Posted by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao
Truckers received well-deserved public recognition at the White House this week. I joined President Trump to thank them for working long hours to deliver the medical supplies, food and other goods needed by Americans during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
America’s 3.5 million truck drivers are helping support Americans and the economy with their dedication and skill. They are true heroes.
The US Department of Transportation has listened to the trucking industry’s concerns, provided Federal regulatory relief, and helped ensure that truck stops and rest stops are open and provide food for truckers.
This is important because the public health emergency is not only putting a strain on drivers, it is hurting the trucking industry itself in several respects. Drivers are seeing longer delays in shipping and freight transfers of emergency relief goods. Closures of state departments of motor vehicles have prevented new entrants from obtaining their commercial learner permits to become truck drivers.
After an initial sharp rise in demand to restock shelves and deliver supplies, the decline in economic activity has had negative consequences for the industry with decreases in freight volumes and rates since their peak during the public health emergency in the 3rd week of March. Certain sectors of the industry have been hit harder than others, and the emergency affects trucking companies of all sizes. Many independent drivers and smaller trucking firms, which employ 90 percent of all truck drivers, are struggling to survive.
This administration is taking initiative. In addition to regulatory relief from the US Department of Transportation, many smaller trucking firms are benefitting from small business aid provided through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and. Economic Security CARES Act. These include small business loans and the Paycheck Protection Program.
This helps keep the industry intact and ready to get the economy back on its feet when this public health emergency is behind us. Helping truckers do their jobs today will help all Americans get back to work faster.