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BTR Logo2Back in June 2012, a free weekly phone conference group was launched called the “Women Truckers Network” (WTN) as a feature of the “REAL Women in Trucking” blog and “Real Women Truckers” of Facebook.

In January 2013, the WTN increased the weekly conferences and established the 1st trucking radio program hosted by women truckers on blog talk radio.
The conference group was established to create a networking resource for trucking women, women entering trucking, share information about the trucking lifestyle and make new friends.

We were thrilled that the official publication for Pilot Travel/Flying J, Challenge Magazine featured our group in the February Issue. You can read it here> PTC Challenge Magazine: Women Truckers
The weekly conference chat and women truckers network blog talk radio have created a simple way veteran drivers can connect to one another and contribute to help others seeking to enter the industry. The WTN is committed to strengthening a driver led voice that wishes to raise the standards in the industry.
The recorded archives of the initial Wednesday morning conferences from June 2012 to January 2013 contain valuable insight for those seeking to enter the industry. You can find them here: “Women Truckers Network Archives”. If you are a prospective CDL student of any gender I recommend you have a notebook handy to jot down information as you listen to these recordings. The purpose is to have you take action on behalf of yourself to make better decisions about truck driver training. You should gain enough knowledge from these recording to develop more defined questions that help you find a path that best suits your specific needs.

The new conference schedule includes two weekly phone chats, 8pm eastern Wednesday evenings is ladies only and a co-ed Sunday Social starts at 4pm eastern. A post to the “Real Women Truckers” page on Facebook is generally made just before the conference chat room opens.
The “Women Truckers Network” blog talk radio currently airs every other Tuesday at 7:30pm eastern. These shows are archived for replay and some of our past shows include interviews with recent female CDL students, Trucker Taxes and Truck Parking Issues with guest Hope Rivenburg of Jason’s Law.

Mainstream media seems to go into “truck driver shortage” blitz mode shortly after any political discussions occur on the nightly news about current job numbers and unemployment rates.

Few people understand that favorable tax incentives, subsidies, state and local job training grant programs are incentives for truck driver training carriers to cash in. When you see these hysterical reports you should recognize that what is really going on is a positioning for a money grab.

There is no incentive to create qualified drivers, but there is an incentive to create turnover.

We have created a corporate welfare program for big trucking and this has sacrificed safety, good judgement,  ethical recruiting and contributes to high turnover. There is little accountability for the lack of retention. This is directly related to mis-management and corporate greed.

Very few qualified truck drivers ever emerge from training carriers , yet these same carriers reap rewards from favorable job programs, high interest tuition loans and selling novice drivers on lease owner operator situations where they are set up to fail from day one.

Qualified drivers begin with qualified truck driving candidates who are prepared for the challenge of living the life of a truck driver. Carrier trade groups like the American Trucking Association who continually report a shortage of “Qualfied” truck drivers take little responsibility that the training carriers they aggressively represent in Washington D. C. produce few qualified drivers , yet recruit many unqualified candidates. Any trainer who has quit training for fear of their life will atest to this.

Until initiative is taken to examine how a person off the street is sold the “dream” of becoming an “over the road” truck driver, which is an entry level position into the industry, this qualified driver safety issue cannot be resolved. Continue Reading »

In June I received a call from some veteran Women Truck Drivers who had grown weary of waiting for any significant issues to be addressed by the non-profit organization called “Women in Trucking”.  They had grown increasingly upset that the credentials for some of the Women representing the organization were less than accurate.

For five years they, like myself have seen nothing but Facebook and Twitter posts thanking sponsor after sponsor for joining up and providing funds to the organization without anything solid to list as achievements for change or to foster an atmosphere of inclusion.

Yes, President Ellen Voie’s salary has more than doubled which has apparently afforded her the luxury to buy herself a plane and throw a public tattoo party for less than a dozen others but what about the female truck drivers who thought she going to lead the charge to have them recognized with respect?

While offensive WIT carrier member sponsors like CRST Van Expedited continue to have allegations about them on their unethical lease programs, the massive sex harassment case, plus a million dollar judgment against them for former female trainee, Karen Shank they still have not implemented any intelligent system for students in distress to find assistance from a qualified person.

