Truckers Rally in Indiana to Warn About “Dangers” of Driverless Trucks
Indianapolis, IN – On Friday, a spirited group of more than a dozen truckers joined together at the Capitol building in Indianapolis for a “public awareness” rally to voice their concern about the potentially negative impacts the deployment of autonomous trucks could have on both truck drivers and the motoring public.
Indiana owner operator, 52-year-old Will Cook, spearheaded the event after a similar rally was held earlier this year in Missouri.
In an exclusive interview with Cook, he called the rise of automation in the trucking industry a “huge safety issue.”
Also troubling Cook is the potentially “devastating” impact autonomous trucks could have on jobs.
He cited a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) study released earlier this year, that warned as many as 900,000 truck driving jobs could be displaced possibly as soon as the next decade.
“There needs to be awareness to what’s coming,” he said. “We truckers said electronic logging devices (ELDs) would never happen and look what they did.”
Cook was not alone.
Truckers from a total of seven states, and having achieved close to 40 million accident-free miles between them, were present to join in solidarity with Cook.
Long-time trucking veteran and trucker rights activist, Charles Claburn, assisted Cook in reaching out to local news outlets for coverage.
The day got started early as members of the group slow rolled around the Capitol and parked six semi-trucks on the grounds at approximately 3 a.m.
About a dozen media outlets began arriving at 8 a.m., and for the next four hours, group members gave interviews warning of the “scary” consequences they fear autonomous trucks could usher in.
“We had great speakers and educated people,” Claburn said. “The mood was upbeat and fast-paced all day.”
“The media was engaged and listened to what we had to say,” Cook commented. “We fed them a lot of information.”
In the afternoon, a group of 17 people met with Indiana State Representative Ethan Manning (R-District 23) to discuss the issue further.
According to Cook and Claburn, the meeting with Rep. Manning was productive.
Cook is hopeful Rep. Manning, and other other Indiana state legislators, will support a similar measure as the one expected to be proposed soon in Missouri.
In August, 20-year trucking veteran Bill Bogar organized a rally inside the Capitol rotunda in Jefferson City to push for the soon-to-be introduced legislation, which would effectively ban the use of autonomous trucks in the state without a commercially licensed driver behind the wheel.
Like Bogar, Cook intends to “keep adding” like-minded truckers to this movement.
Claburn stressed the time is now for truckers who are “afraid” autonomous trucks could lead to their “extinction” to make their voices heard on this issue.
“We have turned our anger into advocacy. We are voters and American citizens. We understand our rights and we intend to keep bringing the facts until we get results,” Claburn exclaimed.
Organizing Friday’s rally was a first-time effort for Cook.
Was he pleased with the outcome?
“I think we rocked it. I think we did an awesome job,” he said.
Further, Cook expects more events like this will be organized in other states soon.
Stay logged on to TransportationNation.com for the latest updates on this.
Photo courtesy Charles Claburn/Facebook
WANT MORE? GET MORE!
Check out TNN’s archive of autonomous trucking news reports HERE.