CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Truck drivers hit the road but much slower than usual with hopes to bring attention to problems in their industry.
Heartland News followed them as they made their way From Cape Girardeau to Troy, Illinois on Wednesday, March 27.
“If we don’t do something to fix our industry, we’re not gonna have one very much longer,” said Brian Adams.
He’s been a part of the truck driving industry for more than 20 years.
“Drivers out here years ago was respected out on the highway,” said Adams. But he thinks things have changed.
“We basically feel like we’re criminals,” said Adams.
Adams explained how drivers must use an electronic logging device or “ELD” that tracks drivers’ hours automatically.
“It basically put an ankle bracelet on us. It tells us when we gotta go, when we gotta stop, when we gotta sleep,” said Adams.
Limited parking at rest stops and poor training are a few other issues he shared.
“It endangers the motoring public. It endangers other drivers,” said Adams.
He said even if you aren’t a truck driver, it impacts you.
“If we as drivers don’t come out here and do our job every day, every person in the United States suffers because when they go to the store to get their basic necessities, they won’t be there." said Adams.
Heartland News also talked to truck drivers on Monday, March 25 who shared the same concerns.
“It’s every man for himself now, and it’s not near like it used to be 30-years-ago,” said Steve Fellows.
He’s been driving for 35 years and said he loves his job.
“I’m home every night and off on the weekends,” said Fellows.
But it wasn’t always that way. He used to spend nights on the road like other people do.
“My youngest one was 5-years-old, and she just said I got used to it,” said Robert Harris, a local truck driver.
“I feel sorry for those guys,” said Fellows.
He said one of the problems is truckers are on a similar schedule now and rest stops get crowded overnight.
“Get on and get off ramps are full,” said Fellows.
At times, those ramps are the only place to find parking, a nightmare for some.
“Hope the state trooper doesn’t come wake you up in some states,” said Harris.
Another issue according the Fellows is the lack of training before hitting the road.
“That’s why there’s so many accidents I think now,” said Fellows.
He thinks truck drivers could take it even a step further than the “slow roll.”
“If we were smart enough and all got together and took the time and just shut down,” said Fellows.
But he said nothing comes without a cost, not only for people relying on deliveries.
“But nobody’ll do it, because there’s so many guys out here that are struggling to make ends meet,” said Fellows.
Although he likes his job now, he hopes something is done.
“Everybody has just lost respect for, I don’t know, the profession,” said Fellows.
Sgt. Clark Parrott with the Missouri State Highway Patrol said Troop C and Troop E are aware of the slow roll and monitored the situation.
They are reminding drivers of the laws on Interstate 55 which state you should not travel below 40 miles per hour, and it’s unlawful to drive in the left-hand lane unless you are passing.
So as long as these truckers are following the law, there are able to protest in any way they see fit.
According to Adams, truck drivers across the country plan to shut down services for 10 days starting on April 12th, 2019.