CR England, who I wrote about abandoning a female student two years ago became a Women in Trucking member after I made public the incident on the http://www.REALWomeninTrucking.com blog and “Real Women Truckers” Facebook page with the help of other veteran drivers. Ellen Voie did not reach out to the abandoned female who was then living in her car in a Wal-Mart parking lot following her CR England training experience but she did reach out to CR England for sponsor dollars. Have they changed their ways? Not according to a recent trainee who was cornered by her phase two male trainer and stated that she never heard of Women in Trucking before I asked her how the incident was handled on a recent Women Truckers Network Weekly phone conference.

This morning I met another recent CR England female student who alleges that she was asked to run hazardous materials when she did not hold a hazardous materials endorsement, she has been driving less than 6 months. She also told me that she had been shut down for running bad equipment by the DOT but told by CR England to roll anyways. She is now at another carrier and was able to get out of her lease contract by threatening breach of contract due to the poor equipment. Still, she said she has lost her car because of the poor pay and other conditions she experienced since entering truck driver training. She told me that she picked up a recruiting magazine and saw a female trainer she recognized in a CR England advertisement that she actually had as a trainer. This female student claimed the female trainer spoke more about her boyfriend woes than providing good training to her. We talked about how important good female mentors are and why the Women Truckers Network is so important for Women entering truck driving.

No appropriate sexual misconduct training is being offered at training carriers although volumes of free material has been sent directly to these carriers and to Ellen Voie personally over the past 5 years. Much of the material from working female drivers employed at training carriers who have the most high profile issues with sexual misconduct and are sponsor/members of Women in Trucking.

So what became of all the free material? The only thing produced that we can identify has been an ultra-secret anti-harassment document that is only available to the highest paying sponsor members. Free material was offered and now it is only for sale?

Personal safety of women entering truck driver training should not be for sale to the highest bidder, it should be free to all who want the information. Ellen Voie was provided free material for the good of all drivers and to protect Women entering truck driver training so that they could be safe and successful. It was given in good faith that Ellen Voie would do the ethical thing but she has failed to deliver.

Truck carriers have a requirement for Smith System classes and recertification for hazardous materials knowledge but in the year 2012, the year of the “War on Women” political football, a sexual harassment policy and teaching session as to what that means exactly is still non-existent although different genders are supposed to live and work together in a box the size of an elevator.

Ellen Voie made in clear in her Question and Answer on the Real Women in Trucking blog that WIT is NOT a driver organization, yet she has persisted to assemble Women drivers in her annual photograph to use for promotional materials. Each year, her personal income increases even though the number of Women truck drivers has decreased at her event. Is it because some have begun to realize they are being tricked to stand for a photograph that permits Ellen to use their image to garner more income for herself without doing anything to help the female driving population?

I attended the 1st Salute to Women behind the Wheel and I brought 2 other Women with me. One who was a former CDL holder but had no valid driving credential at the time of the event. The other Woman was never a CDL holder. Both were offered the chance to attend the Salute to the Woman behind the Wheel.

One was given an award for having over a million safe miles, though no one checked her credentials to validate her claim or if she even had a valid driving credential at all. The second Woman caused a disagreement in the Women in Trucking booth because she had previously made derogatory comments about Ellen Voie’s credentials to represent Women in any capacity.  While I agreed with the observation, it was true that this Woman was not an actual truck driver. (Ellen Voie has never been a truck driver but got a CDL and wrote a book about it, she has yet to pull an actual load) I clarified that the second Woman was not ever a CDL holder at the event but the second Woman was determined to be recognized despite her cloudy credentials.

The truth though was that the credentials for many of the Women, including those in top honored spots have been in question since the first event and subsequent events. Miles have not verified, credentials were not checked, nor safety records. This information comes from my own personal experience and private conversations with the three Women in the front row of the photo widely used to promote Ellen Voie’s non-profit organization. There is no way to tell how many of the Women are actual CDL holders or if they are spouses of truck drivers because no accurate credential records were kept yet the photo was supposed to be for the Guiness world record which would invalidate it if there had been enough Women standing for the photo.

These Women stood for the photo because they thought they were making history and now many feel duped. I spoke to the people a Guinness World records recently and I am convinced no adequate procedure was followed at any Salute to the Women behind the Wheel event to appropriately validate the credentials to break a record to assemble the most female truck drivers.

The three Women in the front row of the photo from the 1st salute confirmed this to me from their experience with the event. Two are founders of the “Women Truckers Network” Weekly free phone conference events and the other is Ingrid Brown.

