Overdrive Extra

James Jaillet

Questioning the logistics of the convoy in the capital (How many trucks, exactly?)

| October 09, 2013

Whether the Ride for the Constitution trucking protest planned for Friday has the widespread backing or the top-down organization to pull off a meaningful rally or produce any results is questionable, at best. You can’t knock its promoters-in-chief for not trying, though: They’ve garnered coverage from the likes of major news outlets like Fox News, The Washington Times, Huffington Post, Gawker, US. News and World Report — and on and on. 

The number of trucks needed to lock up the Capital Beltway — one of the intentions of the Ride for the Constitution — is 17,000. And to fuel that many trucks? $13.5 million.
The logo — showing off the hashtag — of the Ride for the Constitution protest scheduled for Friday. The number of trucks needed to lock up the Capital Beltway — one of the intentions of the Ride for the Constitution — is 17,000. And to fuel that many trucks? $13.5 million.

The ability to push a message, though, doesn’t bridge the wide gap in the sheer logistical effort it would take to pull off the intended Ride, though, as Washington Business Journal Assistant Managing Editor Greg Otto points out in a post published Tuesday

One of the methods the Ride organizers intend to use to garner attention — and supposedly make lawmakers and the public take a look at overbearing hours-of-service rules, high fuel prices and unpaid detention time — is to cause a traffic jam on the Capital Beltway by essentially taking it over, driving 55 mph and blocking it to those wanting to enter or exit. 

Ride spokesperson says main goal: Impeach Obama

The Capital Beltway is 64 miles long, and one of the convoy’s organizers said trucks and trailers will be occupying all three lanes of the entirety of the highway. 

That would require a grand total of 16,983 trucks, as Otto points out in his piece. Just to occupy one entire lane of the Beltway, the Ride would need 5,631 trucks. 

So no matter how convinced the event’s organizers are or how much they uptalk the merits of their actions on national television, that’s a logistical nightmare, and one that leads me to say (like Otto) — Dream on.

Five trucking grievances part of planned protest

Oh, by the way, if promotion for the Ride has been effective enough to draw 17,000 trucks to Washington on Friday, they’d need about $13.5 million to buy the 3.4 million gallons of diesel that would be required to fuel the protest.

Again I say — a well-marketed event? Absolutely. A well-organized one? Perhaps.

But a feasible one? Highly doubtful. 

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  • guest

    Hopefully this will be the FIRST of many SHUT DOWNS across AMERICA for TRUCKERS. The Convoy is Symbolic but a SHUT DOWN of DELIVERIES will have IMPACT that congress should choose NOT to ignore. Truckers are NOT doing this because we are Happy….

  • Myron LInd

    If you’re angry, do something productive and well planned. Or, if this is the best that can be mustered, go ahead and shutdown forever. I doubt anyone will even notice.

  • Another Guest

    “Doing something” is great, but at this point, with the ragtag and muddled collection of messages this group is promoting, no one’s going to listen. Try it again in a year with a focused plan to promote one or two specific issues, and you might get somewhere.

  • Sherry Moore

    The Mainstream Media and their Thailand Comment shills are trying their best to cause disorganization and chaos. Please truckers, we support you!

  • Sed

    I’m here for the shutdown in DC.

  • Inattentive Vigilant

    There will be more comments on this article than truckers who actually show up for this “protest”.

  • James

    i’m wondering,what if they let Truckers run on their own schedules,take care of their OWN issues,basically de-regulate the Trucking Industry. Are there enough good,honest,hard working Truckers out there to take responsibility for their own behavior and help enforce their own “Code of Ethics” when other drivers do things that make life worse for the Honorable Truckers? I WANT to believe Truckers,having seen what’s “on the other side” would be capable of some self restraint and bringing back the over-all reputation Truckers USED to have,back in the day-Knights of the Road,my folks used to call ‘em. I understand that the caliber of drivers just starting out will need a bit of “re-educating” to be able to think and work for themselves,but I truly believe that if given the freedom to decide for themselves when they should take a break and get some sleep,or when they should do the service on their rigs,etc.,they could do a better job for themselves AND their customers and bosses. Until the people in DC have logged a million miles or so behind the wheel of a truck and done the work of a driver,they have no business telling drivers what’s best for anyone.

  • http://www.pedestrians.org/ John Z Wetmore

    During rush hour, even without protests or traffic incidents, major parts of the Beltway are more likely to be moving at 25 MPH than 55 MPH.

  • http://answers.yahoo.com/ Lime Kitty

    All they need is a few trucks abreast across all lanes going at a slow speed to back up traffic. They don’t need to actually occupy all 64 miles of the Beltway.

    Of course, this morning when the first truckers tried it, they were pulled over and told they would be ticketed and/or arrested if they continued to obstruct traffic.

    This is going pretty much like I predicted it would. There have only been a handful of trucks so far, but supposedly the real full-on protest is expected to start around 3 p.m., so I’m waiting to see if they can pull it off.

  • Pingback: Truckers look to take Constitutional stand – Fox News | The Economic Times: Business News

  • Proud American!

    I have to agree with this article, particularly the feasibility issue. I dont think the organizers took into consideration what it would cost to operate a fleet of trucks of the size they were calling for. I pointed out in several posts to the various sites that the reported donations would only service about 17 or 18 trucks for the entire weekend. I think the posts were either ignored, were not noticed or either just written off as just a dissenter, which I will tell you right now, I always did and still do Support the Truckers 200%, and will defend them against Any Attack, for the efforts they gave to this movement. Obviously, if you do not participate actively in the business of Trucking, then you have no idea what it takes to run a truck. Thats why I find so much fault with regulations made by the Government for the trucking industry. The regulations are obviously created by people who know nothing about Trucking, who rely on everyones input- other than truckers- to formulate the regulations. The Organizers, fueled by the attention they received from America, just tried to jump Too Far To Fast!. Their Marketing was Great, their Organization, for the most part, was Great, their Determination was Excellent but they just Overlooked the Feasibility issue, which is probably the most important part of deciding whether it would work or not. Even though there is a lot of dissent among the organization now, I sincerely hope it will continue because there Are Valid Issues in the Trucking Industry that Need to be Addressed by Lawmakers. They will never be addressed unless Truckers continue their pressure to Force them to be addressed. Fuel has more than Doubled in just 10 short years. As a rule of thumb, your home only doubles in value every 20 years. Theres no excuse for that big of an increase in the cost of fuel. Then the Big Oil companies went to Congress looking for tax breaks? Tax Breaks that Americans would pay for! One of their arguments to Congress was “Well you cant hold it against us for making money”? Making money is one thing, Stealing is another!