Heroes Among Us

A red truck in front of the American Flag

In this time of great uncertainty and fear, we gather great hope by looking to the heroes among us who work tirelessly to provide for our day-to-day needs. As the coronavirus accelerates through our communities, we see everyday heroes rising to the challenge to protect and preserve their communities: doctors, nurses, first responders, and truck drivers.

The greatest despair in our communities during the coronavirus crisis to date has been the fear of the unknown. Not only are we uncertain of who will be affected by this virus and how, but also whether our basic needs will be met from day to day. This fear rears its ugly head in many forms, but particularly in mobs over the last roll of toilet paper, the last jug of milk, or the last bottle of hand sanitizer. And who is driving across the country every day, for hours at a time, in order to ensure the shelves get filled and our basic needs are met? Truck drivers.

Truck drivers are the unsung heroes of this crisis. While communities shelter in place, truck drivers are out on the road, away from their families, and possibly exposing themselves to danger, for the sake of the greater good.

The National Impact of Trucking

This nation is heavily reliant on truck drivers, with trucks moving over 71 percent of all freight in the U.S. Every year, truck drivers haul over 10 billion tons of freight, equalling about 30 pounds of goods per person in the United States. That’s a whole lot of toilet paper. 

In fact, most grocery stores would run out of food in only three days if it weren’t for long haul truck drivers, according to Business Insider.

No Rest for the Weary

At this moment, we should be praising these heroes for their service to our country. Instead, our nation’s truck drivers are being pushed to their limits with little thanks or recognition. They must drive for longer hours with little rest. When the opportunity for a break arises, many rest stops have been closed due to coronavirus precautions. Additionally, nearly all the restaurants nationwide are only offering take-out, which means truck drivers can’t sit and enjoy a meal. According to the Wall Street Journal, truck drivers are working harder than ever, with almost no rest, and are diligently delivering supplies such as medical equipment, food, and other necessities. In many cases, they are being stopped at state lines and asked where they’ve been, in order to slow the transmission of the virus. This not only slows the flow of goods but criminalizes drivers.

With many of the main transportation corridors closing rest stops and restaurants, it is extremely difficult for truck drivers to continue hauling these loads into affected states and cities. And yet they do. Day after day, hour after hour, our nation’s truck drivers drive without enough rest or sustenance into the breach to make sure Americans have the things they need. They are our everyday, unsung heroes.

We Salute Our Heroes

At Vertical Alliance, our goal is safety on the road. But as trucking industry consultant Dan Baker likes to say, “We aren’t in the trucking business, we’re in the people business.” So we want to salute each of the 1.8 million truck drivers out there who are keeping our country running, who are on the front lines of our nation’s attack against this pandemic. You are keeping us safe, well, and fed. We salute you. Thank you for your service to our country. God bless you, and God bless America.