(WRIC) — Anytime you see store shelves fully stocked with hand sanitizer or toilet paper during the COVID-19 pandemic, thank a trucker braving the outbreak to deliver those necessities.
Unlike many in the nation, truck drivers can’t work from home — they’re hitting the roads. That’s why the Virginia DMV has decided to open up weigh stations to help drivers during a challenging time. For many of the unsung highway heroes like David Hamlin, it’s one less thing to stress about on the road.
“It’s a dangerous, dangerous job out here because I was in New York this morning and now I’m here,” Hamlin told 8News at a rest stop in Central Virginia.
Hamlin and thousands of other truckers are working non-stop to make sure people have what they need during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We do it for America,” Hamlin said. “We’re on the frontlines just like soldiers are, police are. It’s countless hours. I probably won’t go home for another three months to see my wife and kids.”
It’s just part of the sacrifice that he wishes others would make for drivers like himself.
“The thing is just people are not being considerate anymore,” Hamlin said. “It’s like they let their fear factor overtake them. Even in restaurants, we’re getting turned away. We can’t stop and get hot food. Prices are going up for us drivers. You go into a store and buy a .99 center water and now it’s $3 down the street.”
Trucker Denise Jones and her travel buddy ‘Pun’Kin’ are dealing with the same issues.
“We appreciate people are supporting the trucking industry,” she said. “It would be nice if there were more restaurants who would allow us to do walk-ups – that’s another problem.”
While the Virginia DMV can’t help truckers with a hot-and-ready-to-go meal, it does plan to open 246 parking spots for truck drivers at 10 different weigh stations across the state. The spots would be available to truckers 24-hours a day, seven days a week at least through April 23.
“That makes a huge difference,” Jones said upon hearing the news. “The truck stops fill up at 5/6 in the afternoon they’re full so we have nowhere to park. They don’t let us park on the ramps so parking is probably the worse thing right now for trucks.”
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