Congratulations to our members and their employees on surviving the pandemic so far. It has been challenging, but I remain proud of our efforts and service. We play a critical role ensuring Americans have food in markets, fuel at gas stations, and safe places for truck drivers to stop as they haul essential items across the country.
There isn’t another industry that I can think of that has been more on the front line of keeping the country moving. We’ve shown up every day, tackled the challenges and come back the next day for more. To date, our employees have had a low COVID-19 infection rate, and they have taken safety and their responsibility to protect their coworkers very seriously. We have every right to feel proud.
The pandemic continues to alter how we live and work, and although challenges remain, things seem to be improving. Vaccines are making their way into people’s arms, and the very nature of the trucking, truckstop and travel plaza industries allows us a unique opportunity to have an immediate and meaningful impact on the distribution of vaccines to essential employees.
NATSO along with American Trucking Associations, the Truckload Carriers Association, the National Private Truck Council and National Tank Truck Carriers have asked Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to designate truckstops and travel plazas as mobile vaccination sites so we can leverage our existing operations and locations across the country to distribute vaccines to professional truck drivers and truckstop employees.
In the letter, we explained that truckstops and travel plazas serve as the home away from home for our nation’s 3 million
professional truck drivers. Truckstops are specifically designed to meet the needs of truck drivers who often are on the road for hundreds of days each year crossing state lines and generally unable to access other facilities, including medical sites, while driving a Class 8 tractor trailer.
By administering vaccines through our nationwide network of locations, we can ensure the ability of our employees and the nation’s truck drivers to continue serving on the front lines of the fuel and food distribution systems across the country. I am hopeful we can play a vital role in bringing vaccines to the nation’s drivers as well as our employees who serve them.
I am looking forward to continued improvement and the time when we can get together face-to-face. We are currently working on NATSO Connect 2022. Stay tuned for more details and please plan to join us in person. We have all lived through this unique global event. Let’s not forget to celebrate by coming together to meet up with old friends and form new connections next year.
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