Are Truck Drivers Essential Workers? Everything You Need to Know

Truck drivers play an essential role in a country’s economy. Without them, the supply chain would take a massive hit. They transport goods and materials from one place to another safely.

But are truck drivers considered essential workers? The answer is yes because they are a part of the primary transportation and logistics sector. Some industries directly rely on them, including retail stores, groceries, gas stations, storage, and agriculture.

But why does the state consider them essential, and what challenges do they face? What are some of the details related to this topic you should know? 

Who Are Considered Essential Workers?

The USA’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency defines and identifies workers under the “essential” category. According to the governmental body, it includes workers that are an indispensable part of critical infrastructure.

The CISA defines critical infrastructure workers as employees that play a crucial role in transportation functions. These employees include truck drivers, dispatchers, bus drivers, warehouse workers, and repair technicians. 

What Role Do They Play?

Truckers work long hours, stay away from their families for months at a time, and are often caught in delays for various reasons. But despite these inconveniences, they ensure the timely delivery of goods. Without them, the transportation industry would come to a standstill.

They are a vital part of supply chains, and their services directly contribute to the public’s well-being and safety. Their role assumed even greater importance during the days of the pandemic.

COVID-19 caused massive disruptions in the supply chain, having a direct impact on the country’s economy. Retail stores ran out of goods that customers required urgently, which truck drivers delivered on an urgent basis.

Small businesses often transport sensitive cargo from one place to another, and truck drivers are their only option because of the lower damage risks, timely delivery guarantee, and experience. 

Do Truckers Qualify as Frontline Workers?

The US government regards truckers as frontline workers because of their critical role in its economy. Statistics show that trucks deliver around 72% of goods and materials in the USA. In some circumstances, they are the only delivery option.

A frontline employee is someone whose work requires an on-site presence close to other workers and the public. 

Common Challenges Faced by Truck Drivers

Driving huge trucks is challenging and carries various risks. One of them is the risk of accidents, and being involved in one makes them susceptible to multiple injuries such as fractures, strains, sprains, soreness, pain, and multiple traumatic injuries. 

Several factors contribute to the accident risks, including fatigue, less sleep, overexertion, contact with objects, falling, and transportation accidents. According to studies by several governmental organizations, about 500,000 truck driving accidents occur yearly.

Besides unsatisfactory working conditions, drivers often complain of underpayment and unpaid work because the long waiting time at the docks affects the delivery time. 

Some Information on the Shortage of Drivers

There is also a significant shortage of truckers in the USA. Approximately 300,000 drivers leave their jobs, while the industry is short of almost 80,000 drivers required for optimal functioning. 

So, are truck drivers considered essential workers? They play a crucial role in the country’s economy and are the backbone of its transportation and logistics sector, so yes, they very much are!  It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that, without truckers, the economy would almost come to a standstill.

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