• ITVI.USA
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    82.790
    0.8%
  • OTRI.USA
    15.900
    0.770
    5.1%
  • OTVI.USA
    10,828.530
    85.470
    0.8%
  • TLT.USA
    2.700
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    -3.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.630
    0.110
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  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
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  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.250
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  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.390
    0.130
    5.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.330
    0.070
    5.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    2.750
    0.020
    0.7%
  • WAIT.USA
    103.000
    -17.000
    -14.2%
  • ITVI.USA
    10,834.240
    82.790
    0.8%
  • OTRI.USA
    15.900
    0.770
    5.1%
  • OTVI.USA
    10,828.530
    85.470
    0.8%
  • TLT.USA
    2.700
    -0.100
    -3.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.630
    0.110
    4.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    1.910
    0.050
    2.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.250
    -0.060
    -4.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.390
    0.130
    5.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.330
    0.070
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  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    2.750
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  • WAIT.USA
    103.000
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Driver issuesNewsTrucking

Truckers on high alert amid reported interstate protest plans

Jeff Bessent says his truck drivers are on high alert amid reports that protesters plan to block three exits along Interstates 80 and 94 near the Illinois and Indiana border on Tuesday.

The Illinois Trucking Association stated on its Facebook page that it had received a “credible report” Tuesday morning that protesters plan to block the northbound and southbound exits at Calumet Avenue, Indianapolis Boulevard and Kennedy Avenue, just inside the Indiana border, around 4 p.m. Central on Tuesday.

Bessent, safety director for Chicago-based M&J Intermodal Inc./Eagle Intermodal Inc., said the safety department and dispatchers have been in constant communication with his 140 drivers about the planned protest.

“We are staying off the interstates as much as possible and we are watching all of the road closures that are going on and following all of the advice that the Illinois Trucking Association and the Illinois State Police are providing to us, as well as the Chicago Police Department,” Bessent told FreightWaves. “Right now, we are trying to move all of our freight as early in the morning as possible to avoid running in the afternoon and evening hours.”

Peaceful protests and civil unrest have continued to rage for eight days in many major cities, including Chicago, following the death of George Floyd, who died while being restrained by ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin has since been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

The Illinois State Police is advising truckers and motorists to check its main Twitter page for interstate and exit closures. It is also sharing safety tips, including avoiding locations with active police activity and protest areas, as well as abiding by cities’ curfews.

So far, none of Besset’s drivers have experienced any run-ins with protesters.

“Our drivers are pretty dedicated to what they got to do and they know where they are going,” he said. “There are certain areas like the Norfolk Southern terminals right now we are avoiding from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. because of their location.”

Besset said that 90% of the intermodal company’s work is local, which helps his safety and dispatch teams keep track of hot spots around Chicago where looting and vandalism are occurring. The company also has terminals in New Jersey; Kansas City, Missouri; Commerce City, Colorado; and Atlanta.

“I don’t mind protests. I am all for it because I did my time in the military and fought to defend this right for everybody else,” he said. “I am just as upset by what happened to Floyd as everyone else, but I don’t support rioting and destroying property. It’s only going to make the situation worse.”

Read more articles by FreightWaves’ Clarissa Hawes

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Clarissa Hawes

Clarissa has covered all aspects of the trucking industry for 14 years. She is an award-winning journalist known for her investigative and business reporting. Before joining FreightWaves, she wrote for Land Line Magazine and Trucks.com. Clarissa lives in the Kansas City area with her family. If you have a news tip or story idea, send her an email to chawes@freightwaves.com.

20 Comments

  1. Truckers are treated like fuck it if he or she don’t do there job we get spmeone eles. Truckers are treated like dogs on an open high way. They should be treated with pay like super stars. With out them you think America be running like it has. Fuck no it won’t. All truckers need to go on strike for better pay. Hazards pay bounous etc. Let all truckers strike and go down in history that no more will we be treted like toliet you can flush away. Better pay Better health care places to sleep. Not mom and pop shops charging truckers and arm and leg to sleep eat. American need to stop treating truckers like there nothing. Cause there everything to America. It way over do for changes for truck drivers and the change start by going on strike and shutting America down until things change for truckers.

  2. Fuck this shit if truckers got to put up with this bullshot. Then every trucker in america go on strike and see how Americaos run. Truckers are treated like shit when there pay should be a high paying raise. Like super stars. Lets go down in history by every trucker going on strike to things change in america. Truckers are big for us all and they get treated like dogs chained to the open high and its bullshit.

  3. Don’t park a flatbed load of bricks at Wal-Mart in Wilkes Barre Township in PA. A guy did that the other day and the local BLM group was in a snit over it.

    Seriously everybody. Tarp your brick loads

  4. It’s not legal for people to interfere with interstate commerce, except, I guess, whenever they want to. This garbage about protesting is getting old. The message is lost and protest at this point is about 50 years too late.

  5. I support peacefully demonstrating and standing up for what’s right.
    I served with honor in the United States Navy so that everyone has the freedom we enjoy.

    Riots, property damage looting and bodily harm are uncalled for.
    Beating up truck drivers is also not acceptable. I’m one of them and I’d hate to take drastic measures to ensure my own safety but I will if necessary.

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