Trucker Group Arranging Peaceful Highway Protest

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SPRINGFIELD — A group called “Black Smoke Matters — Missouri” is set to make a statement on I-44 on March 27. 

A peaceful protest is scheduled later this month in the trucking industry that dozens of drivers are expected to participate in as a response to what they call the “over regulation” of the trucking industry. 

Bill Bogar, who is heading up this protest from a group called “Black Smoke Matters Missouri” on march 27th, says a group of truckers will start in Joplin and do a slow roll east on I-44.

Drivers will be going about 45 miles per hour in the right lane until they get to Strafford, then turn around and go back. 

Bogar says that there are quite a few issues drivers have with today’s industry standards that they would like to see changed.

Specifically, devices that are in almost every truck called ELD’s, or electronic logging devices. They keep track of hours of service, speed, and location. Bogar believes they are a distraction, as he says they cause many drivers to try and race against the clock to avoid penalties. 

“If you’re an owner-operator, and you’re facing something that held you up, you’re facing up to a 500-600 dollar fine now. That’s basically your profit on the load. Now you’re racing that GPS and your racing your E-log as well. It’s a dangerous situation. It’s distracted driving at it’s finest,” says Bogar. 

KOLR10 spoke to the Director of Safety at Prime Trucking, Steve Field. He says they back electronic logs, but he acknowledges that the industry standards should be changed when it comes to hours of service.

“They can be detrimental. It tells the driver when to drive, and it tells them when to stop without taking into account how the driver truly feels. Is he tired, is he rested? But before we can make meaningful changes to the hours of service, we need to have good accurate data of what drivers are doing, and that’s what electronic logs will do.” 

While BSM Misosuri hopes to call attention to those issues they have, they also are doing this as a precursor to part of a bigger nationwide protest on April 12.

Bogar estimates around 30,000 drivers nationwide will participate in a one-day strike, which he says will have big ramifications to companies across the country. 

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