The trucker-organized protest against the ELD mandates is finally underway in the Nation’s capital.
Truckers gathered in and around Washington D.C. on Tuesday as part of Operation Black and Blue, a week-long protest against the upcoming ELD mandates.
According to the Operation Black and Blue Website, the event is taking place in Washing D.C. from Tuesday, October 3rd through Sunday, October 8th and will consist of thousands of truckers uniting to protest the ELD mandate that many consider “excessive, unfair regulations.”
“With this mandate coming into effect on December 18th, 2017, many trucks may be removed from service due to the increased cost,” explained Mike ‘Gunney’ Faram, founder of the Operation Black and Blue rally.
The ELD mandate will force virtually all truck drivers to purchase new electronic equipment in order to monitor the truck’s driving time. While most large trucking companies already have such devices installed, small, family-owned trucking companies, as well as independent owner-operators, will have to figure out how to shoulder the financial burden of this new technology in order to comply with the mandate.
Faram claims that some drivers are planning on quitting the trucking industry in the face of the new mandates, which could put a strain on the chain of supply, increasing the cost of groceries, lumber, and everything else transported by truck drivers.
“In other words, it will lead to an inflationary rate that out country can’t afford,” Faram continued.
“As a group we are working diligently to bring back respect to the trucking industry. We are about peaceful, legal, progress to benefit all truck drivers,” read a post on the Operation Black and Blue Facebook page.
As of Monday night, truckers were already arriving at the Operation Black and Blue “Head Quarters” in Hagerstown, Maryland, an area featuring 5 nearby truck stops and several options for public transportation into D.C.
Truckers involved in the protest are to park their big rigs in Hagerstown and make their way to D.C. via carpooling, personal vehicle, or public transportation.
“We would like to thank AC&T truck stop, here in Hagerstown Maryland,” said one protester.
“They have provided us with secure parking, they have provided us with drinks, with showers… We couldn’t ask for a more hospitable truck stop here in the country.”
The actual rally will be held at the Ellipse in the National Mall, otherwise known as “the circle around the Washington Monument” starting at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings. According to the Operation Black and Blue Facebook post, truckers participating are to “bring your signs, bullhorns, whistles, and most importantly bring your manners. We are there to make a positive impression. Leave all super truckers, billy bad ass, shut up stupid, profanities, and insults at home. Absolutely no weapons.”
A rally at the Federal Department of Transportation building housing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is also being planned to occur sometime during the week of Operation Black and Blue protests.
Details regarding the FMCSA rally, as well as transportation to both events, can be discussed “on site,” wrote the Operation Black and Blue Facebook page.