Two days ago we wrote about how on April 3rd the FHWA is now allowing food trucks to operate in Rest Areas. The FHWA course of action was taken because of the National Emergency which was put in place on March 13 due to the Covid19 pandemic as well as how the coronavirus is creating hardships and challenges for professional drivers out on the road. Simply put, many drivers can not find hot food. Commercialized rest areas has been forbidden by Federal law for over 50 years, so this decision was a big deal!
Truckers have been working tirelessly on the front lines, meeting the demand for food and supplies for the nation. Unfortunately the challenges drivers are facing are tremendous.
The pandemic has caused difficulty for truckers finding food as many restaurants are closed, and unless a drive through allows the driver to walk up to the window ( which some are now allowing), their ability to obtain hot food is difficult. Bathrooms and showers have also been a challenge, with most shippers and receivers not allowing drivers inside the buildings.
When we wrote about food trucks being allowed in rest areas during this crisis, we mentioned that this was a more than welcome decision and would help truckers as well as the food trucks who are in need of support. Drivers have been fighting for this for a long time.
Although the National Association of Truck Stop Owners ( NATSO) has vehemently fought in past years to keep any form of commercialization out of rest areas, we never seriously thought they would fight against this recent FHWA decision to allow food trucks to feed drivers during a National Emergency. ( Although I must admit, the thought did enter my mind, but I was almost ashamed for thinking they would actually oppose drivers being fed)
According to a Landline article, Profiteering Natso aims to block food trucks at rest areas, Natso has sent out a call to action to its membership asking for help to get governors to block food trucks at rest areas. Okay, I have to repeat that. NATSO sent out a call to action to its membership asking for help to get governors to block food trucks at rest areas.
Enough is Enough People! If NATSO is telling their members to call the governors and tell them to block food trucks at rest areas, then WE MUST ALL call the governors and tell them that they must follow the FHWA announcement to allow food trucks at rest areas to feed truckers.
Notice of Enforcement Discretion by FHWA
Accordingly, for the duration of the national emergency declared by the President on March 13, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, if a State determines that permitting food trucks to operate and sell food in any designated federally funded Interstate Highway rest areas is necessary to support interstate commercial truck drivers, FHWA will refrain from taking any remedial action under the Federal-aid highway program against that State.