EXCLUSIVE: Trucker Plans Capitol Rally to Warn Hoosiers About Driverless Trucks
Indianapolis, IN – An Indiana trucker is leading a new movement warning of the impact he believes automation and autonomous vehicles could have on public safety and jobs in his beloved home state.
Earlier this month in Missouri, 20-year veteran trucker Bill Bogar organized a rally inside the Capitol rotunda in Jefferson City to push for soon-to-be introduced legislation that would effectively ban the use of autonomous trucks in the state without a commercially licensed driver behind the wheel.
Transportation Nation Network (TNN) has learned a similar movement is now forming in Indiana led by 52-year-old owner operator Will Cook.
In an exclusive interview, the single father of two girls in college and a school aged son told TNN, “There’s a lot of us out here worried.”
Cook called the rise of automation in the trucking industry a “huge safety issue.”
“Autonomous technology isn’t going to help safety,” Cook commented.
Also troubling Cook is the potential impact autonomous trucks could have on jobs.
According to a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) study released earlier this year, experts warned that 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 continued, “I am not against technology or automation, but it just needs to be here to help us, not put us out of work.”
After seeing the movement Bogar is helping to lead in Missouri, Cook became inspired to help do the same in his home state.
He is organizing a “public awareness” rally on October 4, 2019 at the Capitol building in Indianapolis.
“We hope to bring awareness about what is going on in trucking and how it is going to trickle down to the public,” he said. “A lot of these politicians don’t even know what is going on.”
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Cook will also be meeting with his state representative, Ethan Manning (R-District 23), on that day to discuss the issue further.
He hopes Rep. Manning will share his concerns.
TNN reached out to Rep. Manning’s office and a spokesperson did confirm the meeting is scheduled.
However, Rep. Manning has yet to take a position on the issue, according to his office.
As for Bogar, he told TNN this week he plans to offer his assistance to Cook.
“I have and will be working with them behind the scenes. It’s time we stop feeding the 1 percent of corporate America and start feeding the 99 percent of family-owned businesses,” Bogar said.
Cook echoed Bogar’s sentiments, saying, “This is about the working class.”
Together, the two truckers, are hoping to grow the movement they are helping to lead.
“It’s starting to really build,” Cook exclaimed.
If you are interested in attending the rally on October 4, Cook invites you to email him at: W[email protected]
Photo courtesy Will Cook
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