If you were driving on or near Chicago’s expressways earlier this month, you may have seen dozens of semi-trucks all driving slowly in one lane. According to media reports, this was an organized “slow roll” protest by truck drivers in an effort to improve their driving conditions.
The protest was to gain attention and push for more flexible working hours, relaxed rules on electronic logging devices, more training for new semitrailer drivers and more truck parking and amenities along expressways. Another sticking point is better training programs they say are lacking, creating dangerous conditions for everyone out on the road.
The truck drivers left south suburban Monee at 10 a.m. and got on I-57 and drove north to downtown Chicago and then to O’Hare before heading back south on the Tri-State Tollway. The drivers were going single file in the right lane at the minimum posted speed.
Illinois State Police had warned the group called, ‘Black Smoke Matters” that slow-moving trucks could cause traffic back-ups or crashes. Police said truckers who participate could be held liable for any accidents. Illinois State Police monitored the traffic backups to keep traffic moving and drivers safe and said no car crashes or other issues occurred. No traffic accidents were reported as a result of this protest.
I understand and support the ideas behind this protest to a point. I think trucking companies do need to provide better training for newer drivers and better continuing education and training for long time drivers. Their complaint regarding the electronic logging of their hours, on the other hand, is absolutely necessary. A major cause of truck accidents can be traced back to a drivers logging too many consecutive hours without sleep. The burden of logging hours and taking breaks and/or days off is a requirement that must be followed. I will be following this closely to see if the federal government becomes involved or if states like Illinois enact statutes that require companies provide better training for their new drivers.