Governor Parson and the Missouri Department of Transportation are offering special permits and extended hours to truckers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The volume of goods that are being transported, particularly to grocery stores right now is unfathomable, its 2-3 times the Christmas rush, Black Friday type volume,” said Tom Crawford, President and CEO of the Missouri Trucking Association.
The Missouri Trucking Association represents truckers and trucking companies in front of state agencies and state and federal legislature.
“72% of Missouri’s communities get their goods exclusively by trucks, nobody else gets it there except by the trucks, so a lot of places you see around the state and the country, truckers get there every day, every week, you know whatever their schedule is — they’ll get there,” Crawford said.
In response to Governor Parson’s state of emergency declaration, MoDOT is now allowing for heavier truckloads of goods to travel on Missouri highways until April 30th.
Under the weight allowance, truckers are allowed to haul up to 100,000 pounds as long as their trailers are at least 53-feet long.
MoDOT is also temporarily suspending Missouri International Registration Plans and International Fuel Tax Agreements during the pandemic.
You can find a copy of the Trip and Fuel waiver document here.
“Most of what we get today has been on a truck at some point, so it’s important that we keep our truck drivers safe and a lot of the things that you’re seeing today are a result of trying to keep them safe on the road,” Crawford said.
Earlier this month, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration also issued a national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting emergency relief in response to the pandemic.
“You don’t have to comply with the hours of service if you’re hauling essential commodities,” Crawford said.
Amidst the pandemic, restaurants are also stepping in to help truckers get a place to eat and stop during most counties’ stay-at-home and social distancing orders.
“You know drivers carry some food, they carry some things in a small refrigerator but they don’t carry enough to stay out weeks and weeks at a time,” Crawford said. “So being able to get a hot meal, being able to get any meal that’s delivered has been critically important.”
Truck stops are also playing a part in helping truckers by giving them a place to clean up.
“You know they use truck stops for the daily essentials,” Crawford said. “Not just restroom breaks, but also taking showers and cleaning up and being presentable and so having that opportunity is big, while you’re out on the road and away from your family.”
You can find more information from the state on trucking ordinances during the pandemic here.