Protests on both coasts in the past few days have placed truckers in the spotlight. Truck drivers in California and Washington, DC, staged protests to highlight the implementation of the electronic logging device (ELD) rule.
In California, highways were slowed on Friday as trucks as part of Operation Black and Blue drove slowly or stopped along interstates.
“We have a bunch of units there now,” CHP spokesman Chad Hertzell told the Sacramento Bee Friday afternoon. “If they are going 5 miles per hour, that can be rather hazardous. Our main concern is to keep traffic flowing smoothly. Going that slow is dangerous for them and for others.”
Some truckers stopped their rigs on the highway and got out, the Bee reported.
“We support truckers’ rights to express their opinions on the upcoming implementation of the federal Electronic Logging Device mandate, including their right to protest,” said Shawn Yadon, California Trucking Association CEO in a statement. “We do not condone unsafe and illegal activities, including creating dangerous driving conditions by impeding traffic on busy freeways.”
In Washington, the ELD or Me protest and Operation Black and Blue began on Wednesday as about 30 trucks parked in front of the Department of Transportation. Protests continued through the end of the week.
There were also reports of protests in Washington state, with KOMO News reporting that one shipper, Double-N Potatoes in Burlington, WA, had been unable to ship about one-third of their weekly shipments because of a lack of drivers.
Truck drivers, especially small fleets and owner-operators, are unhappy with the planned introduction of ELDs to monitor hours-of-service. The devices will be mandated as of Dec. 18, although out-of-service orders will not be issued until the spring, according to CVSA.
According to one survey, at least 15% of the industry may not be compliant at the deadline, while another stated that as many as 1 million drivers will not have the devices installed by the deadline.