MULTIBRIEFS: Truckers: Let’s send a positive image

By Tom Kretsinger, Jr.

For as long as I have been involved in industry associations — whether on a state or federal level — folks in the industry talk about improving our image. Mostly we talk to each other, an audience already holding a positive image of ourselves. That takes little convincing.

Yet what do most people outside of the industry think of when they think of truckers? The lyrics to “Eastbound and Down” by Jerry Reed from the movie “Smokey and the Bandit”? Or maybe the song by C.W. McCall named, “ Convoy” which glorifies breaking the law? How about the song “Six Days on the Road” by David Dudley?

While many know these lyrics by heart, do they really know the lengths we go to be safe, legal and professional?

What are people’s personal experiences around big trucks? The wind and shake when passed by a big rig? The blinding splash of water when passing or following an 18-wheeler in the rain? Or the large grill with teeth on it tailgating them down the road when they have kids strapped in the back of the car? It takes so much to improve our image and so little to tear it down.

Why does our image matter? Because “perception is reality,” as the famous quote by Lee Atwater states. A bad perception is a costly reality.

The preconceived ideas that jurors have affect the number and size of verdicts. Plaintiffs’ lawyers know that they can grab the brass ring if they can get a jury to personalize a case and feel a need to “send a message” to the industry. I just read about one such case that resulted in a $150 million verdict. It is impossible that the plaintiff’s damages — sad as they were — could even vaguely approach this figure, but the jury was sending a message … to us.

Perception shapes public policy. Have you noticed the increasing tendency of state, local and federal legislators and regulators to micromanage without any reasonable cost/benefit analysis the smallest details of our work? Though they know little of the industry, they feel a need to do something. Why? Because they perceive that we are unsafe, despite strong evidence to the contrary.

Perception is trumping reality. Automobiles are far less safe, but do we see the same efforts to regulate and legislate cars? No. Do we see the same verdicts on car crashes? No. Do we see as many attorney advertisements for car wrecks as truck wrecks? No. Image matters — it matters greatly.

What can we do about it? We not only have a big job to do, but an important one and a necessary one. We need to communicate a positive image to those outside of our industry. This can be accomplished only if everyone gets involved. There is strength in numbers. It is time we tapped into our strength.

The Truckload Carriers Association has a fantastic image program known as Wreathes Across America. Whether or not you are a member of TCA, you can do your part to help. Learn more about the program and the many different ways you can participate by going to

Wreaths Across America Day — Dec. 14 — is rapidly approaching. Will you help us raise funds to place fresh wreaths on veterans’ graves? Will you provide a truck or a dispatcher?

In an effort to educate the public, media and government about the trucking industry, TCA produced the above video that showcases the compassion and patriotism of our industry. I urge you to watch this powerful message.

The video focuses on the role that many of TCA’s members play in Wreaths Across America, a nonprofit organization that oversees an annual weeklong campaign to honor fallen veterans. Each of them volunteers to escort wreaths from Maine to more than 800 veterans’ cemeteries, including Arlington National Cemetery, every year.

The commercial contains a strong, powerful and positive message about trucking. Along the way, their convoys stop at various schools and veterans rallies as part of Wreaths Across America’s mission to remember the fallen, honor those who serve in the military and teach children the value of their service.

TCA encourages its members to air this commercial, customized with your company logo, on local television, as well as in local movie theaters. TCA staff can work with your company to create the customized commercial in two business days.

Imagine the image we can deliver if all of us — members and nonmembers, truckers and industry suppliers — run this commercial in movie theaters and on television each Christmas. If we work together and everyone does his or her part, we can do this.

Will you help us get the message out? Contact Debbie Sparks at 703.838.1950 to get involved.

TRAILER/BODY BUILDERS: Trucking Industry Raising Funds for Movement

Trailer/Body Builders:

The trucking industry announced the launch of a fund-raising effort for an industry-wide movement centered on a positive image and a more robust connection with policymakers and the general public.

This initial phase of the movement has been launched online at, where creative materials, messaging, and social media links are available to all elements of the industry as well as the public. Critical to this movement are messages of new trucking technology that has an increased focus on safety, sustainability, efficiency and reliability. But also a focus on just how critical trucking is to the national economy. Supporting almost 7 million jobs, it is one of the largest and growing industries in the country.

“We’re extremely excited for the fundraising effort of this movement to have launched,” said John Conkin, president of the Allied Committee for Transportation (ACT 1). “The trucking industry serves America’s economy, its families and businesses in a way no other industry does. Trucking is essential to the every day lives of all Americans. Our mission today is to make that message stronger and connect our good work with the rest of America.”

