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Posts Tagged ‘Jason’s Law’

ooida-with-hopeThis was a significant moment! To arrive with Hope Rivenburg (Jason’s Law) at the OOIDA Headquarters for the final of four regional truck parking coalition meetings held on October 5, 2016.

If you have followed this blog and my social media activity over the past 8 years you will know just how many twists and turns my journey into the trucking industry has taken. Truck parking came to my attention through twitter when an article about a murdered truck driver named Jason Rivenburg was shared with me by a friend I met through social media that had a small Virginia newspaper.

Shortly afterwards I came to know Hope Rivenburg and felt blessed that I could help share news of her campaign to create a safe truck parking bill named after her Husband Jason.

Over the years watching this movement transition from a heartbroken family gathering petition signatures at their local country fair to the day Hope texted me during her first trip to Washington D.C. saying she wished she wore flat shoes because it was “…much bigger than she thought it was…“, I have been inspired.

One person CAN make a difference! Hope Rivenburg is proof of that.

The series of truck parking coalition meetings brought together people who would normally not sit at the same table and have a conversation. I found that there were vast differences in the beginning in understanding terminology between the groups but I felt optimistic following each meeting that most of the people in attendance wanted to identify ways to solve the problem of truck parking shortages.

I say “most” since there were some stakeholders that were absent and should have been represented in these meetings such as the shippers and receivers who dictate strict schedules, representatives from the freight brokerage sector and the trucking carriers of large fleets where drivers have very little experience in locating truck parking outside of their designated fuel stop locations.

lisa-joyce-and-meDo you know that there were only two individuals (2) that attended all four (4) meetings for truck parking? I was one (1) of those people. The other person was Mr. Carl Rundell from “Truck Smart Parking Services“.

Regardless of the absence of some of the major stakeholders,  I was pleased to meet several representatives from the National Association of Truck Stop Owners (NATSO) and be able to better understand where they are coming from with their arguments and statements about truck drivers and trip planning. It was clear that there has been a lack of communication to partner industries in the supply chain when it comes to the needs of the individuals that serve this country each and every day in their work as truck drivers.

Joyce Hibma, the Wife of a truck driver has become an instrumental voice for drivers in the North Bend, Washington truck parking battle. She attended the Salt Lake City coalition with me as a REAL Women in Trucking Mission Support Member. This is a woman who herself is on a mission and she is to be commended for her hard work on behalf of drivers. In Salt Lake City, Joyce and I met Lisa Mullings from NATSO and Caroline Boris Research Analyst from ATRI ( American Transportation Research Institute ).

At the Maryland and Dallas Meetings, Idella Hansen RWIT Treasurer and Pat Hockaday from “Truckers United” attended the coalition meetings which helped place more drivers in the room in order to give real life perspective to solutions.

Lisa Mullings CEO of NATSO remarked during the final meeting at OOIDA Headquarters “Where are the carriers in this conversation? They call themselves “Logistics” companies and they are dictating fuel stops and highway routing in the bigger carriers, Why aren’t they helping their own drivers with parking?

It is a great question and observation since these issues will get worse when mandated ELD’s come to fruition. atri-gal-with-joyce-and-iThe truth is that the inexperienced driver population is more likely to park on highway ramps because they are being run to the minute with their e-logs and many of these drivers do not have knowledge on truck parking outside their fuel routing.

Another issue that emerged was trucking fleets that only fuel at one chain that notoriously does not construct enough truck parking for the area in need which then in turn pushes off overflow to other chains who do not benefit from fuel sales. Pilot Travel, specifically, the “fuel your truck and get out” chain vs. Travel Centers of America, a chain that generally has a larger area to park but not so much a place fleet drivers are authorized to fuel at their locations. What are the reasons for this? Only major carriers can answer this question and drivers can only speculate. This is why carriers should have been part of these discussions.

The truck parking shortage is a problem that still has obstacles and that is where YOU, the reader comes in. In a post I published on the REAL Women in Trucking blog called “How to Take Action on a Local Level for Truck Parking” I’ve explained seven (7) simple steps each one of us can do to help advance this issue and keep the momentum going.

Essentially, we are in a place where despite all of the great ideas that emerged from the four regional truck parking coalition meetings there remains an obstacle. Communities that protest new truck parking that have not been sold on how safe truck parking serves them.

