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Coronavirus testing poses unique challenges for truck drivers

Drive-thru testing sites don’t necessarily accommodate big rigs

Trucking organizations and service providers are starting to explore ways of making coronavirus tests available to drivers whose trucks are typically too large for drive-thru testing sites. But like many of the responses to COVID-19, most of the forays into driver testing have yet to coalesce around a single organized plan.

The issue “is on my radar,” Norita Taylor, a spokesperson for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), told FreightWaves. Taylor said she would like to know, specifically, if truck stop clinics will have testing abilities but has yet to figure out “who to even ask.”

After FreightWaves inquired about the possibility of locating a testing site at the Jubitz Travel Center in Portland, Oregon, president and CEO Fred Jubitz said his management team was meeting “as we speak” and that coronavirus testing would be on the agenda.

The past few weeks have seen widespread concerns about lack of coronavirus testing in the U.S. Experts say tests are vital to containing the spread, but to date, only around 16,000 people have been tested.

Aiming to correct that, at least seven states — California, Colorado, Connecticut, Minnesota, New York, Texas and Washington — have opened drive-thru coronavirus testing stations.

Healthcare workers in protective gear take a driver’s temperature, check for breathing problems and take a sample swab that is delivered to a nearby lab.

These sites, however, are intended for passenger vehicles and don’t necessarily accommodate truck drivers and their Class 8 tractor trailers.

One solution is to leverage existing trucking infrastructure, such as the clinics OOIDA’s Taylor mentioned. Several truck stop chains, including Pilot Co. and TA-Petro, as well as some independent travel centers, offer health centers at select locations that allow truckers to see a doctor or nurse practitioner in person.

Mitch Strobin, senior vice president of UrgentCareTravel, the chain that operates the Pilot clinics, said the company had ordered coronavirus test kits for its 13 facilities — 20 per site, the maximum number allowed. (No testing will be done inside the actual Pilot or Flying J locations, according to Pilot spokesperson Bridgit Fletcher.)

A growing number of drive-thru test sites are springing up around the country, Strobin said. But truck drivers need a lot of space to maneuver, and “for the population we serve, there are limited places they can go.”

UrgentCareTravel locations have 100-plus parking places, he said, offering drivers a place to park while they get tested.

Other health care services targeting truckers have implications for the current pandemic.

GoMedRx, a telemedicine service for truckers, launched Monday as part of the Konexial family of services that serve drivers and carriers. The company started working on the product about a month ago and had planned to launch it at the Mid-America Trucking Show that was scheduled for later this month, Ken Evans, CEO of Konexial, told Frightwaves.

As the pandemic intensified — and the trucking show was canceled — Konexial decided to push up the launch date, Evans said. “We saw it as an opportunity to step up and help drivers through this crisis.”

The GoMedRx open platform provides nonemergency care for drivers and costs $180 annually.

Asked where truck drivers would get tested for coronavirus if they received a physician referral, Evans emphasized the situation is changing rapidly but said he expected doctors to direct drivers to sites being set up by Walmart, Target, Walgreens and CVS Health.

The retailers and pharmaceutical giants announced last week that they will dedicate a portion of their parking lots to test facilities. Whether the sites would accommodate heavy-duty trucks is unclear. Walgreens and Walmart did not immediately respond to FreightWaves’ request for comment.


  1. We are at the bottom of the pile again if we stop driving within two days the country would collapse i drive from one end of the country to the other away from home 4 to 5 nights away from home in a tanker taking product to make sure everyone has clean water to drink we are supposed to be key workers
    What a load of crap

  2. I would think that us drivers that just a drop and hook, are pretty much safe from getting into contact with anyone except the fuel pumps, but all you have to do just make sure you wash your hands and not touch your face and grab the hand pump with a hand sanitizer. Don’t buy any of the food from the truckstops unless it’s in a sealed container. For example a can of Chef Boyardee raviolis. I’m reading a lot of bullshit hype,The truckers are more vulnerable I think that’s bullshit.

    1. Truckers are more vulnerable so its not bullshit! My husband is out risking his life and away from home and has been showing systems for the last 3 days!! WHY because when he dose go into truck stops they a crowded with humans from all over not wearing any protection and not following state guide lines safe distancing and face cover. This is what is bullshit!! People need to stay home this virus is very serious and we need to protect our Truckers!!!

  3. If truck drivers really want a raise now is the time to push the narrative. The country needs truckers services but the truckers must continue to work for free! Zipcode to Zipcode. unloading or loading while not getting paid for the 1st two hours. 42-46 cpm for company drivers. 1.03 cpm for lease drivers. No paid time off barely can afford health insurance. Trucking companies see a gold mine during this crisis cause of high rates. Risk your health while trucking companies can earn a heavy profit.

Linda Baker, Senior Environment and Technology Reporter

Linda Baker is a FreightWaves senior reporter based in Portland, Oregon. Her beat includes autonomous vehicles, the startup scene, clean trucking, and emissions regulations. Please send tips and story ideas to