The full movement launch will be in March 2014 at the Mid-America Truck Show in Louisville, Ky., the industry’s largest truck show.

ACT 1 is an initial founding member of the movement, which includes: Allison Transmission, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, Bridgestone Commercial Solutions, Castrol Heavy Duty Lubricants, Cummins Inc., Dana Holding Corporation, Detroit Diesel Corporation, Eaton Corporation – Roadranger, GE Capital, Goodyear, Great West Casualty Company, Hendrickson, International, J.J. Keller & Associates, Inc., Kenworth Truck Company, Love’s Travel Stops, Mack Trucks, Inc., Meritor, Michelin, Pegasus, TransTech, Peterbilt Motors Company, Omnitracs, Inc. a Qualcomm company, Randall Reilly, TRW, and Volvo Trucks.

Other founding members include: American Trucking Associations (ATA), Bulldog Hiway Express, Combined Transport, Inc., Daimler Trucks North America, Hahn Transportation, Inc., Jet Express, Inc., Longistics, Motor Carrier Service, Inc., Old Dominion Freight Lines, Tennant Truck Lines, Tennessee Express, Inc., and Truckload Carriers Association (TCA).

“This movement won’t be a one-time deal,” said Mike Card, fundraising chairman for the movement. “It involves every single part of the industry, from rest stop owners to drivers to manufacturers, and everything in between. Our hope is every individual involved in the industry – along with their families and supporters – will get involved in one way or another.”

To learn more or to donate to the movement, visit

TRANSPORT TOPICS: Trucking Launches New Image Campaign

By Seth Clevenger

ORLANDO, Fla. — Trucking officials announced here the beginning of a new, collaborative campaign to enhance the image of the entire industry.

Built around the slogan “Trucking Moves America Forward,” they said the initiative will officially be launched in March at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky.

“The goal of this movement is simple — to effectively relay the essential nature of the trucking industry to the nation’s economy and the everyday lives of all Americans,” John Conkin, president of the Allied Committee for Transportation, or ACT 1, said at an Oct. 22 press conference at American Trucking Associations’ Management Conference & Exhibition.

The campaign will seek participation from trucking associations, companies, individuals and allied members from “all corners of the trucking industry,” he said.

Michael Card, outgoing ATA chairman, said one of his goals has been to further raise the clout of the federation and industry.

“If we continue to make our image better and better, we’re going to have more successes on Capitol Hill, more successes in the statehouses, better business, better relations with the general public and better regulatory efforts,” he said.

The press conference included comments from Truckload Carriers Association President Chris Burruss, and Anne Lynch, chairman of the Trucking Association Executives Council. A number of other industry executives and officials attended the event in a show of unity.

The campaign’s goal is to raise $1 million per year for the next five years, Conkin said, adding that ACT 1 has donated $100,000 thus far to establish the initial creative designs and branding.

“We’re looking for donations from other industry companies to really bring this movement into the spotlight,” he said.


Continue reading at Transport Topics…

THE TRUCKER: Obama Quietly Signs Bill Requiring Sleep Disorder Rule Not Guidance

The Trucker News Service

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama Tuesday quietly signed into law legislation to ensure any federal standards governing screening, testing, or treatment of individuals operating commercial motor vehicles for sleep disorders would be through a rulemaking instead of guidance, which has previously been the case.

The bill, introduced by Reps. Larry Bucshon, R-Ind., and Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., passed the House 405-0 and the Senate on unanimous consent.

While sleep disorders could define a wide range of medical problems, the bill clearly defines sleep apnea as a sleep disorder.

The legislation, highly applauded by trucking stakeholders was somewhat moot because the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration had already announced it was following the wishes of the trucking industry and would deal with the sleep disorders issue through the rulemaking process rather than regulatory guidance.

The American Trucking Associations and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association quickly applauded Reps. Bucshon and Lipinski for introducing the bill.

The ATA said the legislation would “ensure that if the federal government sets standards for sleep apnea screening and testing of professional truck and bus drivers, those standards are established through an informed rulemaking process.”

OOIDA said that a rulemaking “would include requiring that a full cost-benefit and regulatory impact analysis be used should the FMCSA decide to set policy regarding screening, testing and treatment for sleep apnea as opposed to guidance, which is not subject to this critical analysis.”
Truckers and medical professionals have long complained that fuzziness in federal guidance on obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) testing and treatment has resulted in pendulum swings from one extreme to the other.

