Oct. 01–One the biggest appeals to driving a truck, Zoranda Newman said, is the beauty of the open road, but she said government regulations are beginning to block the view.
“What other job can you get paid to travel the country?” Newman, 54, asked Saturday afternoon. “The freedom (of trucking) appealed to me, but that is going the way of the dodo bird.”
Newman was among dozens of truckers who made a pit stop at the Reading Fairgrounds in Bern Township on the way to Washington to protest regulations slated to come later this year.
The Big Rig Rendezvous, the three-day rally of commercial drivers at the fairgrounds, welcomed drivers to connect and learn more about upcoming federal regulations that some say infringe on their rights and will hurt the economy.
About 30 rigs were parked at the fairgrounds early Saturday afternoon with more expected to arrive all weekend. The rally wraps up Monday night, then drivers are either headed home or to Washington in a protest that many are calling Operation Black and Blue.
Federal regulations will change Dec. 18 and force drivers to start using electronic logging devices, which will log and restrict how long drivers can work, when they can stop and how long they must rest.
“I really believe my rights are being violated,” Newman said. “I live in that truck; its my home. How would you like if someone came in and said you have to be on camera 24 hours a day and tell you when to sleep, when to eat and when to work?”
Driver Bryan Levernier, one of the organizers of the event, said the electronic logging devices will have negative repercussions on drivers’ ability to deliver goods quickly and added costs will fall on the consumer.
The electronic logging device is only one issue, according to Levernier.
“Every guy here has a humongous bull’s-eye on the back of his trailer,” Levernier, 66, of Bristol, Wis., said. “We feel like a money pit.”
Levernier said truckers also face a shortage of safe, convenient parking areas and are subject to numerous inspections, which can result in hefty fines.
Levernier said some drivers have no problem with regulations such as the electronic logging device, but he just wants a choice.
Participants in the rally filled their days with group discussions, crafting a “Truckers Bill of Rights,” and selecting board members for the United Motor Carriers Council.
Levernier hopes taking the rally to the nation’s capital will help prevent regulations from taking effect, he said.
“We are tired of writing letters,” Levernier said. “You’re going to see our faces and pray to God it makes a difference.”
The electronic logging device was adopted in December 2015 by the federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration before President Donald Trump’s election. His administration has not targeted it for repeal. However, there are efforts in Congress to delay or repeal the measure.
Electronic logging devices range from an annualized price of $165 to $832, with the most popular device used today priced at $495 per truck, according to eldfacts.com/.
Contact Anthony Orozco: 610-371-5015 or email@example.com.
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Anthony Orozco — Reporter
Reporter Anthony Orozco covers the Latino beat for the Reading Eagle.
Work Website: http://blogcenter.readingeagle.com/berks-latino-perspectives/
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