Kansas truckers protest federal mandate

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

There were demonstrations across the nation and in Kansas, as truckers protested a federal mandate becoming effective later this month.

Congress passed a law requiring truckers install electronic logging devices, or ELDs, to replace the paper logs truckers have used for decades. The logs record the time truckers spend behind the wheel. One issue with paper logs is that they can be falsified. 

The government says the new mandate is about safety. Truckers at a protest at a Newton truck stop call it an invasion of privacy, that doesn't necessarily improve safety.

Cindy Marshall of Towanda, drives a big rig along with her husband. She says the ELDs take away a driver's flexibility in managing their daily work hours. 

"Essentially what it does is it says you have 14 hours to work for your entire day. So, if you get up at 6 a.m. you have to be done by 8 p.m. But you have 11 hours of driving you have to do within that 14 hour time period, including getting fuel, and a mandatory 30 minute break."   

Jake Swartzentruber, an independent truck driver from Hutchinson, said he doesn't believe the electronic logging devices will make driving safer because it will discourage drivers from taking naps when they're sleepy. "We can't stop to take a nap because it will push up against our 14 hour rule."  

The mandate takes effect on December 18th, but there's a grace period allowing truckers until April 1st to have the devices installed.

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have a photo to share with us? Email it to news@kake.com.

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