“Mike’s Law” Seeks to Honor Slain Trucker

On June 26 of this year, trucker Mike Boeglin’s body was discovered inside his burning rig outside of a Steel Plant in Detroit. An autopsy would later reveal that Boeglin died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds. Now, a proposed federal law, named in Boeglin’s honor, is in the works that would allow truck drivers to have the choice of carrying guns across state lines.

Slain Truck driver Mike Boeglin

Slain driver Mike Boeglin.

There have been no breaks in Boeglin’s case. At the time of his murder, the 30 year old truck driver was expecting the birth of his first child with his wife, Ashley.

The Small Business in Transportation Coalition is circulating a petition that asks for a federal law allowing for truckers to carry firearms for personal and load protection. The SBTC is a network of transportation professionals, associations, and trucking industry suppliers seeking to promote and protect the small business players in the transportation industry. The SBTC is known for pushing for “Jason’s Law” in 2009, which sought to benefit commercial truckers following the robbery and murder of Jason Rivenburg after pulling into an abandoned roadside gas station for rest in South Carolina when no rest stations were nearby.

Jason’s Law was passed in late 2012 as part of the federal Transportation Reauthorization Bill after garnering bipartisan support. The law provided more than $6 million in federal funding toward the construction and restoration of safe roadside parking where truck drivers can rest safely.

Mike’s Law would address a current landscape where conceal-and-carry laws vary from state to state. Right now, according to the SBTC, truckers may have a conceal and carry permit one state, but that permit doesn’t apply to every other state.

While Darlene Boeglin, Mike’s Mother, supports the idea behind Mike’s Law, she knows it would not be a cure-all.

“It’s only going to help the people in the right situation at the right time,” says Ms. Boeglin. “I think probably it would be a good thing but, in Mike’s situation, even if he would have carried a gun, I’m not going to say it would have saved his life. It depends on the situation.”

His mother noted that it is still unknown exactly what happened to her son, nor was there a definitive timeline of events. She said that a robber could have jumped on her son’s running board and pulled a gun on him just as he was stopping.

“It’s too late at that point to reach around to wherever you may be having your gun stashed away,” she said.

The night before Mike was killed, Ashley phoned him at 11:32 p.m. For 28 minutes, they discussed a variety of topics, including the baby, work they planned to do to Mike’s semi trailer when he made it home, as well as ongoing renovations to their house. Mike said goodbye to his wife as he neared a weigh station on the Michigan state line.

Mike was hauling aluminum coils which were to be delivered to a ThyssenKrupp steel plant on the east side of Detroit. Ahead of his delivery time, Mike pulled into an abandoned sports complex near the plant so he could sleep for the five and a half hours that remained until he could make his delivery time.

Hours later, Mike’s body was discovered by firefighters inside his badly burned silver Freightliner.

While there are still no leads or arrests in Mike’s murder case, his wife Ashley says that it is humbling that Mike’s death could change federal laws.

She too says she is unsure if having a gun would have saved Mike’s life, but she insists that Mike would be in favor of the proposed law.

“He stressed the point about competently being able to handle a firearm before being able to use it,” said Ashley. “Knowing that their safety is key and important to us and that this bill would allow it to go through and be passed into law would be able to give them the ability to protect themselves as well.”

The petition for the bill has been filed with federal legislators.

In the mean time, Darlene says her daughter-in-law is surrounded by family who are all clamoring to hold the new addition to her family, Mike and Ashley’s daughter, Mackenzie Albury Boeglin. Mackenzie was born on December 1st.

Detroit Police are urging anyone with information about Boeglin’s death to contact the department’s Homicide Division at 313-596-2260 or call the agency’s toll-free number at 1-800-SPEAK UP.

Additionally, a fund was set up to support Boeglin’s wife and daughter in June following his death. If you would like to contribute to the fund, you can visit any German American Bank. For branch locations, call 812-482-1314.