Here is what you need to know and how you can help work toward educating your state freight planners. Currently, All of the states have been tasked by the Federal government to do something they have never been required to do in the past, that is to create a freight plan. States must have an approved freight plan and freight network in place by December 2017 in order to continue to use their freight formula funds that were made available in FAST Act.  See Link: The FAST Act: The Freight Provisions

Truck parking is an eligible activity for FAST Act funds but it is not required. Truck parking is often overlooked as a necessary component to intelligent freight planning. Smart freight plans should be focused on alleviating highway congestion and part of thsleeping-truckat would be assisting truck drivers who must comply with federal hours of service requirements to prevent unsafe operation of a commercial motor vehicle.

  • Truck parking facilitates interstate commerce which must not be impeded by states and local governments
  • Truck parking improves highway safety

Hope Rivenburg has worked tirelessly to make sure that “Jason’s Law” for Safe Truck Parking, an initiative named after her murdered Husband would be recognized by the Federal government as a matter of safety. Hope took immediate and relentless personal initiative to take action for truck drivers.

Hope Rivenburg proved that one person CAN make a difference and she got the ball rolling but now the ball is our court.

Truck drivers must keep this issue relevant and they can do that by helping to write emails and making phone calls to educate state agencies that are not aware that truck parking is an eligible activity for FAST Act funds.

This is a call to action

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Use this link created by Allen Smith to the MPO Interactive Map to locate your State MPO contact information.
  2. Use the SAMPLE LETTER located on the MPO Interactive Map Link as a guide by using “cut and paste” and then revise the letter for your particular region and situation. You can use this link to download a PDF of the SAMPLE LETTER TO STATE AGENCIES. ( This letter is only a sample, it is not to be used verbatim, please personalize it to your situation.
  3. Send a letter, email it or make phone calls to the state agencies you have selected from the MPO Interactive Map to explain the pertinent information in a respectful manner that includes asking if “truck parking is in the freight plan” and if they are aware that “truck parking is an eligible activity for FAST Act funds and it is necessary in their region”.
  4. Identify to these agency heads in your letter or phone call that the funds “can be used on eligible projects until December 2017. After that, they can only use them if they have their freight plan in place”.  (Remember that eligible activities include truck parking and ITS type systems for information sharing and notifications).
  5. You can also help by calling State Motor Carrier Associations to make sure they understand that truck parking is an eligible project and asking them if they know “What’s in the freight plan?” for that State. The goal is to make certain that the agency representative comes away from the conversation with awareness that truck parking is needed and eligible for funds for their state.
  6. If possible, get involved in State and MPO area freight advisory committees.
  7. Ask the State agencies that you contact: “What have you done to improve on Jason’s Law data since the report was published”?

If they have not heard of “Jason’s Law” ask them for their email to share with them the following links.

FHWA DOT Jason’s Law

USDOT “Jason’s Law” Survey Reaffirms Nationwide Truck Parking Needs

Final Advice: Persist with your state by asking the question: “What is in your freight plan?” be tenacious but polite about getting answers.

REMEMBER! There are only 50 States, If you commit to writing at least 2 MPO’s from the interactive map we can make a difference. Stop waiting for everyone else to make a difference for YOU!

Listen to the Replay> Solutions to Improve Truck Parking with Host Allen Smith and Guests Nicole Katsikides Deputy Director of Maryland Department of Transportation Office of Planning and Preliminary Engineering and Desiree Wood President REAL Women in Trucking, Inc.

Much Thanks to Nicole Katsikides for help in drafting this call to action for truck drivers!

with much gratitude,

Desiree Wood

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Truck from RightOver the past year in addition to finishing college and forming the REAL Women in Trucking organization, I have been completing the Jason’s Law Truck Parking Survey Presentation with PDF’s at the bottom of the page that have more information on the open comment questions.

I was working on question 35 regarding “…shippers and receivers who are the most difficult…” at the time of the tragic Walmart truck crash that killed Comedian James McNair and critically injured Actor/Comedian Tracy Morgan and others who were riding with him.

Of course the backlash goes to the lone driver, Kevin Roper. The Walmart truck he was driving was equipped with all the bells and whistles the government says will make trucks safe. The media reported the driver had not slept in 24 hours and the public interpreted this to mean he was driving for 24 hours. Walmart trucks have e-logs, not paper logs. There is also a great deal of unpaid labor time in trucking. Drivers are expected to watch freight be loaded when they should be napping, take their shower breaks and conduct their personal errands that any normal person has, during designated sleep break times. This plus a number of other labor issues that most civilians and legislators just do not want to educate themselves on until a high profile tragedy occurs.

