Storm Continues Wrath, Trucking Industry Continues Reliefby Jana Ritter - Published: 11/09/2012
Just when we thought it couldn't get worse, yesterday it did. A week after Hurricane Sandy first reared her horrific head on the North East, left 111 people dead and cities underwater without power, Nor'easter arrived as the even worse storm yet. Freezing blizzard-like conditions leaving areas even more desperate for supplies to be transported in and more people transported elsewhere. While residents are being ordered a fuel ration, truck-drivers are getting more exemptions to keep fueling their fight.
The trucking industry's value to the US economy has long been apparent on websites such as TruckingUnlimited.com, but perhaps only now are we seeing its truly vital service to communities in the wake of disaster.
The people barely submerging from Hurricane Sandy's disaster flood zone and suffering a week without power already, were the people to again be hit even harder with an all out winter storm. Making it even more dire in areas with little relief but overcrowded shelters and minimal supplies, without power or heat. A situation becoming so bad that one district issues a mandatory evacuation, a gas ration declared in 12 other counties and all the local airports temporarily grounding their flights. Left in an impossible predicament, communities are basically relying on trucks to survive at every level and the trucking industry is accelerating its efforts to serve them.
Already waiving the CDL driving restrictions for truck drivers providing emergency assistance, both federal and state agencies have also lifted regulations for trucks delivering fuel and supplies. The EPA has temporarily waived federal clean diesel fuel requirements in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York City until November 20th. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has also set up an “interstate petroleum transport team” to ensure the fastest and most efficient movement of fuel to the hard hit regions. The team will serve as a single point of contact for states, the trucking industry, and agencies to assist in the removal of barriers to the quick delivery of fuel, FMCSA said. Toll both fees have been lifted for Hurricane relief trucks traveling through the surrounding states as well.
Private trucking companies continue to fuel the relief effort in all different sizes, shapes and forms. Fleet owners donating caravans of equipment and supplies from all over the state, locals converting their delivery trucks or pick-up trucks into rescue vehicles or stationed to serve food, or CDL drivers simply volunteering to drive for organizations like the red cross. Some truck-drivers have rallied their communities to collect truckloads of donations and driving the extra miles to deliver them personally. The Joplin Family Worship Center is one such community to organize a donation drive and load trailer truck full of medical supplies, sleeping bags, diapers, perishables and cards of support. Al Prescott a retired truck-driver and Joe Houston currently working in the industry, have teamed up to drive from Missouri and deliver the goods to New Jersey residents by Friday.
Many volunteer centers are also seeking qualified CDL drivers and do not require a truck.