Florida Trucking Association: ‘The demand is high right now’

In Miami, the toilet paper shelves are nearly empty in a store as people stock up. Stores around the country have seen a run on essentials as people react to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

With stores running out of items quickly during the COVID-19 pandemic, Florida needs truck drivers, according to state agencies and the Florida Trucking Association.

“A lot of companies are increasing hiring, the demand is high right now,” Alix Miller, vice president of the Florida Trucking Association, said in a phone interview. The statewide organization represents trucking companies and vendors.

She said the group is working with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the Florida Department of Transportation “to take steps to get new drivers.”

“We are on the phone with them almost every day,” she said.

Meanwhile, with Florida checkpoints on I-95 and I-10 to screen travelers coming from COVID-19 hotspots, commercial vehicles such as trucks carrying freight are exempt from entering weigh stations right now.

Instead, weigh stations are being used to screen passengers in cars – asking questions about travel and potential exposure to the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus that has spread across the globe.

The transportation department’s screening process says “each arriving traveler or responsible family member (if traveling as a family) will be required to complete a traveler form,” according to a press release.

The form includes traveler contact information and trip details. Failure to complete the form or follow isolation or quarantine orders is a violation of Florida law. If a person has been in a COVID-19 hotspot, they will have to isolate for 14 days upon entering Florida or for the duration of their visit, whichever is shorter.

Right now, state officials don’t plan to expand checkpoints to include I-75.