In the days before the crash, the trucking industry was buzzing over calls for the resignation of Anne Ferro from the Federal Motor Carriers Administration. Following the crash, an ill-timed muscle move to suspend the new 34-hour restart rule was made by the American Trucking Association with the help of “friend” Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine). Then I received a call from MSNBC to comment. Although my moment on television was short, I was able to get one point out of my mouth that is an issue that must be addressed to prevent fatigued driving which is truck parking. You can follow this link to see my comments on the NOW with Alex Wagner Program.

Here are some of my other personal observations: Anne Ferro and her research data miss the mark on what causes fatigued drivers. The American Trucking Association is a lobby group that does not represent truck drivers. They represent corporations like Walmart that think of workers as robots. Productivity is the focus of corporations not necessarily safety. This is not something that is socially acceptable so it makes sense that the same corporations that claim safety comes first will silently shift the burden of safety on an individual if they can get away with it. Senator Susan Collins either does not know this or does not care about this. The new 34-hour restart rule is a joke because how it is being implemented and so is the 30 minute break. It is a poorly designed solution made by people who do not care to get out of their comfort zone to see how their rules work in practice. Drivers DO need a break! Unfortunately though, they also need help to stand up against harassment from carriers that insist they keep working even though they are not driving. Truck drivers are considered unskilled labor, employers are not held to the same labor standards in the way they manage productivity from their in-house employees. When a trucker does feel fatigued and must stop for rest, the current federal regulations AND the ones the ATA is fighting for DO NOT allow for enough driver flexibility. Only the driver knows when they need sleep, not the government, not the ATA, not the carriers, not the shippers and receivers. On top of this, when the driver does feel the need to stop and rest there is often no place to stop the truck. This is especially true in the northeast as identified in the “Truck Parking Special Report“.

These are issues that go year after year unresolved though they are well known problems in the trucking industry. Below I have included the text from the most recent PDF compilation that is part of the truck parking survey open comments section. As in the previous sections, Walmart was the most mentioned. My personal hope is that the investigation of the Walmart crash does not focus on one driver, but instead examines an industry, a regulating body and the elected public servants who are not seeing what is as plain as the nose on their face.

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Question 35 Below pertains to Shippers and Receivers, HOS, Fatigued Truck Drivers and Safety (more…)

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A national truck parking survey has been launched by Hope Rivenburg that aims to collect data for the research mandate that was included in the 2012 Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) highway bill.

If you are a truck driver I encourage you to take 15 minutes today to complete this survey, AND share it to other drivers that you know or come in contact with. If you are in operations, please share the link with your fleet. Share it on your Facebook page, twitter stream, email it, and help other drivers get access to the survey who would like to participate. You can always email me or Hope and we will email or text it back to you. Survey Link. ( Email: hope.rivenburg@gmail.com or truckerdesiree@gmail.com )

The collection of driver information is crucial to prepare an accurate assessment of the current state of truck parking from the end-users themselves.

Hope Rivenburg as you should recall is the widow of truck driver Jason Rivenburg who was murdered in 2009. Her husband had experienced parking issues and truck stop crime in the past. He decided to keep rolling to his destination in South Carolina to deliver milk.

The receiver of this milk would not provide parking for Jason or accept the delivery early. This is a common issue for truck drivers that contend with strict appointments and remote destinations where they are unwelcome to park for rest once loaded or unloaded regardless of their HOS restrictions.

Jason parked at an abandoned gas station and was shot for $7.00. His Wife Hope was pregnant with twins at the time; the couple already had a 2 year old son. That was four years ago and Hope Rivenburg has not stopped fighting for safe truck parking since, even though her husband is gone forever. (more…)

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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?  

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Ray LaHood, Anne Ferro, Bill Graves

Name an industry that can get away with leaving a labor force stranded across the United States days before Christmas and hardly get any mainstream media giving it any coverage?

This is the power of controlling media and the trucking industry proved it during December 2009 when Arrow trucking turned off gas cards, bounced paychecks, closed its doors, and left truck drivers stranded.

I decided against a picture of an Arrow Truck for this post but instead I chose this nifty picture of Bill Graves the CEO of the “American Trucking Association” with Ray LaHood & Anne Ferro because they obviously all know each other.

