Riding The Storm Out in NJ Truck Stops

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COLUMBIA, NEW JERSEY -- When the snow storm rolled in, the trucks stopped rolling. The governors of New York and New Jersey issues travel bans Monday, bans that have now been lifted.

Now that the blizzard has moved out of New York and New Jersey, traffic is slowly getting back to normal. For truck drivers waiting out the storm, it tried their patience and their wallets.

A truck stop in Columbia, New Jersey, just five miles east of the Pennsylvania line, we found John Barr of Easton.

"Just sitting here, drinking coffee, just got out of the shower actually, at TA."

Barr has a load of Macy's department store circulars headed for New York City. He chose to wait out the travel ban at Columbia. Barr said he supports shutting down highways, like Interstate 80, during extreme bad weather.

"If they feel that we're in danger, or any other drivers are in danger, they're going to shut down the roads for our safety, not just our safety, but everybody's safety."

Raymond Petersen from Apple Valley, Minnesota is another waiting out the storm, just over the Pennsylvania line. Petersen told me the blizzard cost him time and money.

"I don't get paid for sitting. I get paid when I'm rolling," he said.

There are essentially two types of truckers here at this truck stop. Those who want to go east and can't move, and those who were east and got out of New York, New Jersey, and New England just in time.

Carl Grey considers himself one of the lucky ones. He dropped off his machine parts in Brooklyn as the storm was getting wound up.

"It was pretty bad, snowing all day and everything else. Roads were getting a little bit nasty, but I made it here."

Grey hopes it's clear sailing for the rest of his trip back to Cincinnati.

The same goes for Charles Vick of Richmond, Virginia. He dropped off his trailer filled with food in Queens as the storm arrived.

"I did what I had to do real quick and I got out of there."

Grey is going back to Chicago for another load, hoping his next trip east is easier than the last.

Other vehicles moving this afternoon: Martz buses. The company is sending empty buses to New York City, to bring back people from our area who were stranded there on Monday.

1 Comment

  • Franko

    This is why the trucking industry has to change — The whole things about only getting paid when the wheels are ruling is ridiculous. DOT still considers them on duty if they are stuck on the road, or on the side of the road for the weather, and it counts against their 14 hours work day limit, but they don’t get paid for the time they sit. And if they take their mandatory 10 hours break, as soon as the 10 hours are done, they are back on the clock, but still not getting paid if they still cannot drive the truck if the roads are still bad or if the interstates are closed. And they wonder why drivers are always in a rush – they only make money if they are moving. Many company drivers aren’t even given the time to stop and eat because you aren’t getting paid but still loosing the time that you take to stop and eat from the amount of legal hours you can work for the day because it is an exempt industry, the DOT doesn’t recognise lunch breaks,m opr bathroom breaks, or stops to get refueled – you are still on the clock, but not getting paid for it, because truck driving is an exempt industry from federal labor rules. Company’s don’t have to allow you to take a lunch or a break, and they do not have to pay any type of overtime pay – you are expected to work the 14 hours and a 70 to 80 hours week because that is what the law allows.

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