One extreme mentioned by drivers is that an examiner may see a trucker’s stomach sticking out over his belt and immediately order sleep apnea testing. From an examiner’s point of view, it’s not worth staking one’s medical career on, so better to be safe than sorry and test pretty much everyone.

On the other hand, there are horror stories about truckers finding a practitioner who will turn a blind eye to excessive daytime sleepiness or other obvious signs of OSA.

Trucking’s request for more than regulatory guidance on sleep disorders has been longstanding.
Over a year ago, the Board of Directors of American Trucking Associations, meeting in Las Vegas, passed a new policy urging that any government decisions on sleep disorder screening for commercial drivers be made following a regular, science-based process.

“Fatigue and driver health are two serious issues facing the trucking industry,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said. “However, as important as it is to address those issues, it is equally important for the federal government to use the regulatory process – with its emphasis on science-based outcomes and cost-benefit analyses.”

The ATA policy approved in Las Vegas reads in part that any effort to address sleep disorders, like obstructive sleep apnea, should be done “through rulemaking and not through the publication of regulatory guidance;” and that those rules focus on “conditions that pose a substantially elevated crash risk based on sound data and analysis, be cost beneficial and promote effective treatments that minimize the impact to motor carriers.”

“This is not an insignificant step,” Graves said. “There are more than 3 million professional truck drivers and the cost of screening, diagnosis and treatment for sleep apnea could easily exceed $1 billion annually. Taking a step as potentially costly as that shouldn’t be undertaken lightly and outside of the normal processes.”

BLOOMBERG: What’s in Store for the Long Haul Trucking?

Bloomberg Businessweek

Primm Fox discusses markets, investing and business. He speaks with Mark Crumpton on Bloomberg Television’s “Bottom Line.”

THE TRUCKER: American Central Transport Takes First Place in Truck Safety Category

The Trucker News Services

LIBERTY, Mo. — American Central Transport has taken first place in the General Commodities Truckload/Line-Haul Division/Between 20-50 Million Miles Category in American Trucking Associations national truck safety competition.

The carrier received its award during ceremonies at the ATA Safety Management Council’s 2013 Safety and Human Resources National Conference & Exhibition held recently at Sparks, Nev.

The ATA National Truck and Industrial Safety Contests are the only two national safety programs that recognize the extraordinary safety accomplishments of motor carriers across the United States by operation type and size.

The contests are judged based upon a trucking company’s safety experience.

The truck safety contest calculates an accident ratio based on vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and the number of DOT recordable accidents as well as based on “all accidents” which includes virtually all accidents involving property damage, injury or death, regardless of fault or DOT recordability. The all accidents ratio is used as a tiebreaker.

Carriers are judged on their safety records relative to others within their classes of competition. Safety records are determined from the carriers’ vehicle accident rates or lost workday case rates. Carriers enter based on type of operation.

A carrier with more than one type of operation can enter more than one category by recording the numbers that pertain only to that operation.

Each category is further broken down by local and line haul operations and again by VMT.
The type of operation categories are General Commodities Truckload, General Commodities Truckload, General Commodities Less than Truckload (LTL), Tank Truck, Heavy Hauler, Flatbed, Auto Transporters, Van/Small Truck Delivery, and Miscellaneous Fleets.

In the event a carrier ranks in the top three of a category/division, they undergo an independent audit overseen by the state trucking association of their domicile state, which verifies the numbers and ratio submitted.

Any carrier awarded first, second or third in any category division is invited to compete for the ATA President’s Trophy.

Entry requires the completion of application that encompasses the entire scope of a carrier’s safety operations.

These are judged by specially selected law enforcement judges, who generally specialize in commercial vehicle enforcement.

GPS WORLD: “XRS Teams with Samsung, Verizon on Trucking Fleet Package”

By GPS World staff

XRS Corporation, a mobile trucking intelligence company, has announced that Verizon is the official wireless provider for its new collaboration with Samsung Telecommunications America. The new product — NXT — creates what XRS says is the first integrated mobile device and software package designed specifically for the trucking industry.

The new solution brings together powerful XRS compliance and performance tools with Samsung Mobile’s devices, XRS said. Now, NXT is powered by the Verizon 4G LTE network, which provides the platform with superior performance and speed.