Heroic Truckers Act as Christmas Angels

Recently, two truckers stepped up in big ways, helping to save others, truly becoming the trucking’s own versions of Christmas angels.

Bill Hunt from Oil City, Penn., was named a Highway Angel by the TCA (Truckload Carriers Association) for helping another professional driver who was pinned in his overturned truck. Hunt, who drives for Crossett, Inc., of Warren, Penn., was heading down Route 59 just outside of Warren when he saw a tanker truck that had gone off the roadway, struck a large rock and guard rail and was flipped onto its side into a ditch. The rail had ripped holes in the tanker trailer causing searing asphalt to leak out.

Christmas Highway Angels

TCA Highway Angel William Hunt of Crossett, Inc.

Bystanders, fearing an explosion, warned Hunt to get away from the truck. Seeing the placards on the trailer, Hunt felt an explosion was unlikely, so he immediately went to check on the driver who was pleading for help. “I tried and tried, but just couldn’t get him out,” said Hunt. “I kept assuring him that help was coming. There were maybe 8,000 gallons of asphalt leaking – it was incredibly hot all around us. I didn’t know what else to do, so I grabbed a shovel from my truck and dug small trenches in the dirt to keep the asphalt from getting on him and burning him.” Hunt stayed with the man until first responders came. It took them almost three hours to cut the driver free.

Hunt says he credits his work as a trucker for allowing him to stay calm under pressure and offer aide to his fellow driver.

“My company has taught us don’t get excited – fall back on your training and do what needs to be done,” he said.

David Ragland, a professional truck driver with Kelle’s Transport Service of West Valley City, Utah, also was named a Highway Angel by the TCA (Truckload Carriers Association) for his role in helping to save two young children who were victims of a terrible accident. Ragland, a resident of Cotopaxi, Colorado, was traveling down I-40 near Jackson, Tenn., when he saw a car swerve off the road and veer into a tree line. He stopped immediately and found that the car was folded in half and upside down with smoke pouring out of the engine. Cries and screams were coming from inside the wreckage.

Flames began to appear and Ragland could see that it looked like the two adults in the front seat did not survive. He quickly went back to his truck to get his fire extinguisher and began to spray the flames which would subside and intensify repeatedly. Another bystander was trying to get to the interior of the car with a knife and moving debris. Just as Ragland’s fire extinguisher ran out, a state trooper came onto the scene and Ragland used the trooper’s extinguisher to continue trying to smother the flames.

Ragland and the other bystander were finally able to pull a baby out (still strapped in his car seat). Then fire and rescue personnel arrived on the scene and took over.  Later Ragland found out that a second child was able to be saved, but both parents and an eight-year-old girl did not survive.

Christmas Highway Angel

TCA Highway Angel David Ragland of Kelle’s Transport Service.

In addition to his Highway Angel award, Ragland won a Good Samaritan contest for his actions and was awarded $100. He donated that money, along with some from his own pocket, to the surviving children. Inspired by Ragland, Kelle’s Transport office staff and management also decided to donate funds to the children until the amount grew to $5,000. Ragland later said that helping the children escape and suppressing the fire was “probably the most important thing I’ve ever done that affected another person.”

Both Highway Angels were presented with a certificate, patch, lapel pin and truck decal. Both trucking companies also received certificates acknowledging that one of their drivers is a Highway Angel. Since 1997, the TCA has recognized hundreds of professional truck drivers for the unusual kindness, courtesy and courage they have shown others while on the job.

“People talk about heroes, but we have a responsibility to stop. It’s not a choice,” said Ragland describing his actions.

We are thankful for these and all Highway Angels, helping to keep the roads safe this Holiday Season, and all year long.

 

Interstate Distributor Answers WAA Call

Last weekend, on National Wreaths Across America Day, volunteers worked to lay remembrance wreaths upon the graves of veterans across the nation. Of course, the event would not have been made possible without not only those who laid the wreaths on the graves, but also the many truckers who donated their time and the motor carriers who donated their trucks and fuel to deliver the wreaths to the cemeteries. Interstate Distributor played many important roles when it came to this year’s Wreaths Across America events.