Women in Trucking has become a “buy a logo” non-profit organization and sadly this negates the integrity of any carrier who is associated with one of the carriers that are recently engaged in sexual harassment litigation that include rape and assault allegations in training.

Ellen Voie has persisted to seek Department of Justice Violence against Women grants for more funding to her organization when it is her sponsors that commit the most reported violence against women entering truck driver training.

Madeleine Albright Quote: “There’s a place in Hell reserved for women who don’t help other women.”

My question: What about Women who use other Women?

 

My new experience in trucking is what my first experience should have been. I am enjoying my privacy these days and having more free time for myself to have a personal life.
I don’t think anyone really understands what a sacrifice it was to spend every waking moment of my time trying to share my story to help others like me over the past few years. It took me many months to adjust to living off the road and in a house with no wheels, to reconnect to the world away from trucking.
The moral of my student trucker story is that you have to fight to survive in trucking to get to the other side of the rainbow. The retention numbers in truck driver training carriers speak for themselves. It continues to be a system set up for failure; therefore it is up to each individual to come out swinging if they intend to be trucking more than 6 months.

I have just launched the “Women Truckers Network” (WTN) Free Phone Conference Events which have quickly become a success. The founding members are Sandi Talbott a 71 year old female truck driver who pulls a reefer for Cargill Meats, Alison an owner operator Flatbedder and the inspiration for the phone conference network is a one armed trucker also known as “The Monkey Gouger”.  Tracy Tuttle-Hamm, a trainer for USA Truck is also a host for the WTN phone conference events and shares her insights for students planning to enter trucking.
Every Wednesday beginning at 9am Pacific time ( 10 am mountain, 11 am central, Noon eastern) the WTN free phone conference lets real women truckers chat live with one another to exchange information, lifestyle tips and to help women entering trucking make better decisions. Continue Reading »

Women entering trucking are at higher risk of meeting obstacles that hinder their success because this male dominated environment is lacking in accountability.

Unethical behavior and misconduct is generally targeted at those least able to fight back, this is the obstacle I have seen most frequently for truck driver students, especially Women.

Sweeping things under the rug like sexual misconduct in truck driver training carriers has created a big lump in the rug. The CRST Sex Harassment case is an example of the ignored lump that eventually created a hazard so great many were harmed. While some claims may have been frivolous, some valid claims are sadly caught in the mess.

The failure falls upon the carrier who did little to properly train their trainers and the industry who looks the other way.

Truck driver training does a poor job to prepare student candidates to become qualified drivers. For females, the highly unusual expectation of the living arrangements can be dangerous.

With the recent rash of reports on the EEOC V. CRST Sex harassment case I was at first stunned that it took until 2012 for the Associated Press to widely cover this massive case, many of the incidents occurred in 2005. It has been sparsely reported on by mainstream media and mostly ignored by trucking media, including OOIDA , trucking radio programs on SIRIUS, publications widely distributed at truck stops where truck drivers might read about this case and trade publications that might make the industry more accountable by creating pressure from other sectors for carriers like CRST to clean up their act.

The recent barrage of reports note that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had filed a “friend of the court brief”. If you are not aware, the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the former head of the American Trucking Association, if that does not SCREAM of politics I do not know what more one would need.

Perhaps, this story is all over because some other industry with as much clout as big trucking wants to rattle some cages? Maybe they could care less about Women or the EEOC case. Maybe it’s merely a power struggle between big rail and big trucking OR big labor and labor crushing, I don’t know but it is an issue that should be addressed.

Just 3 days before the AP broke this story, Ellen Voie the self-appointed corporate apologist for big trucking thanked CRST for renewing their corporate membership yet I received a letter from a CRST female student in distress just a few months back. I was also advised that remarks in court documents about an internal CRST crisis line which was somehow the remedy for their “issues” was no longer being used. Continue Reading »

Pretty Amazing!!!  Seeing how I have been on a blogging hiatus for most of 2011 this blog continues to be read. I will be posting some updates in 2012 and appreciate the responses.

I am esspecially happy when someone writes to tell me that they saved themselves money or were able to make better choices and/or fight back at truck driver training carriers who were attempting to mislead them.

I am glad to put 2011 behind me … Here is the WORD .. from WordPress.

