There might be another shutdown coming soon, but we’re not talking about the government. This time, truck drivers across the nation will shut off their semis for a day.
Truckers across the nation are calling for everyone in the industry to stop working on April 12th. Although not everyone backs the shutdown, owner-operators, long-haul drivers, and local drivers are banding together to have their grievances heard.
To accomplish this, a Facebook group called Black Smoke Matters has crafted the “Truckers Declaration for the 2019 Shutdown.” This document addresses the most important topics that truck drivers struggle with every day.
The Truckers Declaration for the 2019 Shutdown – Parking
Many of you will be painfully familiar with the topics listed in the document. At the top of the list, is the lack of safe parking.
The dearth of parking keeps truckers searching for a place to rest long after it’s time to call it a day. Combined with strict requirements to comply with the Hours of Service regulations, truck drivers often have to lose valuable driving time while searching for a place to park their rig.
If more parking was available, especially in large cities, truckers would have an easier time keeping up with the electronic device mandate, which gives no leeway with regards to the HOS.
Repeal of the ELD Mandate
Perhaps the biggest demand in the Truckers Declaration is a repeal of the ELD mandate.
The problem with the ELD mandate is that truck drivers are paid by the mile rather than the hour. And despite being “on-duty” for upwards of 14 hours, they’re not actually driving for that entire time.
While drivers wait around at a warehouse waiting for their truck to be unloaded, the ELD clock ticks away their on-duty time. This is unpaid time, even when drivers wait for upwards of 6 hours. A 14-hour shift might only pay out for 8-hours.
And the ELD mandate offers no flexibility for the schedule because everything is carefully tracked by machine. Drivers need to be able to manage their own on duty time in order to maximize driving time,which maximizes pay.
Black Smoke Matters
Black Smoke Matters, the group behind the potential April 12th shutdown, has over 20,000 members. The group was founded by Bryan Hutchens, an owner-operator in Oklahoma.
Prior to the April shutdown, Hutchens aims to meet up with fellow truckers on February 21st to address the media and gain eyeballs on their concerns.
This pre-shutdown meeting is planned for Indianapolis, Indiana, with other meeting spots in Texas, California, as well as North and South Carolina.
Hutchens stated about the shutdown, “We don’t even want April to happen – we’d love for FMCSA to take some action and start helping fix the issues in our industry.”
Will their concerns be heard? Or will April 12th bring a one-day strike that will be felt on highways around the nation?