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So why were all those truckers lined up in Pierce County

KOMO Staff

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AUBURN, Wash. - You may have seen them driving across Interstate-5 Friday. Many of you messaged us with bewildered questions.

A convoy of trucks powered across Pierce County Friday. Others parked along the side of the road in Tacoma. And nearly one hundred truck drivers gathered at a rally in Kent.

These truckers were protesting a new nationwide regulation, forcing them to electronically log their driving time.

Starting in December, all long-haul trucks will have to use a new tool called an electronic logging device (ELD).

But a local group in Kent joined a nationwide movement called Operation Black and Blue to call for a stop to ELDs.

Federal regulations currently allow for truckers to drive 11 hours per day. And since the 1930's, truckers have tabulated those hours by hand.

But on December 18, Drivers will have to start using ELDs, which will be able to track and enforce this driving limit.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, ELDs will save 26 lives and prevent more than 500 injuries per year by keeping tired drivers off of the roads.

Meanwhile, some drivers are adamant that this enforcement is costly and will overreach into their privacy and independence.

"We are together and we will not be forced by wrongful enforced rules," said Harry Singh at a rally in Kent.

Double-N Potatoes in Burlington is already feeling the brunt of this protest.

"We haven't had trucks here all week," said Myron Ayers.

According to Double-N, about a third of their shipments have not gone out this week because trucks were unavailable due to the strike.

In addition, piles of potatoes are building up in their cooler in the middle of the harvest.

"We're certainly concerned about the strike, we're probably equally concerned about what happens if we all have to follow the electronic logbook requirements."

They say it will take an extra day for their potatoes to reach places like California and Texas should the ELDs take effect.

Independent truck operators and trucking fleets are divided on the use of ELDs. In fact, according to the Washington Trucking Association, many fleets have been using ELDs for decades and love them.

Auburn mayor Nancy Backus addressed protesting truckers at the Friday rally.

"We need you. We can't afford to have you on strikes," said Backus.

"Mobility is essential to the continued growth of our county, to the continued growth to our cities."

This national protest is scheduled to run from October 3-8.