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MEDIA CONTACT: Kristine M. Gobbo

561-463-0777, Kristine@spectrum-pr.com

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REAL Women in Trucking, Inc. to Host

Inaugural Lady Truck Driver Conference Cruise

 

LAKE WORTH, Fla. (August 16, 2016) – REAL Women in Trucking, Inc. (RWIT) is hosting a conference aboard the Carnival Conquest to unite and honor women in the truck driving industry. The “Queen of the Road on the High Seas” conference, taking place Sunday, March 26 to Saturday, April 1, 2017, will include education sessions on a broad range of topics, including personal safety, discrimination, sexual harassment, and driver health. The agenda also includes a driver advocacy forum, a lady truck driver roundtable and an awards ceremony recognizing women who have overcome obstacles in the truck driving industry. The six-night cruise will depart from Ft. Lauderdale for the Eastern Caribbean with stops at Grand Turk, Dominican Republic and Nassau.

The conference will provide tools for truck drivers while advancing a voice for RWIT and its members. The sessions will include information on improving technical skills for drivers, promoting advocacy through social media, transitioning company drivers to owner-operator, and much more. A forum of truck driver advocates will also discuss issues that affect the industry. Notable speakers include Allen Smith, host of ‘Ask the Trucker;’ Anne Balay, published author of Steel Closets: Voices of Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Steelworkers, a former truck driver, and writer of a recent op-ed published in The New York Times “Long-Haul Sweatshops;” and Christine Gray, Becca Kennedy and Shannon Morris, truck drivers, and advocates for the safety and success of women truck drivers.

All interested drivers, professionals within the truck driving industry, and others who encourage and support women truck drivers are invited. Families or significant others are also welcome. The conference schedule has been planned to allow plenty of leisure time to enjoy cruise activities. For those interested in supporting this important event, sponsorship opportunities are available at five levels with details provided at RWIT Lady Truck Driver Conference.

Nominations for outstanding female truck drivers, the “Queen of the Road” awards, are welcome. Awards will be presented to three outstanding women who have demonstrated dedication and tenacity in their efforts to become professional commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operators. Nominees must either be past or present CMV drivers that fit the R.E.A.L. criteria, which stands for Reaching Out, Encouraging Others, Achieving Personal Success and Leadership. Nominations will be accepted beginning Thursday, September 1 with a deadline of Monday, November 7, 2016.

“This conference is important to our efforts of ‘breaking the silence’ about the treatment of women in the trucking industry.” said Desiree Wood, one of RWIT’s founders. “At the conference, we hope to provide the tools women need to be more successful in their chosen field.  Along with information sessions, participants will have the opportunity to network with fellow drivers. Learning from one another and unifying on important issues is one of our primary goals.”

RWIT was initially formed in 2010 as a 501(c)(6) membership organization by female truckers to protest poor conditions that were not being effectively addressed by the trucking industry. “Queen of the Road on the High Seas” is the organization’s first fundraising event. Proceeds will help establish a 501(c)(3) foundation which will provide a headquarters and facilities with modest truck parking availability for members, scheduled learning conferences and advanced training for entry-level driver training students to develop their skills.

For more information, contact Desiree Wood at 561-232-9170 or info@realwomenintrucking.org, or visit http://www.realwomenintrucking.org/. Follow RWIT on Twitter: @womentruckers.

 

– RWIT –

About REAL Women in Trucking, Inc.:

REAL Women in Trucking, Inc. promotes safety by educating the public about unsafe truck driver training and has created a network of support for women entering trucking. The mission of REAL Women in Trucking, Inc. is to deliver highway safety through leadership, mentorship, education and advocacy.

