Being an independent commercial truck driver in a sea of big companies can be tough. And now more than ever, when so many changes are about to hit the trucking industry. These changes will affect everybody but will mostly impact the lives and careers of smaller companies and independent truck drivers.
To show their position against those near-future changes, several of those most affected took their protest to the roads. This Thursday afternoon, a convoy of about 10 semi-trucks took part in a public demonstration that spread all through the eastern part of South Dakota.
The convoy began their unique strike on I-29 and drove way under the speed limit until it reached Pierre. The protest started early in the morning at lasted for a good part of the day.
Most of the truck drivers that took part in the demonstration have been lifelong truckers. Their livelihoods depend on it. However, they all feel the situation getting tougher and tougher for them to move forward with their careers.
They are protesting several changes that will impact the trucking industry in the upcoming months and years.
For them, one of the major problems is strict government regulations that might force many to put an end to their jobs ahead of time. Many of these regulations will provoke a wave of smaller companies and individuals that won’t be able to afford to stay in business.
One of the most important things for them is an obscure topic for those outside the industry. It is the intention of Congress to pass 3 different legislations.
One of them would change the speed limit for commercial trucks. If this legislation were to be approved, truckers wouldn’t be able to drive faster than 65 miles per hour. That would mean a considerable variation since now trucks are allowed to drive up to 80mph.
This legislation is known as the Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act. And, if it were to be passed, it could provoke a drift in the way trucks and other vehicles share the road. Some truckers have reflected on the major effect it would have on the road to have trucks trying to pass each at a maximum speed of 65 mph.
Meanwhile, another big issue is the insurance bill that the U.S. House is trying to make a reality. This one hits right in the pockets of truck drivers and small companies alike. Although, it would also mean a big increase in benefits for insurance companies and victims of truck-related incidents.
The insurance bill would require all trucks to increase their insurance minimums. Instead of carrying $750,000 of personal liability insurance, they would be legally required to carry $4.9 million. Most small businessmen and companies might not be able to face such a big shift.
Finally, the convoy also protested the Stop Underrides Act. This was created as a measure to prevent deaths when a car crashed laterally on a truck. This kind of accident is almost always fatal. And the proposed way to solve this includes the use of underride barriers attached to the lower part of the vehicle.
This demonstration was only the first one in a series of long protests. Many of them will take place in Washington D.C. The city is receiving hundreds of truckers from all over the country that will take part in a national demonstration.
What about you? What do you think about this situation? Do you support these measures? Or are you firmly against them? Please, leave all your comments in the section below!