ROCHESTER, Minn. - This pandemic has disrupted all of our lives and many industries are taking bigger hits than others. For truck drivers, they've been working non-stop, not knowing what's ahead of them each day.
Benton Brockett is a trucker at Lawrence Transportation Company in Rochester. He went into the trucking industry in the early 90s and grew a huge passion for it. Truck drivers are deemed essential right now, but they're still facing many challenges during the pandemic. Some truckers have to drive into different states without knowing the guidelines there, rest stops are closed so they can't shower and they aren't able to easily get food and go on their way as some fast food restaurants are still closed. Brockett explained when a trucker has to change up their routine, that messes up the entire schedule, coming all the way down to transportation as a whole, it's like a domino effect. "We've been classified as a necessity as a reason. If we stop, everything stops. it's just that simple," said Brockett. "If you took everything off the road for one week, there would be complete, not just bare shelves of toilet paper like you saw, but everything, completely everything. Within two weeks, you would not have any supplies anywhere."
Sunday was National Trucker Day and Brockett explained the biggest 'thank you' you can give as a driver is be patient with them when you're out on the road and make sure you're giving them plenty of room. He said a misconception people have of truckers is that they don't care about others on the road, but he explained it's the exact opposite. They're working with equipment that weighs thousands of pounds, so they have to drive slow and take wider turns. Brockett said they're just trying to do their job like you're trying to safely get to your destination. "It's an industry that's been highly taken advantage of and taken for granted. I think that a lot of people don't understand the necessity of it. They don't see it as something that effect their everyday, but yet it effects their every facet of their everyday and they don't realize it.," explained Brockett. "We're kind of behind the scenes and that's okay. But I think the thing that people need to realize is that we are just people trying to do our job too."
Brockett said there has always been a truck driver shortage and there always will be. If you've been laid off during this pandemic and are considering a career change, truck drivers are currently in high demand. Keep in mind, you'll need to pass a test for your Commercial Drivers License. In Rochester alone, there are over 150 trucking jobs available, according to Indeed.com.