On December 22, 2009 the Christian Science Monitor reported the Arrow closing and the story made its way to Twitter shortly afterwards.  In researching the timeline for this post I noted that the editor has made a comment about the original title. It makes me wonder if someone “contacted them” and a correction to the wording was made. Speaking out about human indignities by the trucking industry seems to be monitored very carefully.

Twitter became quickly a buzz on the 22nd with that initial article. Shortly thereafter a second report via Landline eNews article called “ Nightmare before Christmas ” by Clarissa Kell-Holland was also circulating.

Remarks by the truckers on twitter quickly became heated when it became clear that the twitter tags of @RayLaHood who is the U.S. Secretary of Transportation and frequently tweeted about job creation during that week & the ATA Twitter tag @TruckingMatters remained silent on the Arrow Issue.

Ellen Voie of @WomeninTrucking tweeted an announcement that Anne Ferro of the FMCSA would speak at the “Salute to Women Behind the Wheel” but said nothing about Arrow. In a private email I was advised she was very much aware of the situation but for whatever reason did not tweet any articles. I still have those dated emails but some of the remarks are not pleasing about Ellen Voie and they were made by one of her members so I will refrain for now.

Meanwhile others like @HDTrucking tweeted “Arrow Drivers get one heck of a lump of coal for Christmas” in between “Retweeting” things for Hubby Evan Lockridge @LockridgeReport who tweeted he would be doing a show on the 23rd about the Stranded Arrow Drivers.

Individual Truckers on Twitter were tweeting:  “Hope we never see management from Arrow trucking in management jobs in any other trucking company. #Fail 9:52 PM Dec 22nd, 2009” which was just one of the popular “ReTweets” that went on for days. (This was a retweet I copy & pasted from Jami Jones @Shewhoknowstruck )

On Facebook remarks of disgust that no one knew about the drivers went like this: “…I was talking to some at church, they have no clue what just happened! Sad! Some said they would have just brought the truck home. I ask how? Most of these guys had no money. How you going to buy fuel, pay tolls, cross border without cash? Plus they lost all contact with their company!” were made on the newly created Fan Page called “Stranded Arrow Trucking Drivers-Coordinate Efforts Here” which was made by the Landline Staff on Twitter. (The title has since been changed as well as the mission)

In prior projects on twitter such as @JasonsLaw & the Virginia Rest Area Issue , there had been interference by the Landline Staff on Twitter so I would be lying if I said everyone believed that OOIDA was creating the page for anything more than a membership drive. I have included a link above from my previous post on Jason’s Law but at this time I cannot elaborate further.

That afternoon in fact a well known Canadian Trucker had some mixed signals from comments made by Jami Jones the Senior Editor of Landline and challenged her to call into Daniel Audet’sTruck Star Radio” to discuss the Fan Page.

At first she declined but when pressed to show that she truly cared to get the word out through ALL mediums, she agreed and convinced the listeners that the OOIDA Fan Page was an effort to help the stranded drivers and not a membership ploy as we had seen in the past.

I was aware that OOIDA Media had also been calling around. I was on home time, I was very sick with a high fever and my truck starter had died so I had to drive to Denton, Texas to go into the shop. I was actually parked in the mechanics bay for the night on the 22nd and was hesitant to become a fan of the page until I was convinced by Daniel Audet that Jami Jones was sincere. At about 9pm CST I became a fan of the page and forwarded it to MANY people.

Dan Little President of the “Owner Operators United@DDLittle on Twitter had already begun Tweeting & making phone calls on behalf of the Stranded Arrow Drivers.

Dan Little was in close contact through Twitter, Facebook and nightly on “Truck Star Radio” and reported that OOU members were going above the call to assist the Arrow Drivers in getting them home, fed, & get them motels.  The OOU board of Directors also offered a 1 year 100% free membership to all Arrow Drivers.

Within a hour of the Qualcomm message that was received  by the Arrow Drivers telling them that the company had folded the OOU was contacted and that information  was passed on to Bob McCarty and several other national media contacts.  According to Dan Little it was Mr. McCarty who contacted CNN who broke the story worldwide.

On the morning of December 23, 2009 I was received an early morning call from @Longhawl a trusted friend from twitter who has dispelled many misinformation campaigns by  “The Trolls of Trucking on Twitter”.

