Trucker ‘slow roll’ to protest ELDs attracts 78 drivers, far short of the 400-500 police prediction

Trucks roll down Interstate 465 in Indianapolis Thursday, February 21, in a protest about the electronic logging device mandate. Officials said 78 truckers participated. (Associated Press video)

INDIANAPOLIS — Published reports say that 78 truck drivers participated in a “slow roll” event Thursday in protest of the electronic logging mandate.

Prior to the event, law enforcement officials said they were prepared for 400-500 protesters.

The drivers conducted two laps around I-465.

The ELD mandate is designed to increase Hours of Service compliance.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration officials have acknowledged it was easy to cheat on HOS rules using the old paper logs.

Now, drivers say that among other things the use of ELDs force them to end their day at less-than-desirable places or they have to cut their hours short to ensure finding safe parking.

“If you wrote in there five minutes later than your time, no harm no foul right? Because traffic slowed down a little bit or something. You can’t do that now,” Mike Landis, CEO of the United States Transportation Alliance, told television station CBS 4 in Indianapolis.

State police said there were no issues during the protest.

“You can call it a protest,” Landis told the television station. “It’s basically just a slow-moving convoy of trucks.”

Driving two laps around 465, Landis said the loop along with the central location made Indianapolis the perfect spot for the event.

“It seemed like a good place to drive around a loop I guess,” Landis said.

Traveling from California to Oklahoma, truck drivers converged on the circle city to take up a lane of traffic, going at a lower speed to raise awareness.

Landis said drivers are tired of certain government regulations, especially the legally required electronic logs now tracking their every movement.

“We’re supposed to be a free people,” Landis said. “That’s less than free in my opinion.”

Landis is a third-generation truck driver operating his own business. He used to keep his own manual logs, showing he is complying with laws that require him to drive less than 14 hours a day, and take breaks for ten consecutive hours. Since electronic logs give no leeway, he says it creates problems for drivers. If he only has an hour left to drive but knows the next truck stop is an hour and five minutes away, he’d have to stop early.

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill told the Indianapolis Star the truck drivers’ concerns are legitimate but questioned their method of protest.

“The ELD requirements might very well be motivated by good intentions,” Hill told the Indianapolis Star. Hill has sent three letters about the issue to federal regulators since 2017. “Everyone supports the idea of creating a safer work environment for drivers. Everyone sees the logic of making it easier and faster to accurately track, manage and share data related to driving hours. I still believe, however, that the current ELD requirements were rushed through the approval process without sufficient attention to their expense and practical workability.”

The mandate was effective in December 2017, but FMSCA officials allowed for a “soft” enforcement until April. During that period, citations were issued, but no one was put out-of-service for an HOS violation.

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