March 17, 2020 9:15 PM, EDT

ATA’s Spear Urges White House Action on Coronavirus to Keep Trucks Moving

ATA President Chris SpearSpear by Zach Gibson/Bloomberg News

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American Trucking Associations is asking the Trump administration to take specific steps that will help the trucking industry in its efforts to keep stores and medical facilities stocked with supplies as the country battles the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are writing to ask your assistance to assure that trucks are able to continue to safely deliver medicine, food, fuel, water and other basic necessities to communities and homes,” ATA President Chris Spear said in a March 17 letter to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. “Mail and parcel delivery is also essential when Americans are avoiding public places and receive supplies and checks at home,” Spear added.

Spear noted that while governments are considering public health actions to limit travel, shelter-in-place directions and the possibility of closing public facilities and quarantining communities, he wants the White House to consider certain policies that would be specific to trucking.

ATA Letter to Trump on Coro... by Transport Topics on Scribd

Among them, he asked Trump to exempt trucking services from these types of restrictions for the delivery of essential goods. “Guidelines that make clear the role of shipping necessities by truck will ensure smooth resupply and delivery,” Spear said.

He also asked that the federal government provide alternatives for drivers who need to renew or obtain commercial drivers licensing credentials so that they may continue to make deliveries in the wake of many state motor vehicle departments shutting their doors.

Spear also asked the White House to keep rest stops open, noting that while commercial drivers have temporary relief from hours-of-service regulations, “they must manage fatigue as they respond to this emergency, and rest stops are an irreplaceable component, along with commercial truck stops.”

He also asked for guidance for maintaining driver health, including possible testing for COVID-19. “Clear guidance on public health assets is important to our employees, just like it is for all other Americans, and our drivers are typically away from home,” Spear said.

Spear said, “Absent policies like these, it will be more difficult to ensure that the shelves are stocked and emergency supplies reach first responders and medical personnel. The efforts to keep us safe, healthy and supplied are shared by government, private citizens and businesses alike.”

He added, “Trucking will continue to do its part in these difficult times. In this current crisis, we ask for your help in supplying America, together.”

President Donald Trump and ATA President Chris Spear

Spear with Trump during a White House visit in 2017. (Joyce N. Boghosian)

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