My friend “Longhawl” was deeply disturbed by the news of the Arrow closing and more so that the ATA had the nerve to sit quietly and saying nothing and doing nothing.  I agreed that the ATA was a despicable example how to represent an industry but the truth about trucking is that this is how truckers are treated and most people could care less.  Longhawl told me he was just plain tired of seeing the arrogance that the ATA displayed toward the hardworking American Trucker and he wanted to help. He asked me why no one was attacking the ATA on Twitter outright and I said that retaliation in trucking is very real so most individuals are intimidated, also much of the trucking media sources are controlled.

In fact as I recal the day the ATA came on Twitter they only followed national media contacts and the publishing partners for the major trucking periodicals are very much “connected”.

Longhawl said “Well I don’t work for the Trucking Industry and I am going to say a few things” I said “Okay, I will ReTweet what you say.” I also introduced Longhawl to Mike Rone of “RMR Consultants” who was working on cleaning up a DAC for a woman trucker named @NJKatwoman .

Mike was disturbed that no one had assisted the drivers by notifying truck stops properly, making sure the drivers who were cut off from the outside world suddenly could make their way home with their belongings for the holidays. I spent a few hours on the phone with both Mike & Longhawl that morning while I awaited the repair on my truck. During that time I saw an Arrow driver try to turn in his keys to the Service Desk and the girl had no idea what he was talking about. Then he went to the fuel desk and she had no idea either.

Mike Rone had called Dallas Radio Station KRLD to get them to cover the story and I spoke to the girl at the fuel desk and told her what was going on. While I was speaking to her another girl walked up and said that the day before an Arrow driver was able to fuel up but the card did not go through so they had to pump out the fuel. Still they did not know that the company had gone belly up nor were they aware that the drivers were stranded. How humiliating is this for a driver who is on his way home for the holidays? They had already received one bounced paycheck and via qualcomm the company told them they were unemployed without notice. A message that said in essence “See Ya wouldn’t want to be Ya”.

The OOIDA Fan Page had numerous offers to help the drivers but there was no rhyme or reason to it. There were carriers offering jobs and rides but in practice that meant nothing more than a free link ad. There were no drivers on Facebook because they were out-of- touch. When companies like Swift & Schneider came forth to offer rides home it sounded grand but in practice how would the Arrow drivers know this? Were Schneider’s drivers advised to go track them down? What if they did see an Arrow driver who was stranded and they needed to go to Florida but the Schneider truck was under a load going to Washington?  Then what? I mean it looked great on the surface but in reality there was not any sort of practical rescue operation being conducted.

Together, Longhawl & Mike Rone created a forum that went live the morning of December 24, 2009 which aimed to sort out offers for assistance from all over the internet to make it easy for the drivers once they were located but not many people ever found that forum. It was submerged before it took off but it was made to help the drivers and that was all.

We had twitter going crazy despite the lack of mainstream media attention. The ruckus of the Stranded Arrow drivers and our constant circulating of the OOIDA fan page link was everywhere you looked. Within hours if you googled “Arrow Drivers” the 2 lone articles were complimented by thousands of additional items which were actual tweets that were going into Google.

Not many people realize that what you post on Facebook it remains in Facebook but on Twitter it escapes the “Twitoshepre” and into the “World Wide Web” which makes it searchable in Google!

The chatter could not be ignored, this was not just truckers on twitter who had jumped onboard, and the news of the Stranded Arrow Drivers was being circulated by concerned citizens from around the world on Twitter who were OUTRAGED!!!!

On the morning of December 23, 2009 “Fleet Owner” magazine put out an article called “Social Media Comes to the aid of Stranded Arrow Truck Drivers” but here’s the thing, these are all ATA skewed publications and it was sort of a slap in the face with some feeble acknowledgement that said: “Yes, we see you are making an impact but we are still not going to do anything about it.”

I personally monitored those tweets in Google regularly and forwarded the increasing stats to interested parties. There were many familiar faces in those tweets who were not only my followers but even my DOG’s followers!

My Damn Dog was doing more for Arrow Drivers than the FMCSA, Women in Trucking or the American Trucking Association! Merry Effing Christmas Truckers!

Okay, so I’m getting a little pissed… Breathe Breathe…

The tweets were very targeted by utilizing “Hashtags”, we had seen success in several projects by doing this method for the Virginia Rest Areas, Pickens Plan and Dog Rescue.

In the future I will detail this but I did go on “Truck Star Radio” and give a tutorial to people who wanted to help.

This was an enormous success and by the 24th I had been introduced to a group of former Arrow drivers and volunteers on Twitter and Facebook who I invited to join “Truck Star Radio” as much as they wanted to tell their true story.

