Local truckers put the brakes on new federal regulations

Jason Oliveira Image
Friday, October 6, 2017
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Local truckers came together in front of Fresno?s City Hall Thursday to protest the government's mandate

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Local truckers came together in front of Fresno's City Hall Thursday to protest the government's mandate to use electronic devices to keep track of their driving habits.

"Machine is made for man--man is not made for machine. You cannot tell the machine to operate the man," said Truck Driver Sonu Babbar.

Right now truck drivers fill out driving logs with a pencil and paper, but starting this December all trucks will be required to use electronic devices that automatically record the time a driver spends behind the wheel.

They are allowed a 14-hour work window, but can drive no more than 11 hours, and have to take a break after driving for eight.

Many say the new digital recorder won't take into account a lack of rest stops or traffic delays

"Loads will be late prices will go up consumers will have to pay more...it'll take more trucks to deliver the same amount of loads," said Truck Driver Adam Atwal.

The Central Valley's rich agriculture industry helps make Fresno a hub for long haul trucks. Councilmember Clint Olivier showed his support for the trucking community during Thursday's rally.

"If they stop because they're out of gas or if they stop because they're under a mountain of federal regulations we stop. Families and neighbors here in Fresno will stop," said Olivier.

Truckers say stopping to take a break when the electronic device tells you, is not always easy if there are no truck stops nearby.

"I think they'll be a lot more wrecks because people will be forced to act like machines...they'll have to go when the log book says they're on otherwise they're just wasting time. They have to stop on the side of the road they have to stop on ramps-driver's safety is a big concern," said Atwal.

Thursday's rally was part of a bigger protest. Drivers nationwide are planning to take their concerns to Washington D.C. this weekend.