Driverless Truck Protest Organizer Warns of “Devastation of Millions of Jobs”
Jefferson City, MO – Autonomous trucks are here and present unique dangers to the motoring public, as well as many middle class jobs, that was the message delivered on Tuesday at a rally held inside the capitol rotunda in Jefferson City.
The event known as the Jefferson City Parked Protest was attended by a few dozen people and organized by Golden City, MO-trucker Bill Bogar.
Bogar, who has been an owner operator for about 20 years, spoke with Transportation Nation Network (TNN) about why he organized the protest and what he hopes to accomplish moving forward.
“We are facing annihilation,” Bogar said. “Autonomous trucks are right on top of us right now.”
Bogar fears automated driving systems could replace many driving jobs in the very near future.
“This is going to be the devastation of millions of jobs across the country. It’s very disturbing.”
He said he knows skeptics will criticize him and accuse him of fear-mongering, but he said automation is already happening.
“I’ve got robots loading my trucks once a month.”
He also pointed to current Notices of Proposed Rulemaking by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) that would speed the deployment of automated driving systems in the commercial trucking industry.
Further, he cited state lawmakers in Arizona, Florida, Louisiana and many others, who have passed legislation to woo autonomous technology makers to their states.
He contends its all about securing federal grant money.
“The federal government is throwing so much money at it that the states are falling all over themselves,” he asserted.
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Bogar also envisions the day when trucking companies will gladly replace drivers with robots all in the name of profit.
“There is a fortune to be made if you eliminate the driver from the truck. It’s going to be all a corporate system,” he told TNN.
“So much greed and corruption is never ending in the trucking industry. They don’t want to deal with things the way the drivers want to deal with them. They don’t want to train drivers properly,” he asserted.
What’s worse, according to Bogar, its beginning to happen “right under our noses” but the public has no idea.
“Every reporter we talked to, none of them even thought a driverless truck would be driving down the road.”
Missouri state representative Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, has joined the cause.
Moon and his team, in consultation with Bogar, are currently drafting legislation that would effectively ban the use of autonomous trucks in Missouri without a commercially licensed driver behind-the-wheel.
“An all out ban is the fastest way to make the bill fail. Our argument is to have a driver behind-the-wheel at all times and to make it optional for the driver to use autonomous tech or not,” Bogar said.
The legislation is expected to be completed in October and introduced early next year.
While Bogar admits it is going to be an uphill battle, he hopes others will join the cause.
Similar events in Mississippi, Indiana and other states are also being discussed, Bogar said.
He said he is hopeful to continue to “inform the public” about what is happening.
He also hopes Tuesday’s Jefferson City Parked Protest will serve as a learning experience in order to have “bigger, better events” in the future.
If you are interested in learning more about this developing movement, Bogar invites you to visit the Jefferson City Parked Protest Facebook page HERE.
Photos courtesy of Bill Bogar/Jefferson City Parked Protest/Facebook
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