It was not long until reports began coming back that pledges to give help were being ignored and that the OOIDA page was not being managed properly. Still it was an amazing outpouring of people wanting to help. Still today it is inspiring to see all the people wanting to help truckers and it stands as a testament to the power of social media.

In those beginning hours there was truly more offers for help than there was drivers. That was the problem, how would a stranded driver know that they needed to get on the internet?

As I said in the recent “Blog Talk Radio” broadcast I was deeply moved when I observed former Arrow Driver Brandon White organize efforts while enroute to his new job on the greyhound bus.

I was included in a circulating email of volunteers but I did not post publically because I did not want to alert “The Trolls” about my involvement which would derail the cooperation that we thought was taking place.

I have included the radio broadcast link and I don’t want to recap everything here but basically at this time I did not know about Donna Creekmore but learned of her shortly afterwards and her list of drivers.

This list was crucial to weed out the scammers who emerged. The other disturbing thing was that people who were disgusted trying to pledge assistance on the OOIDA board. Some people were reporting they went ahead and gave to some of the designated charities but then some drivers were reporting those same charities either ran out of funds or the told the drivers that they did not meet the criteria to get assistance.

One Arrow driver called the number and was told to go to a homeless shelter!

This was a problem for me and others who felt if Donna Creekmore had verified them as drivers and there were people willing to help assist them they should be matched up, end of story.

Again, I won’t get into all the backroom shenanigans FOR NOW but I did receive the exchanges between OOIDA & the Volunteers and it was not surprising to me who the characters were but still it was disappointing that this crisis was turning into a media power struggle.

Another page on Facebook surfaced on the 24th called the “Ex-Arrow Employee’s Page” and it seemed odd that OOIDA had not been in direct contact with these folks and Donna Creekmore as soon as they appeared on the scene to collaborate.

Donna Creekmore was assisted by a woman named Dana to organize help directly to drivers. I personally called both of them to see who they were because it was true that scammers were coming out of the woodwork on the OOIDA page and it seemed like no one was managing it properly. My own followers on twitter were getting too personally involved and I did not want any of them getting ripped off.

Donna Creekmore was actually in the emergency room with her Husband when I spoke to her, she said she was concerned with getting “her drivers” home. To my knowledge no one from OOIDA had contacted her at this time nor were they aware that Dana, Donna, Brandon and other Volunteers had set up a base of operations to help the actual drivers on from the driver list and match with pledges for help from individuals.

On the Monday after Christmas however the emails were flying. Soon after, Dana set up a third page of Volunteer efforts on Facebook for the Arrow drivers.  Dana continued assisting drivers with volunteers while Donna Creekmore was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia.

It was an amazing weekend! A huge storm had hit Oklahoma & Texas and shut down I-40. Many truckers were stranded and some were attempting to help stranded Arrow drivers when the storm hit.

Despite my attempt to stay in the background I was compelled to post publically after an OOIDA member called me to dispel rumors about repo men being at truck stops. I also called Freightliner and posted on their Facebook page asking for a public announcement. I did not get a response but it sure brought the trolls out.

Private texts to me by other truckers on twitter asked for me to pass along offers of help and jobs to Donna & Dana because they too did not want to stir up the trolls.

It was already too late; in fact the King of Trolls had posted on the OOIDA page Jan 2nd to stay away from any of the “other groups” and wanted to know if anyone had a concrete list. He had been tweeting with Jami Jones who was ensuring that to him that,  “…/amazing/ isn’t the word for it. It seems like we spend as much time killing rumors as productive good some days. & we have debunked some requests from alleged Arrow drivers needing help. We didn’t just fall off the turnip truck here” but that was not the truth.

There were problems behind the scenes and Jami Jones blogged “Imagine All the People” where she implied there was social media backstabbing which was sort of crazy because all the people I knew of had been up 24/7 tweeting, donating every last nickel they had and making phone calls to help Arrow Drivers while they were in bad shape themselves.

One woman who is a big fan of @TruckinDogKarma was in the ICU tweeting from her phone and had to have it removed from her by her doctor!  She later made phone calls with a partial list and got deeply involved with the missing trucker story when the Mother of that guy poured her heart out to her.

If that were not enough to turn my stomach, on January 5, 2010 the ATA finally remarked on the Arrow driver situation. Like a synchronized swimming event Ellen Voie tweeted “Angels Among Us” which originally had comments on it that have been moderated off but I was sent the copies.

