Goodyear Extends Tire Production Shutdown ‘Until Further Notice’
- PACCAR Extends Shutdown of Truck and Engine Plants Worldwide (and related)
- As plants in Texas and Mexico close, cross-border freight slowdown looms
- Yokohama Halts Production at Salem Tire Plant – Maintenance – Trucking Info
6. Regarding safe driving:
Urging truckers to take winter weather seriously, Allen Smith wrote, “Of the estimated 5,891,000 vehicle crashes that happen in the U.S. each year, 21% are weather-related.”
askthetrucker.com/4-winter-tips-to-keep-fleet-drivers-safe/ (no longer online)
He provided 4 fleet safety tips to keep drivers safe.
7. Say What?
Tyson Foods, Inc. plans to give “thank-you” bonuses to front-line workers and Tyson truck drivers — in July!
Confirming this timeframe is another article.
Why the 3-month wait?
A March 31, 2020, article stated, “Two carriers forced to cough up $3,000 after its big rigs were booted in Charlotte last week will receive a full refund.”
My husband Mike and I wish you — and all professional truck drivers — safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities on the road.