Truck drivers have been holding their breaths since the Biden administration’s vaccine rule was released and they were informed they would have to get vaccinated or undergo regular COVID testing. They were hopeful the trucking industry would be exempt from the proposed federal mandate, but it appeared that this would not be the case. Solo drivers were able to heave a sigh of relief late last week when it was concluded that they would not have to fall under the vaccine rule after all, but the question remains: What about team drivers? Due to the fact that the word “solo drivers” was used in the statement about who would be exempted from the ruling, it appears obvious, team drivers are still on the hook.

The truth is, there is no “trucking exemption” at all. The word “trucking” isn’t used in the rule at all. Simply stated, the rule applies to employees “who do not report to a workplace where other individuals such as co-workers are present; while working from home; or who work exclusively outdoors.” Long-distance truck drivers are choosing to see themselves as being exempt due to working exclusively outdoors and not reporting to a workplace where others are present. Perhaps they are stretching the definition of working outdoors a bit due to the fact they spend so much time in a truck, but they are hoping lawmakers are willing to see things the same way.

Reality is there are many trucking companies who rely heavily on teams. This ruling could prove to be a large disruption to these companies. While some employees might assume they can lie about whether they have been vaccinated, this practice is highly discouraged as it can create a whole new set of risks for their trucking company. Although many might be tempted to patiently wait to see what happens, the law firm of Fisher Phillips suggested the best course of action is for the trucking industry to prepare for the implementation of the new rule. As for us at Soren, we desire the safety and well-being of all truck drivers. We are grateful for the work they do to transport our loads day and night throughout the country, so regardless of what the President’s administration decides, we hope it keeps our drivers safe and on the road. (