A semi-truck rolls into the rest stop off I-71 near Sunbury.
Leticia Wiggins / WOSU Public Media

Hot meals are few and far between for truck drivers on the road. Even as truckers remain essential during the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants have been limited to pickup or drive-through only.

“You can’t take an 18-wheeler through a drive-through,” says Tom Balzer, president of the Ohio Trucking Association.

Traffic over the last few weeks has been noticeably lighter as Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s stay-at-home order has been in effect. But, with essential businesses still open, Ohio’s truckers continue to travel the roads getting products where they need to be, though the coronavirus threat has created some additional challenges for the men and women moving America’s goods.

Greg Gjerdingen / Flickr

The Ohio House has passed a bill that would give Ohio employers up to $25,000 in tax credits for training truck drivers. The proposal is now on its way to the Senate.

The abrupt closure of an Akron trucking company last month came at the end of a difficult year for the industry.

GDS Express shut down, putting 75 drivers out of work right before Christmas. Last Spring, Falcon Transport in Youngstown closed suddenly.

Truck driver Aman Singh, 30, must traverse the 660 miles from northeastern Pennsylvania to Louisville, Ky., on an overnight drive. Before he saddles up for the long haul, he settles into a booth at Eat Spice, a truck stop/Indian restaurant off I-80 in Luzerne County, Pa., with a plate of chicken curry and a stack of roti.

"I've tried American food too," he says, before a long pause. "But mostly I don't like it."

Singh came to the United States from New Delhi and says he's not used to all of the frozen and processed food options in the United States.

Sleepy truck drivers cause hundreds of fatal crashes each year. Drivers work in an industry that rewards miles driven, not time on the clock, so many truckers push the envelope just to make a living.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration keeps drivers in check with so-called Hours of Service Regulations. The regs cap driving time at 11 hours a day. Truckers have to stop and rest for at least a half hour during that time, and no matter how much downtime they may have in between, they have to quit for the day 14 hours after they start.

Youngstown's Falcon Transport, which ended operations and laid off about 600 employees without warning in April, is facing multiple lawsuits according to a federal district court filing Tuesday. Falcon was part of the supply chain for GM's shuttered Lordstown plant, which ended production in March.

Elk and Elk lawfirm's Managing Partner Jay Kelly said Falcon was required to notify the state 60 days before closure under the Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification Act.

Otto Motors self-driving truck
Wikimedia Commons

Beginning July 1, Ohio’s gas tax will increase by 10.5 cents per gallon for regular fuel. The tax on diesel will go up by 19 cents, because big trucks do most of the damage on Ohio’s roads.

Greg Gjerdingen / Flickr

According to the Ohio Department of Transportation, a 2013 study found that 83 percent of drivers frequently took longer than 30 minutes to find parking. That's why ODOT created the Truck Parking Information Management System.

Updated on Dec. 4 at 6:29 p.m. ET

Some of the nation's 3.5 million truck drivers staged protests with their big rigs at truck stops and a few state capitols around the country on Monday, in hopes of derailing a new safety regulation that is set to take effect later this month.


Uber has upended the taxi cab business with its ride sharing model that lets average people double as a delivery service. Now it’s trying to do the same with the shipping industry.

The trucking industry says there’s been a driver shortage for two decades – and that there could be 175,000 unfilled trucker jobs in the next seven years.  A bipartisan group of lawmakers have proposed a package of bills that seeks to put the brakes on that.