OOIDA distributing thousands of free masks to truckers

July 13, 2020

Mark Schremmer

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Masks available from OOIDA's tour trailer, The Spirit, and at OOIDA HQ

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association will be distributing thousands of free masks to truck drivers.

OOIDA’s tour trailer, the Spirit of the American Trucker, will be distributing masks at its stops throughout the country. This week, on July 15-16. Jon Osburn and The Spirit will be at the Petro in Rochelle, Ill., off Interstate 39. Following the stop in Rochelle, The Spirit is scheduled to be at the Petro in Gary Ind., from July 17-20 and at the Petro in Monee, Ill., from July 21-22. A full schedule can be found here.

Truckers also can acquire masks at OOIDA’s headquarters in Grain Valley, Mo.

Recently, some states, counties and cities have enacted ordinances requiring people to wear masks in public and inside businesses. You can learn more about various states’ mask requirements at Land Line’s COVID-19 page.

Lewie Pugh, OOIDA’s executive vice president, said the masks will be available for truckers who want them and acknowledged that some drivers have voiced frustrations regarding the mandates.

“OOIDA did not make the mask rule or any of the COVID rules for that matter,” Pugh said. “Nor are we supporting or not supporting the wearing of masks. We understand the frustration you have with having to wear these masks. We also know that drivers and the public are required to wear them in certain areas. So with that we are just trying to help supply you with them so you can do your job. If you don’t want one, you don’t have to take one.”

In all, OOIDA secured about 12,500 masks as part of its efforts to make sure that truck drivers had access to personal protective equipment.

In recent months, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that it would be distributing 15.5 million face masks across the country. About 2.1 million masks were designated for highway and motor carrier workers.

“This was all initiated by the letter OOIDA sent to the White House requesting (personal protective equipment) to drivers, because it was not readily available to them,” said Doug Morris, OOIDA’s director of security operations. “We worked with FMCSA and FEMA to acquire face masks that were being obtained in great numbers by FEMA.”

In addition to the masks OOIDA has been distributing, millions more were mailed to truck and bus companies and rest areas across the nation.

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.”

 

Mark Schremmer

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.