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Pandemics and Truck Drivers

J. Bradley Klepper
Attorney at Law

You know when I sit down to write these articles every couple of weeks I usually have a subject picked out and at least an idea of what I am going to say. I try to pick something that is timely at the time of writing and hopefully will be at the time of publication. With the lead time in getting things to print sometimes what I think is current may be old news by the time you read it.

Of course, sometimes I just write about things that interest me. Things that make me laugh. Things that make me mad. Things that make me want to cry. Or, as Arsenio Hall used to say, things that make me go “hmmmmmm.” I guess that is the upside of writing your own column. The freedom of choice.

Well, as I sit down today, the only thing people are talking is the Coronavirus (COVID-19). In fact, within the past hour the World Health Organization (“WHO”) just declared the virus a Pandemic. This is a big deal.

Of course, by the time this goes to press the virus may be contained and we all may be safe. Or we may not. Who knows? But like I said earlier, this is my article so I am going to write about it.

Now, in case you are curious, the difference between an epidemic and a pandemic is that an epidemic describes an outbreak over a wide geographic area which impacts a large number of people. In contrast, Pandemic refers to an outbreak that impacts A WHOLE COUNTRY OR THE ENTIRE WORLD.

In the past few days, the National Guard has been called out to quarantine a portion or New Rochelle, NY. Public gatherings are being restricted in Seattle. Universities are sending students home. Cruise ships are being held at sea. Major corporations are telling folks to work from home.

In other words, this thing is truly impacting people’s lives and livelihood. Now, based on the extensive medical training I received in law school (which is none) I am not qualified to tell you how to avoid the virus. I guess I can go with the basics. Wash your hands. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. That is about all I have to offer. Instead, I suggest you look to the CDC or other agency on steps to try and avoid contracting the virus.

The purpose of this article is not to tell you how to avoid the virus or how it will disrupt your life. Instead, I wanted to point out that some folks, no matter how bad this thing gets, will be there every day answering the call.

The first is our medical professionals. These folks don’t get to take a day off because they don’t want to be around sick people. That is their job. They are at the forefront of this thing. Caring for other is their passion and their calling. And I am beyond grateful that they are willing to accept this challenge.

The second group is our first responders. All of them. Whether it’s state or federal enforcement, fire departments, EMTs, National Guard or any military branch. These folks step up and do what needs to be done. Often times we as a society can appear ungrateful for the sacrifices these folks make and for that I, for one, apologize. To be at the forefront, away from your family, during times like these is trying – to say the least. God bless you all.

Now the first two groups are easily identified and hopefully will get all the accolades they deserve. They do an amazing job and I could not be more proud.

The third group, the Truck Driver, often goes unnoticed but plays an incredibly important role in combating the virus. Sure I work in the trucking industry and am partial to drivers. However, the thing that much of the public fails to understand is that without the drivers the first two groups could not do their jobs. Let’s be honest. How do you think the coronavirus test kits get to the medical facilities? How do think the antibiotics and other medications are delivered? The hand sanitizer? The toilet paper? The food and water being distributed by first responders? Every damn one of those things is delivered by a truck driver. While the first two group will get all the recognition the trucking industry will likely go unrecognized. I think this is wrong.

Truck drivers are not getting to “work from home” during this crisis. Instead they are out there doing their jobs. Just like they do every day. Delivering the things that are necessary to fight this pandemic. To try to keep everyone safe and those that are sick to get well. Again, I really don’t expect the drivers to get the thanks they deserve.

So I want to be the first to publicly thank the drivers for all they do. Staying on the job. Putting themselves in harm’s way to deliver the things necessary to combat this pandemic.
To all the drives out there…..THANK YOU.

Brad Klepper, Esq. is President of Interstate Trucker Ltd., a law firm entirely dedicated to legal defense of the nation's commercial drivers. Interstate Trucker represents truck drivers throughout the forty-eight (48) states on both moving and non-moving violations. Brad is also Executive Vice President & General Counsel of Drivers Legal Plan, which allows member drivers access to his firm’s services at greatly discounted rates. Brad spent almost a decade with the largest law firm in Oklahoma where his practice included extensive experience in transactional law, business defense litigation, and intellectual property. In addition, Brad is a licensed architect and serves as General Counsel to the Oklahoma Board of Architects, Landscape Architects and Interior Designers. Brad has dedicated much of his time to DataQs challenges, which are challenges posed to the FMCSA for CSA incidents, to examine data and reports filed by law enforcement.

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