In the video above, you’ll hear Pennsylvania-based trucker Brian Brase rolling through some of the intentions as he sees them behind the “That’s a Big 10-4 on D.C.” event that got under way Wednesday night at a rally point at the Fredericksburg, Va., fairgrounds. Just shy of — or just more than, depending on the final tally — 50 trucks and their owner-operators and drivers were parked up along a lane through the grounds next to the spot where the local food bank had an event planned for this coming Saturday.
Among the haulers who ran into Virginia today to rally there for a convoy that was set to depart from Fredericksburg for downtown D.C. around midnight, Brase said three came in loaded with partials for donations of around 35,000 lbs.’ worth of nonperishables for the bank. Truckers participating in the event downtown, where trucks will be parked for two days on the National Mall for public outreach, likewise a few hours Saturday morning … all will reconvene the morning of Saturday back at the Fredericksburg fairgrounds in tandem with the food bank event and barbecue.
There’s been a clear sense of olive branches extended and then extended back amongst the groups represented here, including Brase and company’s United States Transportation Alliance, unaffiliated Black Smoke Matters, the American Trucking Federation, TruckerNation and participants at the October ELD mandate protests a year ago, and a bevy of independent owner-operators otherwise unaffiliated. Interestingly, Brase and others report, the Truck Safety Coalition — which includes Parents Against Tired Truckers and CRASH, are among groups who will be on hand tomorrow on the National Mall. The hope for event organizers is that the TSC might learn a few things from these groups about the reality of trucking. (FMCSA, too, is reportedly sending reps down to the mall for what Brase says is shaping up to be a perhaps impromptu hours of service listening session with participating truckers, tentatively set for around 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4.)
Owner-operator Ray Friend of Zionsville, Pa., hauls in this 2019 KW powered by the Cummins X15 engine, an 18 speed transmission and 3:25 rears. Friend is among owner-ops who wants hours flexibility, without ELDs, in order that he might be afforded some latitude to remove undue stress from the go-go-go of LTL reefer under the ticking of the day’s 14-hour clock. He urges regulators to grant the “flexibility to run like you need to, without the double pressures” of both load schedules and overly restrictive hours regulations.
Since his participation in October 2017 Congressional outreach/protest events with ELD or Me, then one-truck, Wis.-based owner-operator Rob Hallahan, here shown contributing to the shining of owner-op Brian Bucenell‘s front bumper, has taken on three owner-operators under his authority, one with two trucks, to make a five-truck operation. With that experience under his belt, he says he’s become somewhat ambivalent about the ELD time clock given tracking functionality is useful in, for instance, eliminating a bevy of calls in load management/dispatch. He echoes other operators’ concerns with the lack of 14-hour flexibility in the hours rule, however, and continues to view the regulated imposition of ELDs as unnecessary.
Hallahan’s invested in a new power unit since last year as well, this well-appointed custom 2019 KW, also powered by the X15 Cummins. (Stay tuned for more on it in the not-too-distant future, be sure.)
As I write this, midnight October 3 has passed to midnight:01 and more on the 4th at a motel near I-95 between Fredericksburg and Washington, D.C., and the sound of multiple Jake brakes outside the window has arisen. Through trees lining I-95 North it’s clear by the lights passing that the bobtails — while not the record-setting convoy organizers had hoped for — are making their way down the road headed north.
I’m as interested as you are to see how it turns out — the attempt to create a truck-show atmosphere on the mall over the next two days. As you might recall, Powerhouse Transportation owner Scott Jordan proffered just such a notion about some of the events last year, and I also recall Jordan wondering aloud about the possibilities of making such happen year after year. Jordan’s not here this year, but has said he supports the 10-4 efforts. Nonetheless, these folks, many familiar with past events, have made it happen.
Stay tuned for further coverage.
Until then, stay safe out there.