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Jesse James Dupree will be on-site in Indianapolis, IN this Thursday, February 21 when the trucking community stages a peaceful and professional protest.  His interests are two-fold.  First, to support those assembled as an independent voice. Says Dupree, “All of the Johnny Cash’s are gone, and somebody needs to step up here.” Secondly, to continue filming a documentary in production tentatively titled Last American Cowboy.

For more information on this planned gathering visit www.truckersstandasone.us.

Through the course of generations, when faced with deteriorated talks and interests being placated, groups have turned to demonstrations for the simple sake of being taken seriously. This action, titled Truckers Stand As One In Indiana, follows prior gatherings in Texas and Illinois. As the April 12 plan to shut down the trucking industry nationally approaches, this movement is gaining significant traction.

In December of 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented a federal regulation requiring all truck drivers of large commercial motor vehicles to use electronic logging devices to record drivers’ hours of service.  The community slowly organized in splintered groups, and now recently have broadened their connection to a national alliance.  The first groups on Facebook, ELD or Me (created May, 2017) and Operation Black and Blue, visited Washington D.C. on October 3, 2017.  Although appreciative of the audience and time by the FMCSA and congressional representatives, nothing more than being placated followed.  In October, 2018, The United States Truckers Alliance and Black Smoke Matters staged “That’s a Big 10-4 on DC” which followed meetings in April of that year, both of which yielded little or no real movement.  The malaise felt, and belief the community is not being taken seriously are the core catalysts that have triggered this call for an industry-wide shutdown.  For more detail on the goals and background see here: https://blacksmokematters.us/.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states the trucking industry shipped 12 billion tons of goods in 2017, valued at 14 trillion dollars.  These loads delivered an average of 720 billion dollars in revenue annually.  Commercial truckers pay tens of billions of dollars in federal and state transportation user taxes every year while transporting about 71% of all freight tonnage. Nearly everything a consumer touches has been transported by truck at some point. In a typical day, the trucking industry moves 34.2 million tons of goods, valued at 39.2 billion dollars, that generated nearly 8.6 billion-ton miles on the nations’ transportation network.
In considering the footprint this industry has on the lives of each and every American consumer, the business is on the precipice of major, profound change. With industries that include technology, healthcare, construction, waste management, automotive, retail, food, water, the arts and others reliant on this resource, it’s hard to overstate the importance of this industry.  When change comes, it impacts all of us.  Looking ahead, the trucking industry is short about 51,000 for-hire truck drivers. To combat this shortage, companies are pulling out all the stops to attract new drivers, including sign-on bonuses and loan repayments for their training.
Jesse James Dupree states, “Look at it in terms of worst-case because it’ll give you some perspective. If the 1.8 million truckers driving today suddenly stopped, it’d take about 12 hours to see a major food shortage.  Gas prices will spike, mail stops coming, no deliveries of any kind, manufacturing jobs stop, ATMs run out of cash, hospitals run out of supplies, and that’s just day one. Soon your neighborhood streets are lined with garbage, grocery stores are empty and gas is gone. Even in a less-than-worst case scenario, think about the number of Americans who live paycheck-to-paycheck. A substantial increase in consumer goods, fuel, and services that we use daily is going to have a major impact on our economy. It’s going to hit Americans hard.”
Ecklund Logistics Owner Keary Ecklund offers, “Between the increase in costs of diesel fuel, the new regulations and the ELD mandates, drivers are being forced out of the workplace at an alarming rate. The ELD alone costs drivers more than 20% of the miles they can normally drive, and those costs get passed along to the consumer. This hits the American consumer square in the wallet. Within two or three years, we could be as many as 200,000 drivers short in the workplace.”

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