Cheers!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 15,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

I’ve been absent from this blog for awhile but I felt I should stop by an make an appearance seeing how a few people have been trying to find out what I have been up to. Well, lots of stuff while trying very hard to do less stuff. I’m sure you know how that is.

I’ve been using you tube more frequently to retell my story to a new audience as the “alleged” driver shortage has reemerged with a vengeance and I have begun contributing to other trucking sites such as the “Life on the Road” blog with an introductory piece about being referred to as a “Trucking Whistleblower”. I am also working on some other non-trucking related endeavors.

Over the past few months I have been frequently contacted about this blog and other blogs where I write about truck driving issues for women, student driver issues, crimes against truckers and a multitude of other topics. It’s not been easy for me to keep up with it all because after all I am just one person. I do the best that I can but I think it is important for others who are as frustrated as I was when I began this writing to understand that one person with a semi reliable Smartphone, a annual income of $35,000 or less which was my case for most of 2010 can have a very long reach. What I accomplished could be accomplished by anyone, even if they are driving full or part time. That was part of my social media experiment, to prove that people outside of trucking would care about safety and training issues if someone could effectively tell them what was going on. This is what has not been done by any organization inside trucking who claims they care about highway safety and driver retention.

Continue Reading »

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 18,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 4 fully loaded ships.

In 2010, there were 9 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 80 posts. There were 34 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 1mb. That’s about 3 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was January 7th with 408 views. The most popular post that day was Why did I do it?.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, twitter.com, askthetrucker.com, truckerhub.com, and realwomenintrucking.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for arrow trucking, trucker desiree, truck driver shortage, truckerdesiree, and truck driver shortage 2010.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Why did I do it? April 2009
50 comments

2

Truck Driver Shortage April 2010
27 comments

3

Hi,This is me March 2009
53 comments

4

My Arrow Trucking Story May 2010
32 comments

5

Serial Killers and Trucking October 2010
20 comments

 

I just returned from Memphis where I gave a seminar called “Social Media and Women Truckers’ at the 1st Annual Memphis Truck Expo.

Two rather broad topics but I decided to include them in one presentation to illustrate the following:

  1. How powerful social media has been for social justice issues.
  2. To demonstrate how influential individuals can be in social media.
  3. To emphasize that persistently covering up issues related to women truckers and to those women entering the industry will eventually come back to haunt carriers who are permitting it to occur.

In the past few months I have been contacted by a number of Social Media Experts & “Guru’s” who have been consulting with various trucking industry entities who are looking to launch social media campaigns.

For someone outside of the trucking industry who is doing research , odds are they will find one of the outspoken social media truckers.

Here is the problem for the trucking industry:

Social Media cannot be “Controlled” the way mainstream media and advertising has been in the past. The trucking industry has been very slow to understand this.

When I spoke to contacts in supply chain / logistics to let them know about my presentation the response was: “Good, someone needs to tell them because they do not get it.

What this person meant was “Transparency” is what the trucking industry does not get. Saying you are being transparent can just as easily mean you are being a transparent liar but for someone who has never had to do business with all cards on the table this concept is difficult to grasp.

The power of social media is enormous. The first thing the trucking industry needs to recognize is that size does not matter. If your organization does not participate in listening and problem solving you are irrelevant.

Isn’t that logistics?

Unless you have a commitment to positive transparency you will fail in social media. Until the trucking industry can digest that transparency can be positive or negative, I do not recommend wasting any money launching a campaign that will fall flat.

If carriers cannot take the heat in a public forum to have their money source (Shippers) see how they treat employees (Drivers) or how they permit drivers to conduct themselves in public they will have a big problem in social media.

Currently, there are a number of mainstream media projects in development that will feature women truckers. This will inevitably create a recruiting boom for the unethical.

By creating the presentation called “Social Media & Women Truckers”, my hope is to help others in the trucking industry understand that corporate responsibility begins with each and every individual.

What I have referred to as my “Social Media Experiment” to see if one person could have a voice and make an impact is now complete.  I achieved my goal BUT I will continue to create a path for others who are searching for accurate information to enter this industry, at least until I see others stepping up to do the right thing.

Unfortunately, Women are still frequently being harmed during their training period, and violence against women in many areas of the trucking industry remains an issue. I will continue to use my social media presence to raise awareness of this fixable problem.

