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University research shares pandemic's impact on truck drivers

A University of Houston-Downtown professor did a study on truck drivers and the impact they face during the COVID-19 pandemic.

HOUSTON — While the entire country was shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic, one group of workers kept the country moving. Tuck drivers have been hard at work across America.

"Now, more than ever, we see how important they are to us and to our health and safety," said Dr. Michael Lemke, Assistant Professor of Health and Behavioral Science at the University of Houston-Downtown.

That's why Lemke recently did a study on truck drivers and the impact they face during the pandemic. Lenke used to be a truck driver.

"When I was 21, actually, I went into training and became a commercial driver," Lemke said.

He knows about the issues they face every day on the road. And he wanted to make sure through his research, he could bring awareness to what he said is an extremely vulnerable and forgotten group of people.

"It's an obesogenic profession. They aren’t able to eat well on the road. They aren’t able to exercise. They have extremely high rates of stress on the road," Lemke said.

And because of the health issues they already face, he fears many might not be getting the care they need.

One local trucking company, Dryden Logistics, said its drivers faced issues while just trying to rest during this pandemic.

"Some states closed the rest areas to drivers. and they had a limited amount of driving each day. They had to shut down for 10 hours," said Michael Nelson, owner of Dryden Logistics.

On top of all of that, the American Trucking Association said there’s a shortage in drivers.

Because of that shortage, the professor believes more attention needs to be given to truck drivers. To make sure our goods keep getting delivered.

"Very basic testing and treatment. But we also need more long-term primary prevention strategy," Lemke said.

If you would like to read the professor's research you can check out the link below. 

Each day, approximately 3 million loads are transported across the U.S. via semi trucks. The drivers of these vehicles help move 71 percent of the freight in our country including much needed commodities such as groceries, technology, medical equipment and much more.