Black Smoke Matters Leaders Calling It Quits?!?

Topic 25311 | Page 1

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Marc Lee's Comment
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Protestors reckon with minimal ‘shutdown’ and protest participation James Jaillet |April 15, 2019

Owner-operator Karns pointed to the limited participation in on-highway protests slated for Friday. He said he has archived the active — and often vitriolic — Black Smoke Matters group on Facebook. The group had been a hub for organizing protests this year, including the April 12 shutdown, which was meant to cap a series of so-called “slow roll” protests that have taken place in recent months.

Roughly 30 to 40 truckers showed for an on-highway protest around the Chicago area on Friday, though the convoy was blocked from entering downtown by Illinois State Police and Chicago Police. “They had every downtown exit blocked,” Karns said. Chicago presented a central protest point, as Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration head Ray Martinez was in downtown Chicago for meetings that day.

The numbers “were nowhere near what we needed,” Karns said, to have the type of impact he’d hoped for in alerting the public to their hopes for more hours flexibility and more safe parking options, among a long list of other points the group wanted to address.

Another 14 truckers participated in an on-highway protest in New Jersey, he said, bound for New York City, and just four trucks showed up in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. “We should have had thousands of trucks,” he said.

Overdrive has queried both the Chicago Police Department and the Illinois State Police for information on the protests and the blockade on downtown highway exits. Chicago PD referred to ISP for comment, and ISP has not responded to Overdrive‘s inquiries.

Karns says the Facebook group “got out of hand,” and he plans to relaunch another iteration of the Black Smoke Matters page with more oversight and moderation. He also plans to use the next iteration to try to organize community service events, he said, but he doesn’t plan to use the page to advocate for further protests.

“We’re done,” Karns said, referring to himself, Joe Denney and Lori Franklin, the three administrators of the Black Smoke Matters Facebook group. “Nobody would take it to heart,” he said of their planned shutdown.

RELATED Shutdown report: Participation estimated, issues raised, tactics debated as April 12 arrives

Participating truckers view any effectiveness of this shutdown as having the potential to demonstrate some unity among drivers, whose voices in regulatory and industry discussions ...

Likewise, Black Smoke Matters founder Joe Denney, also an owner-operator, said he’s “disappointed and heartbroken” that the shutdown and other protests didn’t materialize to the extent hoped for. “We lost the fight,” Denney said. “I’m 65 years old. My days of trucking are almost over. I was standing up and fighting for the younger drivers’ rights.”

Echoing Karns, “I’m done,” he said.

For Denney, driver training was a focal point for the planned shutdown. He advocates for beefing up driver training standards as a key point of safety for the industry. Denney says he originally founded the Black Smoke Matters group as a service-focused organization that cleaned up sections of highways, cleaned up truck stops and helped build play grounds and parks in neighborhoods, among other service activities. “We’re restructuring the page and we’re going back to the way it was,” he said.


Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.


Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
PackRat's Comment
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I'll be shut down this Friday myself.rofl-2.gif

Brett Aquila's Comment
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For Denney, driver training was a focal point for the planned shutdown. He advocates for beefing up driver training standards as a key point of safety for the industry.

I'm not sure where they get the concern for this. Background checks, DOT physicals, and drug testing for new drivers is more strict than it has ever been. The trucks are easier to handle with automatic transmissions, anti-lock brakes, and traction control. Training is being done more and more now by the companies who are actually going to be hiring the drivers instead of private schools with no real investment in the driver's future. You also have electronic logbooks now monitoring the driver's hours.

Personally I don't think there's a problem with the training standards. I think the biggest problems come from personality conflicts and rouge trainers that sneak through the cracks sometimes.


A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.


Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Spaceman Spiff's Comment
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Well I don't think anyone expected them to fold out so succinctly. But four trucks out of expected thousands? That is quite the strawberry on the knee of pride.

Scott D.'s Comment
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There was one in Indy last month around I465. lots of trucks did it. indy didnt go commy and shut down things either. ISP straight said.. we have a left lane law, min MPH on 465 is 45mph. as long as they followed the law they let them be.

but what do i know... other then chicago is just run by idiots period anyway

PackRat's Comment
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There was one in Indy last month around I465. lots of trucks did it.

Maybe 40 bob tails is a lot? Maybe compared to the turnout they were predicting on 12 April.rofl-2.gif

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