Bair Blog: Semis Set To Slow Traffic Today

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Bair Blog: Semis Set To Slow Traffic Today

"Rolling Protest" could disrupt midday traffic patterns

(Photo Credit: China Hepburn)

Unrelated cover picture: a semi gets stuck under a bridge in Lexington, KY. It reminded me of the box truck that tried to slide under the railroad tracks at S. Meridian St. and South St. last year.It didn't make it. Ahhhh memories.

You can expect crazy slow traffic on I-465 Today, but it has nothing to do with potholes (they’re still there), crashes (of course), or large chunks of interstate closure for bridge repairs (would never happen).

Nope. A big ole’ truckin’ convoy will “loop” I-465 at about 45-50 miles-per-hour in protest of federal regulations that require semis to be outfitted with electronic monitoring devices (elogs) that regulate drive time. The “slow roll” protest will start at 11am, with truckers driving the entire 53-mile oval mile two times (at 45-50 mph, that’ll make a two hour ride, maybe two and-a-half).

According to Indiana State Police Sergeant John Perrine, truckers will not drive in the left lane, and will allow plenty of room for passenger and emergency vehicles to merge on the interstate and exit without inconvenience. It’s also been reported that 400-500 semis (!) could participate in the protest. Sergeant Perrine said the number could be lower, and I agree with him. 

SO WHAT’S THE PROBLEM, EH?

Essentially, these elog devices make sure truckers don’t exceed the eleven hour driving limit - a cap that regulates how long drivers are on the road, and is supposed to (in good faith) prevent the driver from becoming exhausted on the roadway. The elogs also keep truckers from “fudging” their hours worked, preventing them from going beyond the regulated cap. 

The trucker's argument (not all, but some) claims that the regulations don't allow enough time to complete deliveries safely, forcing drivers to speed up and possibly drive recklessly on moderate to long trips. Supporters of the law believe the cap will keep exhausted truckers from making unforced errors that lead to crashes.

This brings up a question that I can't answer: Is it better to limit the trucker's drivetime on the road for safety, or is it better to allow the trucker unlimilted time on the road... for safety?

What's safer?

Jaime - or @jbs2763 on Twitter - is a kick butt member of the @WIBCTraffic community, and also a long time trucker. He offered his thoughts on the protest:

Trucks

(Photo Credit: WIBC News)

SOOOOO… IS THIS AN EFFECTIVE PROTEST

If you look at the media’s coverage of the convoy, then yes. Organizers have received an incredible amount of publicity from... well everywhere, including news outlets outside of Central Indiana. In fact, the coverage of the protest could be more significant than the protest itself, considering the demonstration is outside of rush hour, and the estimated number of 400-500 semis could be significantly lower. I mean, they have to work, right? If I'm a shipper on the interstate, do I have time to participate in this?

Effective protest is to make people uncomfortable. Sure, if I’m a driver on I-465 that’s trailing the convoy, I'd create a stream of swear words that would make the late Sam Kinison blush. 

(This happens four times a day, considering the split shift. We'll get into this sometime).

But, a rush hour convoy would demolish the morning commute, and buddy, that would get a monster load of attention. News would go balistic. However, the chatter would not be enough to repeal the law, but would create followers, and repeaters.

That's how protest becomes effective. 

BigMike28 - or @SBrock28 on Twitter - had this thought:

Let's just quit while we're ahead. 


Matt Bair is the new voice of Indianapolis traffic, and can be followed on Twitter @WIBCTraffic.. Tips? Call direct at (317) 684-8134 or the 93 WIBC Newsroom at (317) 637-6397.

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