In this article Ellen states she was called by OOIDA to bring home the last Arrow drivers but according to Donna Creekmore there were many drivers who were still not home or had no home to go to.

On this same day OOIDA edited their Mission Statement and Title on the Facebook Fan Page and the ATA Twitter @TruckingMatters account tweets this dumbass remark “Thank you to all the trucking companies working from day 1 to help former Arrow drivers #SupportArrowDrivers #Win “

That was in addition to this tweet right next to it: “TweetsSchneider National encourages former Arrow drivers to apply http://www.schneiderjobs.com #SupportArrowDrivers #trucking”

OY VEY! So those are the Holy Grail of Hope to the American Trucker?  Seems to me every day is media day in trucking!

There was huge lesson to be learned in the Arrow Trucking mess and that is people do care about truckers but they are not getting the information they need to help them.

Many people came together who were formerly divided and eventually worked together.

Good can come out of what happened at Arrow in the sense that an awakening should begin to come about that ordinary people can make a difference. You can gather the rest on your own when your eyes begin to clear like mine have.

Listen to the Blog Talk Radio called “Truckers Home” with former Arrow Trucking Employee Donna Creekmore that aired May 6, 2010
Blog Talk Radio Truth About Trucking "Live"

There were so many individual people to thank it was not possible to remember everyone. If you would like to thank someone please post and let them be recognized.

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Women in Trucking

 

Where has the Non-Profit Organization, “Women in Trucking” been in all of this?  Well, that will be my next cronicle if I can ever finish my student trucker story.  I joined “Women in Trucking” as soon as I had chance to get to a computer in 2008. I was under the impression that the Mission Statement on the front page of the website was accurate.

I observed the climate for a period of time before I ever posted. It most certainly did not seem very friendly but the immediate positive response from other truckers on Allen Smith’s “Ask the Trucker” who were both male and female persuaded me to reach out to Char Pingel and tell her about what had been happening to me AFTER I went through the chain of command and into the arms of the HR Lady in my story.

Char told me to post on the “Women in Trucking” forum and I did. I started a thread called “My NEW experience might help you.

This thread has the most reads of any thread on the WIT Forum which at last count was over 3000! From day 1 I was attacked publically on the WIT forum by Sandy Long aka Lady Godiva . In a series of private emails I was further dismissed and basically told that they run people off like me who want to publically discuss what I was seeing with my own two eyes happen to Women who were entering the trucking industry for the first time.

Remember, I entered as a single Woman, not with a Husband or Boyfriend. I do not come from a trucking family. I was totally reliant on my CDL School Training, My Company Support System and My Trainer to provide me the tools to be successful. So far, none of them had come through for me but I wasn’t going to quit.

I first called Char Pingel and told her that a public cat fight is detrimental to ALL Women and she agreed but nothing was done. Later, I began emailing Ellen Voie about the fact that her forum seemed to be commandeered by Lady Godiva who actually has shown time and again that she does not like other Women. I was called names that were meant to label me and be derogatory but all the names were in fact, all different types of Women!  It made me wonder, “What kind of Women are allowed to be supported in “Women in Trucking”?

After many calls and emails to Ellen Voie and watching her tweet about getting her CDL but never actually operating a Big Rig herself, I saw that she had an aversion to the hard questions that are of the upmost importance for new females entering trucking. Is she an Advocate? or a Carpetbagger?

Here are a sampling of screen shots made from Ellen’s Twitter tag  @WomeninTrucking (Caution: Ellen Deletes stuff after I publish it but I have the screen shots on my hard drive) *** Note: These are in reverse order as they are Twitter Stream Tweets

WomenInTrucking

89. I am traveling out west with my boyfriend, and I am
so happy that I can handle a 38 foot 5th wheel trailer!
3:33 PM Jan 22nd from web
     
90. The Trucker ran a story about my getting my CDL
http://www.thetrucker.com 9:55 AM Jan 18th from web
     
91. I did not have to take a written or practical test to
transfer my Ohio CDL to Wisconsin. 4:25 PM Jan
15th from web
     
92. I completed the driving test in Ohio, then came back
to Wisconsin and transferred my license. I am now a
CLD holder! 4:24 PM Jan 15th from web
     
