FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — It’s day one of Indiana’s Stay-at-Home Order and while some Hoosiers are literally staying at home, truck drivers are still out on the roads, delivering goods wherever they’re needed. WANE 15’s Taylor Williams spoke with drivers at one Fort Wayne truck stop to learn how they’re coping with the pandemic and what they’re seeing while out on the highway.
Some long haul drivers say the coronavirus is making things more difficult for them and that’s troublesome, given the U.S. economy depends on trucks to keep stores stocked with food, mail delivered and a variety of other goods taken to their final destinations.
“Most places you go to is closed,” Georgia truck driver Angel Brawner said. “It’s getting pretty bad out here.”
Angel Brawner and her husband dropped a load of goods in Texas and were on their way to Ohio when they stopped to take a break in Fort Wayne. What they found were nearly deserted roadways and miles and miles of closed stores, restaurants and rest stops.
“Truck drivers are out here trying to make a living,” Brawner said. “This is hard on us.”
Every driver that talked to WANE 15 both on and off camera said they feel the country is forgetting about them. According to drivers, there are fewer places for them to pull over, get hot meals and take a shower. Some states have even closed rest areas and welcome centers.
“Lawmakers keep the rest areas open,” truck driver Branden Hall said. “Without that, we have nowhere to go.”
Restaurants accommodating truckers are few and far between. Minnesota truck driver Abdi Kadir Mohamed has been delivering mail for the United States Postal Service for years. He’s found lots of restaurants are doing everything not to help drivers.
“We are sacrificing ourselves to do this job and we are risking our lives to do this job,” Abdi Kadir Mohamed said. “But when we are tired and want to sit at a restaurant or a truck stop. They are just allowing us to take the food and go to our trucks. Some aren’t even allowing us to do that.”
Safety is still the top property and on the minds of many drivers, pandemic or not. Truckers say just because the world has stopped deliveries won’t. Though they fear what will happen if they are forced to park their rigs.
“Stores got to get their freight,” Brawner said. “If we can’t make our deliveries stores won’t get their freight and that’s the most important thing.”
“The government should not forget the truckers,” Mohamed said. “If the truckers are not feeling good, if they are not enjoying their work and taken care of anything can happen.”
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