DEFOREST (WKOW) -- Ask Maurice Behling what has changed most for him amid non-essential business closures across the country and he'll note the last hot meal he had was Sunday before hitting the road for a week of driving.
"For us getting something to eat, it has (gotten more difficult)," Behling said. "Can't go to the drive-up in a big truck…gotta bring a lot of food from home."
Behling is among the truck drivers adapting to a new reality as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to rapidly increase across the U.S. The Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association has had to adapt like everyone else.
"We are trying to meet the demand out there with groceries, medical supplies, and other essential goods to be delivered across the entire state and across the entire country," said President Neal Kedzie.
Kedzie said his organization is collaborating with the 49 other trucking associations in the nation and, more importantly, is working with companies to shift resources away from industries that are now at a halt toward those trying to keep up.
"If you have a slowdown in one sector, say the building sector, that frees up a lot of flatbed trucks to deliver different type of goods for, perhaps, building emergency makeshift hospitals," Kedzie said.
While the cargo might change for many truckers, Behling said the mission remains the same.
"Just keep doing what we're supposed to be doing here, everybody," Behling said. "Everybody does their part, we'll get this thing under control."
Kedzie said the Motor Carriers Association is also working with the Wisconsin Restaurant Association to try to find solutions for getting hot meals to truckers on the road. He said some restaurants have already ensured that staff will take truckers' orders from their cab and run the food out to them.
Another change for truckers is that federal regulators have waived limits on the amount of time drivers can spend on the road. The loosening applies to the transportation of essential items, including medical supplies, disinfectants, and food.