Ironically, Women Truckers to those outside and away from the trucking industry are admired. The image of a woman trucker is held in high esteem as a symbol of resiliency and strength. I have received emails from parents telling me that they hope their Daughters would grow up to be strong like I am, from old ladies telling me to keep talking and heard from Fathers of Daughters who are eager to see who will step up and make the necessary changes to create a more professional environment in the trucking industry.

I’d like to walk away now but it would be irresponsible to do that when few others are stepping forward. Women truckers carry a silent secret, they know others are being harmed in this industry and the truth is it’s best to not get involved for fear of retaliation. Other drivers, both Men and Women have been told “stay out of it” and targeted for retaliation for trying to stick up for someone who has been harmed, this is wrong. This mob mentality, prison inmate mentality, street gang mentality, religion based fanatic mentality must stop. The people being hurt,  retaliated against, shunned are the children of someone.

To me, being silent is not okay when someone is being harmed.

Looking the other way is NOT okay!

One person can have an impact and individual drivers participating in social media have seen this is true.

I will be sharing my presentation called “Social Media & Women Truckers” as a series of posts in the coming weeks on the self help website “Real Women In Trucking

I have included a preview here called:

What are you Sponsoring?”

Sponsoring Diversity is great, but do your homework. Are you sponsoring a cover up, an advocate or simply looking for a smoke screen to ease the impact of impending litigation? Violence against women is an issue worldwide. Silence equals an endorsement of violence in some male dominated industries.
 
 

                                                                                                                                                           

On October 5th 2010, the front page of USA Today featured a story about potential serial killers dumping bodies along highways near rest areas and truck stops.

The article begins with the story of a severed head found of a teenage girl a few hundred yards from a truck stop in Barstow, California.  Alarming? Your’e Darn Tootin!

The disturbing map included in this article showed how many bodies have been dumped in each state, a body count for each contiguous state including Alaska with the exception of North Dakota. ( USA Today Article Link: Along highways, signs of serial killings by Blake Morrison )

Familiar names were included in this article like Frank Silio who works for Covenant Transport (my employer), Lisa Mullings, President of the National Association of Truck Stop Owners  (NATSO) and Norita Taylor from OOIDA who I met when OOIDA inserted themselves in the Dan Rather Series based on my student truck driver training story.

The article was stunning, not only due to the topic but the evasive answers given by these three “spokespeople” for the trucking industry who could have acted more responsibly with their answers.

I contacted the writer of the article, Blake Morrison, to let him know that his article seemed to twist the dangers to be parking at rest areas yet safe trucker parking is a major issue as well as violent crimes against truckers and violence against women within the trucking industry.

I wanted Mr. Morrison to understand that drivers are experiencing increasing crime in specific areas and the lack of security and lack of accountability within the industry is part of the problem.

I particularly had a problem with the side bar to the article called “Avoid being a Victim” with tips from AAA but nothing about trucking industry specific challenges.

I posted the following comments to his article in various places and I emailed it to him directly, it has also been posted on the Facebook fan page called “Real Women Truckers”.

I am a female truck driver who has been blogging about violence against women within the trucking industry for almost three years. Frank Silio actually works at the same carrier as I do, but he could have pointed out that our fleet is forbidden to stop at some NATSO represented “Travel Plazas” as CEO Lisa Mulling refers to them. Our employer does this due to high crime and freight pilferage that occurs at these locations, but because Frank is an ATA “YES” man, he did not.

NATSO CEO Lisa Mullings tries to make it seem as if the “Travel Plazas”, as they have tried to rebrand the truck stops, are family friendly safe havens, but this is untrue. I find safer and quieter parking at welcome centers and rest areas, unfortunately, many of these rest areas are closing. NATSO has not cleaned up their “Travel Center” act which permits activity like truckers see at TA locations in Nashville, Barstow, Ontario, Jessup, Maryland, Gary, Indiana, West Memphis and Little Rock Arkansas, to name just a few.

A group called “Truckers Against Trafficking” aims to raise awareness of Human trafficking which exists at truck stop chains like the ones Lisa Mullings represents, yet they have NOT yet been embraced to display posters and other informational materials about potential signs of human trafficking or other violence against women literature.

“Jason’s Law” S971 & HR2156 a safe trucker parking bill lay in the environmental & public works committee ( Senate) and the transportation and infrastructure committee(house) ignored, and again it is NATSO who does not want the truckers parking elsewhere despite the fact that they do not want to clean up the crime or create enough suitable parking for commercial drivers.

