Arkansas Trucking Association

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Up Front- The Not-So-Great Unknown

DSCF7709 smallShannon Newton
President, ATA

Our trucking community stretches everywhere the roads connect.  It doesn’t simply stop at state borders. And for this issue, we headed to Sapulpa, Okla., outside of Tulsa, for a first time visit to a long time ATA member, John Christner Trucking. 

I had seen in industry and social media how John Christner Trucking had encountered early cases of COVID-19 within their staff and how new president Danny Christner had openly shared his efforts to protect his workforce and continue serving customers. Impressed, I wanted to meet him myself and introduce him to our readers.

On Wednesday, May 20, I was excited to attend the interview because from our limited previous interaction, I knew Danny to be full of energy and personality. So, I woke up early and headed 300 miles west. 

Perhaps more than others, I feel comfortable and capable when I have plenty of information and control of my choices. I imagine this is how drivers feel when they start each day.  They want to know the weather, the traffic conditions, the obstacles, the cities along their route, and then be free to make the choices that will get them to their destination on time and safely.

In the midst of a contagious virus that has already killed over 100,000 Americans, information and control are fragile and subject to revisions. Scientists are still learning what this virus is and passing that information on to leadership, businesses, communities and citizens to decide how we proceed.

As I crossed over the state line from Arkansas into Oklahoma, I realized I had not mentally prepared for the fear, anxiety and uncertainty I felt. 

I arrived in Tulsa with time to spare, but so many questions. Where can I get gas? Will they let me inside to use the restroom? Are there dining rooms where I can eat lunch? Is drive-thru my only option?

Visiting members is one of my favorite parts of this job, and suddenly, it became a scary part because I didn’t know if the information I usually operate from and the choices I normally have would be available in the current situation.

I didn’t know what the rules were from one jurisdiction to another.  My options were limited, but I didn’t really know to what extent. The uncertainty was surreal.

“Is this what truck drivers have been doing and feeling since March with no end in sight?” I thought.

Ultimately, it was a minor inconvenience to eat lunch in my car that allowed me to access greater empathy and respect for the drivers who are still confidently and capably performing the work despite not always having all the information or control of the choices that we did six months ago.

Even as more businesses re-open their doors and states and communities deploy different strategies based on local needs, commercial truck drivers are navigating a patchwork of unknowns. They are sacrificing their own comforts and sense of stability on the job to keep critical supply chains moving.

Contact Us

Arkansas Trucking Association
PO Box 3476 (72203)
1401 West Capitol Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72201

(501) 372-3462 | Phone
(501) 376-1810 | Fax

Our Mission

  • PROTECT the collective interests of trucking companies in the political and regulatory arenas.
  • PROMOTE the dynamics of trucking so that people have a better understanding of the link between America's primary freight delivery system and the standard of living they enjoy.
  • SERVE our members to help them to grow their business and their profits
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