Profiteering Natso aims to block food trucks at rest areas

April 8, 2020

Jami Jones


I won’t say I’m glad I was right, but I was right.

Two days ago, on April 6, the Federal Highway Administration suspended enforcement to allow food trucks to post up at rest areas. The goal is to increase the likelihood that truckers could find a hot meal during the COVID-19 emergency declaration.

After reading the announcement, I called it. I said Natso, the truck stop and travel plaza association, would come out against it. And they did – two days later – on April 8.

Let’s review the current situation out there on the highways. Restaurants are closed. Truckers can’t walk through the drive-thru. Truck stops have reduced hours and local restrictions, etc. Basically, truckers are having one heck of a time finding a place to get a hot meal.

Instead of, I don’t know, maybe finding a way to pitch in and help in these trying times, Natso sends out a call to action to its membership asking for help to get governors to block food trucks at rest areas.

So, in their infinite wisdom, Natso’s leadership is trying to keep the supply of food available to truckers restricted. Oh and by the way, let’s not forget that only one national truck stop chain has waived parking fees. So, if Natso got to set the rules truckers will continue pay to park and maybe get lucky with some fast food.

I’m not sure if Natso’s greed knows any real limits. That association has fought long and hard to keep their monopolistic grasp on truckers. And in the middle of a pandemic, they double down on it? I’d like to say I’m baffled, but I’m not. This is pretty much their standard modus operandi and further proves that the corporate end of the trucking industry has no interest in making sure the backbone of the industry is accommodated.

They brought the fight, so it’s time to fight back. They are calling on their members to contact the governor in their state of business and tell them to not allow food trucks at rest areas.

Why don’t all the truckers out there call your home state governor and the governor of every state you roll through and encourage them to allow food trucks at rest areas?

Instead of them hearing the woe-is-me tale from the truck stops, tell the governors’ offices what you are facing on the road. FHWA is trying to do a good thing to help truckers out. Make a few phone calls and show your support.

Don’t let Natso call the shots on this one. Who knows, you may score some great tacos or crab cakes from a food truck in the near future.


Jami Jones has been in journalism since 1991 – focused on the trucking industry since 2000. Whether judging Shell SuperRigs or writing hard-hitting analyses, she covers trucking from lug nuts to legislation – always with the trucker in mind.