93. I passed!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I got my CDL today. 8:22 AM Jan
9th from txt
     
94. This week I will be returning to Canton Ohio to take
my driving test over. I’m scheduled for 8 am
Thursday. Wish me luck! 2:42 PM Jan 6th from web
     
95. I made a left turn and the light down the road turned
green in my turn, so he claims that I made them slow
down. Darn! I’ll be back! 9:49 AM Dec 22nd, 2008
from web

96. So, the bad news is that the examiner did not pass me
on the driving test. He said that I impeded traffic. 9:48
AM Dec 22nd, 2008 from web
     
97. I took my CDL test on Saturday. I passed the pre-trip
with an 89 out of 90. I passed the skills test also
(parallel parking was not fun!) 9:47 AM Dec 22nd,
2008 from web
     
98. Today is the day. I am up early, after spending the
night in Canton. My test is at 8 am. Next time I log in
I hope to have my CDL! 4:08 AM Dec 20th, 2008
from web
     
99. This afternoon I was able to get my last hour of
driving time in to complete my 10 hours of driving. It
was slushy outside. 5:20 PM Dec 19th, 2008 from web
     
100. The freezing rain caused us to stay in the classroom
all morning. We watched videos and practiced our
pretrip inspection by memory. 10:26 AM Dec 19th,

I spent my own meager salary on two occasions to attend trucking conventions to meet Ellen Voie in person to see for myself. Is she only trying to collect a paycheck from a non-profit organization off the backs of Real Women Truckers or what?

On a number of occasions she had told me that “WE” cannot say anything disparaging about certain companies because “they might be our sponsers”. That’s pretty sick when you consider that CRST is one of them.

When time permits I will chronicle all the emails, all the bullying, all reasons that the idea of a Women’s Trucking Organization is wonderful but in order to be responsible it is imperative to be clear that you WILL NOT help those entering Trucking if they get raped, beaten or harrassed. It is esspecially important because of the frequent radio appearences made by Ellen Voie that encourage Women to use her book as a guide to help them through CDL Training.

That is not radical feminism, it just being clear that you represent the industry, not the Women who drive the actual Truck.

Allen Smith did two shows on the topic of “Bullying in the Workplace” both of those links for the archived shows are in my FAQ section. The topic was in part inspired by the CRST Sexual Harrassment Case which was occuring at the same time the situation on the WIT forum was going on. Remarks putting down other Women and making Judgements on Women were frequent. One particular thread commented on was about how a crocheted valance had been seen on a big rig and this was looked down upon, as that female was just advertising her presence. This was sort of funny because at the same time a female crocheting trucker on Twitter seemed like she could handle herself pretty well if someone came to give her any shit about her hobby.

I delibrately persisted on the WIT forum. I wanted to see for myself and for the other Women who had been contacting me what sort of support WIT truly could offer to overcome obstacles in their trucking carreer. 

Ellen Voie was invited to participate in these radio programs. She even had us rearrange the schedule to accomadate her schedule, which we did. Unfortunately, she later declined citing her lawyer advised her against it, but she would love to do a follow-up show.

In Las Vegas, the general consensus from Women Truckers I met is that Ellen Voie is not doing anything for Women Truckers.  She did manage to land a reality TV Producer though, but that’s actually not too hard if you have ever been to Vegas or anywhere in California. You just have to be willing to make an ass of yourself on TV. Selling the idea of Women Truckers very easy but the image Ellen & the ATA are trying to sell the general public may not be helping Real Women Truckers at all.

In Dallas, Ellen Voie took credit for something she had absolutely nothing to do with and in fact wanted no part in asking for a company to address the subject matter. I had seen her do this with articles as well. I was beginning to get the picture.

As I get time I will chronicle all of this because what she is doing is actually detrimental to Women. There is a problem in the trucking industry for female students and Ellen is recruting them with her book and radio appearences, therefore she needs to clarify to these women that should they be harmed, she is not the person to go to.

Please watch this Video Clip in Ellen’s own words for and upcoming documentry on Bullying in the Workplace by filmaker Beverly Peterson.

Like I told Ellen Voie in a recent email, “I support Women in Trucking but I do not Support a Women who has never driven a truck making money off the backs of those who do, there in a name for that you know!”

Also, I am including this post I made about the CRST Sexual Harrassment Case which is Ellen Voie’s Sponser. It is from this post I came to know Tracey Tuttle-Hamm and “OKCSafety” who is “Tom” in the Dan Rather Segment called “Queen of the Road”  read it HERE

 

 

 

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