News roundup, April 6: DOT OKs food trucks at rest areas; New telemedicine option from TruckPark

Trucking news and briefs for Monday, April 6, 2020:

FHWA waives enforcement of commercial food options at rest areas
The Federal Highway Administration is suspending the enforcement of regulations that prohibit commercial food trucks from operating and selling food at interstate rest areas to give truck drivers more food options on the road during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The agency says it recognizes that food trucks “may provide vital sustenance for interstate commercial truck drivers and others who are critical to the nation’s continued ability to deliver needed food and relief supplies” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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If states determine that allowing food trucks to operate and sell food at rest areas is necessary, FHWA says it will not take any enforcement action against the state. States must come back into compliance with the regulations when the national emergency declaration ends.

“America’s commercial truck drivers are working day and night during this pandemic to ensure critical relief supplies are being delivered to our communities,” said FHWA Administrator Nicole R. Nason. “I am grateful to our state transportation partners for bringing this idea to the department and for their leadership in thinking outside the box. It is critical to make sure truck drivers continue to have access to food services while they’re on the job serving our nation during these challenging times.”

TruckPark partners with GenieMD to add telemedicine access to its app
TruckPark has added a telemedicine option to its app that allows drivers to connect on-demand with doctors via text and video, via a partnership with telehealth provider GenieMD. Through the TruckPark app’s Services page, drivers can access the GenieMD network for $49 per use — similar to a co-pay for a doctor’s visit. TruckPark’s telehealth platform access is also obviously available for drivers experiencing symptoms of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

“Providing telehealth services to truckers is the future for the transportation industry,” said Anthony Petitte, co-founder and CEO of TruckPark Inc. GenieMD doctors, he adds, can also issue prescriptions, which can be picked up on the road at whatever pharmacy is a driver is near.

“Most of these drivers spend many days at a time on the road and away from home and often, when they need medical help, they are in unknown territories during off hours,” says Dr. Soheil Saadat, founder and CEO of GenieMD. “By using our telemedicine platform, these hardworking individuals can have easy access to medical professionals, who can provide expert care and, if necessary, prescribe medication to the nearest pharmacy.”

DAT Book Now allows carriers to lock in a rate with the click of a button on their mobile or desktop device.DAT Book Now allows carriers to lock in a rate with the click of a button on their mobile or desktop device.

DAT launches Book Now service for certain brokers
Truck drivers using the DAT Load Board to find freight can now use an automated “Book Now” feature on loads posted by certain brokers. The program will roll out to loads from all brokers in May.

DAT’s Book Now allows carriers to search for loads and lock in a rate with the click of a button, cutting the negotiation process from booking a load.

In this initial release, the feature is available on loads posted by Knight-Swift Logistics, Kingsgate Logistics, Circle Logistics, Trinity Logistics, Cavalry Logistics and Choptank Transport.

DAT says carriers can search the load board specifically for loads with the Book Now option.

Arizona DOT reopens two rest areas for truckers
The Arizona Department of Transportation has temporarily reopened two long-shuttered rest areas in the northern part of the state.

The Parks Rest Area along I-40 west of Flagstaff (milemarker 182) and the Christensen Rest Area along I-17 south of Flagstaff (milemaker 324) now offer parking, portable toilets and handwashing stations specifically for truck drivers. Crews have been restriping the parking lots of both rest areas, and portable toilets, handwashing stations and trash bins have been brought in.

The two rest areas are open to commercial vehicles only.

“Long-haul truckers are working tirelessly to support our nation during this difficult time, and we will do all we can to support them,” said ADOT Director John Halikowski. “Opening these temporary rest stops provides a place for drivers to get the rest they need as they help all of us.”

New Mexico Girl Scouts donating cookies to truckers
The Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails have formed a partnership with Love’s Travel Stops to deliver free cookies to truck drivers during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

The state’s Girl Scouts organization said last week it wanted to show its appreciation for truck drivers who are delivering supplies during the spread of the coronavirus. The program, Donations for Drivers, allows individuals and businesses to say thank you by donating boxes of cookies that will be given to drivers at Love’s Travel Stops along I-40 in New Mexico.

Donations from the public are being accepted online through April 19 or until supplies run out. Each $5 donation buys one box of cookies that will be delivered to a truck driver stopping for fuel, food or rest at a Love’s Travel Stop.

Truckstop.com providing free loadboard access for a month
Truckstop.com announced it is providing one-month’s free access to its Trucktop.com Pro platform to the first 10,000 new customers that sign up in April. The Pro platform offers access to the Truckstop.com loadboard, as well as information on rates averages and the ability to book loads with one click. Likewise, for current customers, the company is offering access to more discounts and offers from Truckstop.com and partners.

Howes announces first hall of fame inductee
Howes has named Women in Trucking President and CEO Ellen Voie as its first Howes Hall of Fame inductee. The Howes Hall of Fame launched in 2020 to celebrate the additives and lubricants company’s 100th year in business.

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