Norita Taylor, media woman for OOIDA may have used her opportunity to note that trucker safety is as much an issue as safe parking to highlight the failure that is occurring within this industry. She should have noted that safe parking is an issue for truckers and travelers alike, yet, the article is permitted to imply that rest areas are less safe than travel plazas which I disagree whole heartedly.

The topic of violence against women is taboo in trucking. It is ignored by the ATA, NATSO, OOIDA, WIT so it is no wonder there is a less than serious proactive approach to a small population of alleged serial killers in this industry.

This in effect harms the majority of hardworking honest truck drivers who are out here doing their jobs. It is totally irresponsible of trucking leaders to ignore it.

A major problem is the denial, indifference and apathy within this industry, which protects a few predators and retaliates against the people who speak out. Violence occurs regularly to females entering truck driver training, domestic violence occurs regularly at truck stops and women are often thrown off of trucks at “travel plazas”.

There is no way to know who these women are and often law enforcement treats all women at or near truck stops as if they were expendable lot lizards. The entire industry is responsible for looking the other way at this issue.

I can go into a TA Travel Center and buy studded condoms and sani wipes to kill herpes in the ladies room but it is considered soliciting if I ask to leave information to help a woman in distress so she can get help to escape from a situation or if she is being held against her will.

The ladies bathroom and shower might be the only place these people have a chance to ask for help yet NATSO does not want the literature because it might scare off families!

I guess the studded condom machines are okay though.

When I spoke to Mr. Morrison he told me he was trying to define what areas truckers see as high crime not to indict the entire industry but to offer help for travelers who are not as educated on the places WE truckers avoid due to high crime.

Well this is definitely something Frank Silio could have told him because our company sends us a message when they detect we are anywhere close to one of the “Off-Limits” travel plazas across the U.S.A..

In an effort to help Mr. Morrison I posed the question to drivers on three different Facebook pages ( Allen Smith of “Ask the Trucker” , Drivers Alike and Real Women Truckers” ) the response was overwhelming in a short period of time. The question was:

“What Truck Stops do you find to be high crime to be avoided? Please tell me name of chain, city and state. Thanks!”

Winner of the “Don’t Stop because even Truckers are scared of the Place” non scientific poll was hands down.

1.   West Memphis, Arkansas Pilot & Petro

Frank Silio should have pointed out that we are not permitted to stop there and must plan our fuel accordingly to skip this location.

2.   Ontario, California (West)

Travel Centers of America Notorious drug & prostitution trafficking activity

3.   Atlanta, Georgia  Petro, Pilot

*our company is not allowed within 25 miles of outer loop I-285 due to high crime in Atlanta Area

