TENNESSEE, USA — The global pandemic is taking a toll on truck drivers. They're making the long haul to restock shelves and pleading with the public to stop stockpiling so they can catch up.
It's a trucker's job to transport items across the country so shelves aren't barren. However, the public is making their job harder.
Truck driver Quinton Pratt from Kodak has driven a truck for two decades. He said it's something that is in his blood. He's put in extra hours over the last few weeks to make sure restocks happen.
"Whenever we're working overtime, we're doing our job, Pratt said. "Just let us do that."
He's logged thousands of more miles since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, sometimes doubling his usual days.
"Whenever you have 150,000 trucks delivering every day, if you have a million people buy the exact same thing over and over every day, multiple times a day, we can't keep up with it," Pratt admitted.
His message to those stockpiling goods every day of the week? Stop.
"If you've got to buy stuff, don't do it every day," Pratt begged. "You want to do it on Monday and Friday? Cool. You want to do it on Monday and Wednesday? That's cool. It doesn't got to be Monday through Friday and Saturday and Sunday. You know, you've got to stay home. Let us catch up."
Pratt admitted there are some silver linings to the pandemic, like fewer cars on the road.
"The traffic I have to say ain't as bad," Pratt said. "That's the good thing about the coronavirus."
He, and many others, are sacrificing their family time to provide for more.
"But we're out there missing those times with our family so you can go home and you don't have to worry about it," Pratt explained.
On the long road ahead, Pratt said common courtesy for those 18-wheelers will lighten the load.
"It's good, carry on. It's what you do. You just carry on," Pratt smiled.
The White House lifted hours of service restrictions on truck drivers carrying essential materials, like food and medical supplies.
Truck driving advocate groups, like the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, are pushing for those hours to be lifted for all loads during the pandemic.