Authorities threaten action as Canadian protesters shut down 3 border crossings

Trucking news and briefs for Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022:

Canadian protests shut down 3 ports of entry

Protesting Canadian truck operators, and many others besides, shut down at least three ports of entry into the U.S. on Thursday, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada's federal police force, and other government officials. Ambassador Bridge, between Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit; Coutts (once again, after partially reopening earlier this week) between Alberta and Montana; and the crossing between Emerson, Manitoba and Pembina, North Dakota have all ground to a halt with protest blockages over Canada and the U.S.'s vaccine mandates for border crossings by essential workers and general pandemic restrictions in Canada. The Ambassador Bridge has been closed for much of the week. 

The crossing between Windsor and Detroit is the busiest between the two countries, and Ford, General Motors, and Toyota have all reported delays or work stoppages at plants near the border. The Ambassador Bridge stoppage drew quick condemnation from both sides of the border, and authorities suggested a greater use of force than previously discussed at other border blockades. 

“The individuals on-site are trespassing on municipal property and, if need be, will be removed to allow for the safe and efficient movement of goods across the border,” Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said on Thursday. “We can’t just let this lawlessness continue to happen. We respect that everyone has a right to protest. It’s a hallmark of democracy. That is OK. What is not OK is choking off the busiest border crossing between the United States and Canada and affecting tens of thousands of families and their ability to put food on their table."

The Coutts border has been in some state of disorder for well more than a week, and now the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has warned that U.S. truckers might begin similar blockades as early as the NFL Super Bowl on Feb. 13. 

On social media, a group calling itself "The People's Convoy" has promised U.S. convoy demonstrations starting on March 4. 

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Overdrive has reported on the blockades before, including the delays they cause cross-border haulers not affiliated with the protests. 

[Related: Owner-operator's maiden voyage across the border hits protest backup]

Drivewyze weigh station bypass now in Iowa

Drivewyze has announced the addition of weigh stations in Iowa for bypass opportunities.

With seven Drivewyze-enabled weigh stations in Iowa, Drivewyze PreClear is now available in 49 states and provinces – providing bypass opportunities at more than 800 locations.

The new sites in Iowa include:

  • I-80 WB in Avoca, near Omaha, Nebraska
  • I-80 EB in Dallas County, near Des Moines, Iowa
  • I-80 WB in Jasper County, near Des Moines
  • I-29 NB in Fremont County, near Omaha
  • I-35 SB in Worth County, between Albert Lea, Minnesota, and Mason City, Iowa
  • I-380 NB & SB in Brandon, between Waterloo, Iowa and Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Weigh-in-motion sensors, for weight screening, will be added by Drivewyze at these sites.

N.C. driver recognized as Highway Angel for pulling man to safety after crash

The Truckload Carriers Association has named Matthew Lawson, from Kernersville, North Carolina, a Highway Angel for rushing to pull a man out of his vehicle after it veered down an embankment next to a river. 

Matthew LawsonMatthew LawsonAs a truck driver for nearly 20 years, there have been many times Lawson has pulled over to help motorists who are stopped on the side of the road. But one incident, in October, called on him to go above and beyond.

He was leaving Mountain City, Tennessee, on Highway 91, around 1 a.m. when he witnessed a vehicle swerve off the road and topple over an embankment headed straight for the river.

“It rolled several times and became wedged between the bank and a tree next to a river,” Lawson said. “I could see the tires of the vehicle were still spinning and the lights were still on.” 

Lawson pulled over and then climbed down the embankment. He opened the driver’s door and found that the driver, a man in his early 20s, was unconscious.

“I reached down and took his foot off the gas pedal so the wheels would stop spinning,” Lawson added. “The tires were digging into the dirt. I didn’t feel safe leaving him in the vehicle because if it dislodged from the tree it would go into the river.”

Lawson carefully leaned the driver back, put his arms around him and lifted him out of car and onto the bank. He then readjusted his grip around the man’s hips and waist and began to climb the hill to pull him to safety. He had nearly crested the hill when the driver began to struggle.

“I assured him that I had him and everything was OK, that there had been an accident, and I was trying to get him to safety,” Lawson said.

The driver said he could walk so Lawson helped him up to the road and toward his truck. He then called for help and waited for first responders to arrive.    

“I don’t know what caused him to go off the road,” said Lawson. “He couldn’t say much. I could tell he had a concussion. I tried to get him in my truck to get him warm, but he couldn’t make the climb and sat on the step instead. My mother was a nurse, and I’ve always followed what she’s said about head injuries. I kept talking to him as we waited for the first responders.”

For his willingness to help, TCA presented Lawson with a certificate, patch, lapel pin and truck decals. His employer, CalArk International, has also received a letter acknowledging him as a Highway Angel.