DOT mails 15.5 million face masks to truckers, other transportation workers

June 12, 2020

Land Line Staff

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About 2.1 million additional face masks have been mailed to motor carriers says the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The 2.1 million cloth face masks distributed to highway and motor carrier workers represented a portion of the 15.5 million overall that were provided to transportation workers.

An FMCSA spokesman said on Friday, June 12, that the masks were being distributed by the U.S. Postal Service and that additional requests for masks will be shipped by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The spokesman said the process takes about two or three weeks.

The U.S. Department of Transportation announced on May 28 the plan to distribute the 15.5 million face masks.

“Transportation workers are on the frontlines of keeping our transportation systems operational during this public health emergency, and their wellbeing and safety is paramount,” U.S. DOT Secretary Elaine Chao said in a news release.

The U.S. DOT, along with the Department of Homeland Security, said it has been working with states, industries and stakeholders to ensure that transportation workers receive the support they need.

On May 28, DOT said the face masks had been secured by FEMA and were scheduled to be distributed in the following weeks.

According to an FMCSA spokesman, the face masks were expected to be distributed to all 50 states.

Distribution of cloth face masks:

  • Mass transit and passenger rail, 4.8 million.
  • Aviation, 3.8 million.
  • Maritime, 2.4 million.
  • Freight rail, 2.2 million.
  • Highway and motor carrier, 2.1 million.
  • Pipeline systems, 258,000.

Doug Morris, OOIDA’s director of security operations, said that the 2.1 million designated for highway and motor carrier workers were mailed to truck and bus companies across the country. Previously, about 1 million masks were distributed to truckers and rest areas and other designated locations.

OOIDA has been working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to help get face masks and other personal protective equipment to truck drivers in need.

On April 3, OOIDA sent a letter to President Trump asking for “urgent and immediate action” to protect truck drivers as they haul essential freight during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Every day they are exposed to COVID-19, because of the critical service they provide for all of us,” OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer wrote. “They run in and out of the hot zones and, without question, they are exposed. They don’t have access to personal protective equipment or any practical means to know when they may be falling ill or any practical solution if they need treatment or self-isolation.”

In response, it was announced on April 22 that FMCSA, FEMA and DHS were establishing a distribution network to get face masks to truck drivers.

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