FMCSA to Natso: Keep truck stops open

March 18, 2020

Mark Schremmer

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It is critical that truck stops remain open 24 hours a day to provide America’s truck drivers with fuel, food, showers, repair services, and opportunities to rest, FMCSA acting Administrator Jim Mullen wrote in a letter to Natso, the professional association of independent truck stop operators.

Mullen sent the letter to Lisa Mullings, president and chief executive officer of Natso, on March 17. A few days earlier, FMCSA issued a national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting emergency supplies amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

“As the nation comes to grips with the realities of COVID-19, I am writing to let you know the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recognizes the integral role that travel centers and truck stops play in the nation’s supply chain,” Mullen wrote. “All of your members must heed the CDC guidelines and follow state and local restrictions.

“The continuing operations of America’s truck stops will enable truck drivers to confidently transport essential goods, such as food and medical supplies, throughout the country.”

Statements from truck stops

Earlier this week, the three major truck stop chains all released statements regarding steps each are taking to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

TA & Petro wrote on its Facebook page on March 17, “We are grateful for (truck drivers’) dedication and sacrifice, and we will continue to support you on the highways.” The truck stop chain also is updating a COVID-19 page on its website.

Love’s wrote on its Facebook page that it is increasing its cleaning and disinfecting efforts with “particular focus on showers, restrooms and high-touch surfaces.”

Pilot wrote on March 16 that all of its locations were open, including showers and restrooms.

“We have no plans to close at this time,” Pilot wrote on its Facebook page. “We will continue to update as necessary.” Pilot also created a page for updates about what steps its truck stops are taking to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

All three truck stop chains said they have made changes to their handling of food and have established new cleaning protocols.

Editor’s note: Check out OOIDA & Land Line’s handy reference guide that is updated throughout the day with information that all truckers need to know during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

WW Williams

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.