HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – Truck drivers are critical front line workers, and many of the products in your home got there because of them.
They have played a vital role through the pandemic.
Longtime truck driver Donald Biggerstaff described 2020 in one word – busy.
He said he has been in the trucking industry for 40 years.
He said he drives, “just about anything you could think of, from a bicycle to food stuff to manufacturing products.”
He’s one of the 3.6 million trucker drivers in the United States.
“When the COVID-19 numbers were rising, people went on a buying binge and the grocery store shelves were kind of getting empty at that time, and the trucking industry had to step in, so we did and we put in long hours,” said Biggerstaff.
He said this year it wasn’t just COVID-19 causing long hours for drivers; wildfires out west and hurricanes in the Gulf Coast also caused the demand for products to go up.
“We're not long after the emergency people to arrive on the scene with things that people need, like water and food, even shelter,” said Biggerstaff. “It kind of makes you proud to be an industry that can step in when America needs us.”
He said he is passionate about it and loves his job.
“Our nation's highways are the veins of this nation, and trucks are on every one of [them]," said Biggerstaff, “taking what they need to people everywhere all the way across the country.”
The American Trucking Association reports that truck drivers have helped each person in this country get the goods they need. They said that nearly every good consumed in the U.S. is put on a truck at some point, and as a result, the trucking industry hauled 72.5% of all freight transported in the United States in 2019, equating to 11.84 billion tons.
“Sometimes we seem like we're big and slow and you need to hurry up and get around us, but be patient with us and let us do our job because we're doing the best we can. Who knows... we may have your Christmas present on that truck or what you're going to eat for dinner tomorrow,” said Biggerstaff.
He said people have a new gratitude for what truck drivers do after dealing with COVID-19, and his fellow drivers appreciate it.
“They don't really seek any glory. They just want to go out and do their jobs, support their families, support their company and support your country,” he said.