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Delivery Trucks Keep Rolling Under Coronavirus Threat

Travis Estell
Flickr/Creative Commons

Traffic over the last few weeks has been noticeably lighter as Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s stay-at-home order has been in effect. But, with essential businesses still open, Ohio’s truckers continue to travel the roads getting products where they need to be, though the coronavirus threat has created some additional challenges for the men and women moving America’s goods.

Located just north of Dayton, Jet Express has a fleet of around 1,100 trucks. They deliver automotive parts and supplies all over states east of the Mississippi. Jet Express President Kevin Burch says business is definitely slower.

“Because of the virus, it's been a difficult time,” he says.

So now, the company is delivering non-automotive goods as well to keep their trucks on the road. Burch says many drivers face some new challenges.

Many of the businesses where truckers might typically pull over for a meal or take a break are closed or off-limits because of social distancing measures. Several states also shut down their Motor Vehicle bureaus because of the COVID-19 threat and some drivers were having difficulty getting their licenses renewed.

Burch says state governments have helped though, in some cases reopening truck stops that were closed and offering six-month extensions on licenses and business certifications.

And, he adds, there’s another positive change happening on the roads today.

“People are much friendlier. The drivers have been telling me personally that they're doing the ‘hand down to your horn’ type of thing with the kids, and people take pride that driver is there.

There are more than 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the U.S. and many trucking and delivery companies say, despite the business slowdown, they are in need of more drivers.

As the pandemic and COVID-19 threat progresses in the U.S., the trucking industry is keeping the safety of its drivers in the forefront by promoting adherence to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for employers to disinfect their facilities.

They also recommend drivers use the general practices provided by the Technology & Maintenance Council for in-cab cleaning and sanitation.

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Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.