Let truckers use the restroom, group tells shippers, receivers

March 17, 2020

Mark Schremmer


In response to reports that shippers and receivers are refusing to let truck drivers use their restrooms, the American Logistics Aid Network sent a request to thousands of U.S. businesses.

“We are all in this fight together. We need our truckers on the roads, so our warehouses and stores and manufacturing can stay open and so that our communities get what they need,” wrote Kathy Fulton, executive director of ALAN. “At a time when our systems are so stretched and fragile, now more than ever we need to band together the disparate parts of the supply chain to ensure our country has the nourishment, hydration, and medical care we need.”

OOIDA has been involved in reporting the refusals to ALAN, which is an industrywide organization that exists to provide supply chain assistance to disaster relief organizations. The Association has heard from numerous members that they have been not allowed to use the bathroom because of concerns involving the transmission of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

“I know these are very uncertain and scary times, but we are hearing multiple reports that shippers and receivers are refusing access to bathroom facilities for truck drivers due to fears about virus transmission,” ALAN wrote. “Drivers are threatening to go home. Coupled with the fact that some state rest stops are closed, the lack of access to restrooms at shipper/receiver locations is a barrier to trucking continuity.”

ALAN is asking its members to use “informed compassion,” follow CDC guidance and practice good hygiene rather than stop all truck drivers from using the restroom.

National emergency

Truck drivers are being counted on to deliver emergency supplies across the nation as the coronavirus outbreak continues to increase. On March 14, FMCSA issued a national emergency declaration to provide hours-of-service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting emergency supplies in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

In a letter to Pennsylvania lawmakers on March 17, OOIDA criticized the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for shutting down its rest areas.

“We understand this decision was likely made in an effort to limit passenger vehicle movement, interaction among travelers, and the state’s administration and supervision of these facilities during an emergency declaration,” wrote Collin Long, OOIDA’s director of government affairs. “However, rest areas are vitally important to truckers, who at this time are being heavily relied upon to transport critical supplies across the country.”

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.