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TwitterSocial Media has given a voice to individuals and this includes truck drivers that recognize arguing with one another solves nothing, BUT united efforts when there is a call to action DOES.
We learned between 2009 and 2013 that Facebook posts and Twitter posts directly to elected officials pages could elicit a response since these posts are public and ignoring them is bad social media etiquette (manners).
We also learned that there are many elected officials who seem to be in the pocket of the trucking lobby.
Too often the truck drivers with their limited ability to get accurate timely information while they are out on the road miss deadlines to make critical calls , send letters or an email to their elected officials on important legislation that can affect their livelihood.
In an attempt to educate truck drivers on how to use social media in addition to calling their elected officials to either oppose or support legislation, we wanted to provide you with a few pointers. With the link below you can find tips on calling your elected officials when you see a “Call To Action” that indicates your immediate attention is required to work together for a united cause that affects the truck driver population.
See Link: “Tips for Calling Your Member of Congress”. Remember to ask for the “Transportation Staffer”. Sometimes the person on the phone will take the information themselves. Give your directive on the purpose of your call as detailed in the link I have provided. They should ask for your zip code and you should be prepared to state what bill or amendment and the section you are calling about and which way you want the elected official to vote on it.
If you do not know who your elected representative is you can look them up with this link using your zip code:
Once you have located the name of your representative, you can either call the main Capitol Switchboard 202–224-3121 to be connected to their offices or look up their direct number with this link: Office of the Clerk of the United States House of Representatives
I suggest you keep the number programmed in your phone for future “Call To Action” events that we post on our Facebook page “REAL Women in Trucking, Inc.” and you should look up your Senators numbers as well. Find Your Senator
Since trucking is heavily regulated it is important to become familiar with the members of the very powerful Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Some of the members of this committee have deep “friendships” with the trucking lobby.
Truck drivers must realize that the trucking lobby does not serve truck drivers, they serve the carriers that pay them to lobby against things like better pay, more safe truck parking and intelligent hours of service that would be safer for truck driver flexibility.
Unfortunately elected officials do not want to hear from people that are not their constituents (people whose votes affect them) through their websites and office lines. This makes them very insulated from how the trucking lobby is hurting the truck drivers with their persuasive techniques.
This is why social media is a powerful tool for truck drivers.
If you are on Twitter or Facebook you can publicly voice your opposition or support regardless of where your voting jurisdiction is located. I suggest you use hashtags in these posts that include the state abbreviation and #politics #congress #senate just to name a few since many people outside trucking follow these tweet timelines.
You can always just commit yourself to “ReTweeting” the posts from our @WomenTruckers tag when you see that we are participating in a “Call To Action”. The objective is to create a ruckus that cannot be ignored. Elected officials do not like controversy. They often do not like the public to become educated on whom they are “in bed”.
Below I have compiled a list of Twitter tags of all members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
During a “Call To Action” not only should you call your elected representatives by phone, you should tweet them directly and/or post on Facebook to their official page even when they are not in your election zip code to let them know of your position. This will also educate people who ARE in their voting zip code know about legislation that is going on behind closed doors and they might begin to support our causes locally.
When just a few truck drivers and their supporters work together to “ReTweet” and share these posts in social media it brings much needed attention to prevent underhanded lobbying.
I hope you will all use these twitter tags for upcoming “Call To Action” alerts and please refrain from profanity and threats when making your posts.
Here is the list:
Twitter Tags for the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee @Transport
 Members:
@RepBillShuster PA (he is the head of this committee)
Alphabetically with a state abbreviation hashtag
@RepDonYoung #AK
@RepRickCrawford #AR
@RepKirkpatrick #AZ
@RepMimiWalters #CA
@Rep_Hunter #CA
@GraceNapolitano #CA
@RepGaramendi #CA
@RepJeffDenham #CA
@Rep_JaniceHahn #CA
@RepHuffman #CA
@JuliaBrownley26 #CA
@RepEsty #CT
@EleanorNorton #DC
@RepCurbelo #FL
@RepJohnMica #FL NOTE: John Mica has protected tweets & does not LISTEN on twitter. This is a sign of arrogance and lack of transparency. Regardless, I tweet to his tag and use the @Congressdotgov tag along with it so someone hears what I am saying to him
@RepCorrineBrown #FL
@LoisFrankel #FL
@RepWebster #FL
@RepRobWoodall #GA
@RodneyDavis #IL
@RepLipinski #IL
@RepBost #IL
@RepCheri #IL
@RepAndreCarson #IN
@ToddRokita #IN
@RepThomasMassie #KY
@RepGarretGraves #LA
@MikeCapuano #MA
@RepCummings #MD
@RepDonnaEdwards #MD
@CandiceMiller #MI
@RepSamGraves #MO
@USRepRickNolan #MN
@RepLeeZeldin #NY
@RepJerryNadler #NY
@RepRichardHanna #NY
@RepJohnKatko #NY
@RepSeanMaloney #NY
@RepSires #NJ
@RepLoBiondo #NJ
@RepDavidRouzer #NC
@RepMarkMeadows #NC
@RepHardy #NV
@RepDinaTitus #NV
@RepBobGibbs #OH
@RepPeterDeFazio #OR
@RepLouBarletta #PA
@RepRyanCostello #PA
@RepScottPerry #PA
@RepSanfordSC #SC
@RepJohnDuncanJr #TN
@RepCohen #TN
@RepBrianBabin #TX
@RepEBJ #TX
@Farenthold #TX
@RepComstock #VA
@RepRickLarsen #WA
@RepRibble #WI
Here are a few extras:
Congress @Congressdotgov
@GOPOversight @Jasoninthehouse #UT
@HouseJudiciary @RobGoodlatte #VA
Thanks for your help!
Sincerely,
Desiree Wood
President

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M3My response to an article from a recent NPR story about the campaign to lower the age to earn a commercial driver’s license.

See> To Get Big-Rig Drivers, Senate Bill Would Give Keys to Teens

Notice I used the words “earn”.

My answer? No.

My reason > Because, I think CDL licensing should be a graduated process for the adults who are being recruited now. The stages of learning and responsibility should come in phases. I also do not believe that the commercial driver’s license learner’s permit should allow new drivers to also get their hazardous materials endorsement processing before they have even passed the skills test to drive the truck in the first place. It’s unfathomable to me that few people realize this.

Training carriers bring in hundreds of new CDL Trainee’s each week and most of them get poor and unsafe training. For women this sometimes means sex assault. There is no accountability of the mega training carrier’s turnover, there are no exit interviews of the trainees, and there are no caps on how many students can be recruited each year.

The industry that has a despicable 100% turnover rate and congratulates itself when it dips (according to them) to the high 80’s is never asked why it should continue to be fed students of any age when they are not able to be retained. Would you send your child to an academic school that has a failure rate of 80 to 100 percent without wanting to know what the problem is and how it is being corrected?

Why would anyone want to send a student of any age through a training system like this?

In the trucking industry, the solution is to launch a campaign to have access to indoctrinate teenagers. (more…)

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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.

Trucks.jpg

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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