Truck drivers say they need protection from COVID-19

Posted at 10:46 AM, Apr 21, 2020

Across the country, big rigs haul freight amid the COVID-19 pandemic. From medical supplies to produce and toilet paper, they're delivering much needed supplies. But some truck drivers are worried about protecting themselves from the coronavirus.

"I would like the United States and more people to realize that we have to be protected. They may not like us on the road when it was normal, but it's not normal, they need us," said truck driver Wayne Cragg.

Cragg says some drivers are choosing not to go into hot spots because they're scared of being expose to the coronavirus and not having the proper protection. Cragg says a number of rest stops are closed and drivers can't find masks or disinfecting wipes. He has been using a t-shirt as a mask during pick-ups and deliveries.

In an email to its members, the Transportation Intermediaries Association reported that they've been hearing from trucking companies that drivers are having a hard time finding wipes and hand sanitizer and have reached out to FEMA for help.

Cragg wants protective masks and gear provided to truck drivers, especially the many who are now scared to go home out of fear they've been exposed to COVID-19 while out on the road.

"My parents, who are elderly, can't see me because I'm a truck driver,” Cragg said. “I don't know when I'm ever going to see them. But I left New Year's Day and I've been running every day since then.”

Many drivers are also finding some shipping and receiving facilities are still not protecting themselves or staying socially distant. However, some are making great strides to have contactless pick-ups and deliveries.

"One place actually unloaded me and put the signed bills in the back of my trailer,” Cragg recalled. “I pulled out and they told me to sign it via phone. I put it in their mailbox, and I didn't see anybody."

One pick-up of a truck full of toilet paper from Kimberly-Clark had him feeling blown away by kindness.

"Kimberly-Clark was saying 'thank you, truckers. Take your own toilet paper, take your own wipes.' I didn't need the toilet paper, but I took the wipes," said Cragg.

Cragg says he's most concerned about drivers with families who are staying on the road and miss their children. He says many are also having trouble getting access to COVID-19 tests.