4.   Dallas, Texas

Travel Centers of America, Pilot, Loves, Flying J

5.   Jessup Maryland Travel Centers of America

6.   New York everywhere considered unsafe

7.   New Jersey everywhere considered unsafe

8.   Indianapolis, Indiana Flying J

9.   Barstow California Flying J & Travel Centers of America

10. Spartanburg, South Carolina  Travel Centers of America

11.  Carlisle, Pennsylvania Petro

12.  Birmingham, Alabama  Flying J & Pilot

13.  Gary, Indiana ALL

Pilot, Flying J, Travel Centers of America, Steel City

14.  East St. Louis Pilot, Gateway Truck Plaza

15.  Salt Lake City, Utah Travel Centers of America (Tooele)

16.  Stoney Ridge, Ohio (ALL)

Travel Centers of America, Pilot, Fuel Mart

17.  Lake Station, Indiana

 Travel Centers of America, Flying J, Road Runner

18.   Knoxville, Tennessee Flying J

19.  Nogales, Arizona  Pilot

20. El Paso, Texas Petro

21. Brownsville, Texas  Gordon’s

22. Hialeah Gardens, Miami ALL

23.Hunts Point, New York Zippy’s

24.Laredo, Texas Travel Centers of America & Gateway

25.Youngstown, Ohio Travel Centers of America & Pilot

26.Phoenix, Arizona Circle K

27. Nashville, Tennessee

Travel Centers of America & Pilot

28. Albuquerque , New Mexico Chevron

29. Amarillo, Texas Pilot

30. Fontana, California Three Sisters & all on Cherry Ave.

31. Memphis , Tennessee Pilot on Lamar

32. Olive Branch, Mississippi Loves, Pilot

33. Houston, Texas Key Truck Stop & Truckers Paradise

34. Little Rock, Arkansas Petro

Clearly a six year old can see some of the same name brand chains popping up. Here are some of the other remarks made by truck drivers “St. Robert, Missouri, safe for driver but not for loads.” , “Stolen fuel while I slept”, “Just about any Petro of TA (Travel Centers of America) is bad”, “Activity was not as bad as harassment from officials not letting you sleep”, “Never been stole from at rest areas”, “I no longer park in back row or walk between trailers after having someone hit me on the back of the head to rob me.”

Understand that truck drivers are not allowed to carry weapons. Some drivers mentioned carrying pepper spray and we have to give a “Woof Out” to Trucking Dogs who have warned off many potential attacks. My own little Truckin Dog Karma has kept me secure by warning someone off on several occasions. Still, many carriers have suspended pet policies due to increased idle laws. (Don’t even get me started on that one)

As an industry we can clean this mess up by communicating better. NATSO should educate their staff of signs of trafficking and provide them with wallet cards from “Truckers Against Trafficking”.

I have seen violence awareness information in the ladies rooms at Starbucks in rural Texas towns so there is no excuse not to provide it in “Travel Plazas”.

It was hard not to notice that the front page story of potential serial killers did not make the nightly news, which is a pretty powerful failure on behalf of the trucking industry who should accept responsibility for the climate they have created. Decades of neglect and trying to vilify hard working truckers in order to conceal how they manage their workforce. It is not a reflection on the drivers; it is a reflection on the executives who have not displayed the courage to take responsibility for the environment they have created for the drivers and the motoring public.

This is a chance for us all to move forward by being more cooperative to address the parking situation, the crime and climate in this industry that women are disposable.

If you have not yet watched the video trailer from “Truckers against Trafficking” about how Truckers are actually HEROES for reporting crime at truck stops I have included the link.

I have said before, I believe the crime at certain locations is a failure by individual management structures. If a low paid staff if being offered a couple hundred dollars to look the other way you will have this sort of activity.

Many drivers have the “No Lot Lizard” stickers on their windows and we hear plenty of jokes but no one deserves to be killed, mutilated and thrown on a roadside.

These are human beings, they may be runaways, they may be kidnapped teens who have been trafficked and sold. As truck drivers, we see things that would keep the executives up all night shaking in their flannel pajamas.

The climate in trucking is to keep your mouth shut, this a prison inmate mentality, this is a street gang mentality. If you see someone killed or hurt keep your mouth shut or you are next. That is “Street Smarts”, is that what the message is of the ATA?

NATSO can change that entire message, please listen to the mainstay of your your business, your patrons, the American Truck Drivers. These stories affect them by tarnishing their image

The irony behind it all is that the USA Today article implies that many serial killers are truckers, avoiding the real issue that truckers are actually targets and victims of violent crimes themselves, mainly due to the inadequately patrolled truck plazas that are havens for criminals. The fact is that there are criminals who are opportunists, and they see a trucking career as means of hiding their criminal activity through the cover up of a legitimate job.

The article does not accurately portray the character of the REAL OTR truck driver who is hard working, and sacrifices life luxuries to deliver them to everyone else. Truck drivers risk their lives in order to make a meager living. Many do live in their trucks and stay on the road for several months at a time.

The article actually creates more hostility and apathy towards drivers rather than the empathy that they deserve as they are targeted victims. This is what NATSO, OOIDA, Frank Silio, and the ATA should be displaying.

The truth is, NATSO and the ATA would rather just allow the misled public to believe the negative stereotype image about truckers so it will divert attention from the real issues:  Lack of safe truck parking and the human trafficking crisis occurring at truck stops. In doing so it ensures that their bottom lines will not be affected, namely maintaining trusting customers to travel areas, deterring people from going to rest areas, preventing the encouragement to pass Jason’s law to create more safe parking areas, and keeping the “lowly image” driver pay down.

 The ATA and NATSO are a tightly knit group and they continue to support each others goals and ambitions, denying and disregarding the true problems of the trucking industry for their own personal gain.

Additional Reading:

Is there a link between human trafficking, CDL training and Jason’s Law?