“Technology forces in the trucking industry have long been on converging paths, and our new NXT product — powered by XRS in collaboration with Verizon and Samsung Mobile – is a perfect example of how our industry is harnessing the power of technology to benefit drivers and fleet managers,” said Christian Schenk, senior vice president, XRS Corporation. “An integrated platform is the next evolution of convergence, and we are proud to be working with industry leaders like Samsung Mobile and Verizon to deliver the ultimate trucking intelligence solution.”

NXT allows drivers and fleets to purchase select Samsung Mobile devices with an XRS trucking intelligence software subscription and ready for activation on the Verizon 4G LTE network. The first device available is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0, priced at a $100 discount from its suggested retail value. The data plan and subscription cost is $54 per month, including $39 for the monthly XRS fee and $15 for the monthly wireless data fee. This charge covers all required subscriptions and data, including the Relay onboard hardware component, as well as FLX messaging, hours of service, electronic DVIR, IFTA state mileage reporting and more.

“With the explosive growth of mobile electronic devices in the trucking industry, drivers have come to expect reliable and fast wireless service while they are on the road,” said Michael Toto, director of alternate channels for Verizon Enterprise Solutions. “This solution is one example of how Verizon is investing in the success of our channel partners as we collaborate to bring new innovative solutions to the market.”

NXT also offers integration with many enterprise transportation products. Over time, the platform collaboration will expand to introduce additional components, including MDM and wearable products.
The XRS trucking intelligence platform operates in both over-the-road and private carrier configurations, and is suitable for fleets of all sizes. XRS runs on certified smartphones, tablets and rugged handhelds that transmit vehicle and operator data through the cloud to a fleet management dashboard, helping companies to comply with current regulations and soon the pending Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate for electronic recording of a driver’s hours-of-service. Nearly 90 percent of drivers already use mobile devices while on the job.

NXT was developed through the Samsung Solutions Exchange, a newly announced strategic engagement model from Samsung Mobile that delivers a range of end-to-end solutions that address real world business challenges. The program is aimed at achieving shared value across Samsung Mobile’s rapidly growing ecosystem of enterprise customers, sales channels and alliances.

“NXT is a holistic solution for trucking that addresses performance, safety, and compliance challenges unique to the industry,” said Tim Wagner, vice president and general manager, enterprise business unit – Samsung Mobile. “Through the Samsung Solutions Exchange, we have worked closely with XRS and Verizon to enable a solution that leverages our respective strengths – which for us includes our robust suite of enterprise-grade devices.”

Customers can buy the NXT product either directly through Verizon or through XRS.

KCRG-TV9: Truck Driver Shortage Has Companies Offering Incentives, Schools Fighting Stereotypes

By Forrest Saunders

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – The president of CRST Expedited Inc., Cameron Holzer, has got a problem a lot of trucking companies are facing. He needs more drivers.

“I have 100 trucks that are sitting open right now. So I need 200 drivers to fill our trucks,” said Holzer.

Reaching that goal won’t be easy. The nation is in the midst of driver shortage while demand for the trucking industry is soaring. The U.S. Department of Labor has reported trucking is one of the fastest growing industries in the country. As the economy grows, so does the demand for goods and more truck drivers are needed to move those goods.

“The customers need our equipment. They are calling and asking for us to haul freight. If I don’t find individuals to work and move those loads around we’re not going to be able to haul the freight the customers need us to haul,” Holzer said.

At Kirkwood Community College, trucking experts said retiring baby boomers and new trucking safety regulations in 2010, called CSA, have shrunk the driver pool. It’s created a void that isn’t being filled by young people.

“It’s hard to fill those positions that are now gone. The younger generation doesn’t find it very appealing,” said Kirkwood’s Transportation Supervisor Freddie Jones.

Jones said young people can be discouraged by trucking’s long hours and the many misconceptions about drivers’ health.

“You know what; I’m not going to lie. I fell for the stereotype loop myself,” said Karl Harlow, a Kirkwood trucking student.

Harlow came from Florida to train at Kirkwood. He said his misconceptions disappeared once he actually got to know drivers.

“They weren’t overweight, they weren’t discourteous, they didn’t seem like they were uneducated. They seemed like they were just everyday people,” Harlow said.

While schools fight stereotypes to bolster driver numbers, businesses are using incentives. CRST Expedited officials plan to increase their overall driver pay by $10 million over the next year.

“We need to start competing with the other opportunities out there,” said Holzer. “The driver shortage is real. It is something that is throughout the entire industry. This is our attempt to remedy the driver shortage at CRST.”

CRST Expedited hopes the pay increase will also entice current drivers to stay. Plus, Holzer said the move will help offset July 1st’s new federal regulations that limit the number of hours drivers can log.