I was listening to Matt McCormack on CBC Radio One yesterday morning. He was interviewing a truck driver. The trucker was in Ohio, a Canadian, one of the many truckers who pick up and drop off supplies here (in Canada) and in the US.
He makes 2 runs a week and hadn’t seen his kids in a month. He showers once a week when he gets home. On the road he cleans himself with baby wipes he buys at Costco, carries food, water, and uses a bucket to take a shit and piss.
Because all the stops are closed. No facilities are open though Pennsylvania. The companies where he drops his load off, won’t let truckers use their facilities.
Then there’s the law that regulates how long a driver can drive. Both in the US and Canada.
The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the number of hours a trucker can work without a break. Truck drivers are supposed to drive no more than 11 hours in any 14 consecutive hour period, and are mandated to be off duty 10 or more consecutive hours before beginning their next shift. Dec 17, 2018
With all the stops closed, where do they rest and sleep in the 10 hours or so down time? And anyone who has had to rest on the side of the highway, knows that the side of the highway is not conducive to rest.
These are the people on the front-line, just as Medical personnel and many others. These are the people who run the UNSEEN Gauntlet, no matter where they go.
In our rush to lock down and protect ourselves, we seem to have forgotten someone and something important. These people are one of the keys to our survival.
We can’t always buy local… we are dependent for our food and supplies coming from somewhere else.
If the truckers stop driving, bringing us our supplies… we won’t be complaining about the lineups… there won’t be any thing on the shelves.
Yes, we need to lock-down, social distancing and washing our hands and our bodies – frequently. We need to know our bathroom facilities are available and clean. To protect ourselves and the vulnerable. But vulnerable is a fluid word. Vulnerable also applies to those on the front-lines and that includes truckers and delivery people.
I realize that the governments on all levels are wearing a lot of hats, but shouldn’t we have someone who can open specific stops and facilities – isn’t this an essential service? – so truckers can use those facilities and actually rest.
We are called on to reconnect with our humanity … when possible volunteer in food banks, check on our neighbours to ensure all are being looked after. The food banks are organized, the neighbours are generally known. But these people – the truckers, have been forgotten.
Are we so filled with fear that we can’t open and care for stopping places for facilities and rest … to look after those who bring us our food, supplies and medical equipment and supplies … that we can’t create a safe environment for them?
I realize that until Antibody tests are available to as many people as possible, we can’t be sure that others aren’t infected, despite that, we still need to look after the front line, no matter where they are.
Some more food for thought. Yes, the trucker’s story is about the US… but is it happening here? Wherever here is to you?
And what do we do if the truckers decide they’re too burnt out or sick to keep our supplies lines open?