Child laying wreath on a grave in Punchbowl National Cemetarty

A child lays a wreath on a grave in Punch-bowl National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.

This was the first year that Interstate Distributor was involved with the program, but Interstate President and CEO Marc Rogers said it won’t be the last. “It really is a special program, and with our emphasis on hiring veterans for trucking jobs, plus our proximity to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, we felt the need to volunteer our equipment and drivers for this special project,” said Rogers. “We will never forget our military’s sacrifices. We would like to thank all our Interstate veterans and their families for their service and patriotism in honoring our fallen heroes.”

Interstate Distributor enlisted the help of special drivers to drive trucks designed specifically for Wreaths Across America. Interstate Distributor recently saw two husband-and-wife driver teams depart from their yard in Tacoma, Washington, manning two brand new Kenworth T680s. Each team served in our country’s military and were chosen as veterans to participate in the Wreaths Across America program.

One of the driver teams, Rick and Donna Fogt have been driving with Interstate since 2003. The two drove a matte black tractor to Columbia Falls, Maine. After their arrival, they joined a caravan of 60 big rigs bound for Arlington National Cemetery, where wreaths were laid Saturday.

“I’m so honored for us to represent Interstate,” said Donna, who served six years in the Army. “This opportunity is a dream come true.”

Child laying wreath on a grave in Punchbowl National Cemetarty

Volunteers lay wreaths at the Wisconsin Veterans Home Cemetery in King, Wisconsin on December 13, 2015.

Allen and Patricia Erwin, the team that drove the other truck in a signature green tractor, traveled to Kansas City, Mo. to pick up donated wreaths and deliver them to the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery. Allen and Patricia have been with Interstate Distributor since April 2012. Prior to joining the team, Allen served six years in the Army National Guard. His father and step-father also served. Patricia is a self-proclaimed military “brat”, who has spent years serving by awaiting the safe return of loved ones form maneuvers and deployments. Patricia’s father and step-father served in the military as well.

“It is an honor to represent Interstate during the Wreaths Across America event,” says Patricia. “We consider it a privilege for us to be able to donate our time to be of service to those who have served us so well. It is both an honor and a privilege to be able to represent those military dependents who are unable to place wreaths at the resting place of their loved ones themselves.”

Sponsored by the TCA, close to 240,000 wreaths were laid at Arlington National Cemetery alone this year, which covered every grave marker at the cemetery. Last year, more than 540,000 remembrance wreaths were placed in all 50 states. Eighty trucking companies volunteered their services to answer the call and make the Wreaths Across America mission possible.

* To learn more about Wreaths Across America, visit the link at the top of the page.

Trucking Industry Succeeds in Getting Congress to Roll Back HOS Restart Rules

Truck driving in the fall weatherMany in the trucking industry got some good news over the weekend when the House and Senate approved a $1.1 trillion spending measure, which will fund the government through September and eliminate a partial government shutdown. The reason those in the trucking industry were so happy about the spending measure was due to the rider bill attached to CRomnibus bill in the form of the Collins Amendment. Put forth by Sen. Susan Collins, (R-Maine) the amendment will make changes to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) 34-hour restart rule.

Currently, a truck driver’s 34-hour restart rule must include two rest periods between 1 am and 5 am and arbitrarily limits the use of the restart to once per week. These provisions will now be suspended until the FMCSA can do a thorough study on the consequences of the provisions. The trucking industry had been urging Congress not to be misled by false information and scare tactics about the hours of service rules and their effect on safety.

An amendment to the HOS provisions had been approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on June 5, but stalled before a floor vote was taken. The House never considered the amendment. Then earlier this year, a high profile crash involving well-known comedian Tracy Rock and a Walmart truck put the FMCSA hours-of-service (HOS) rules into the national spotlight.  Morgan was critically injured and another comedian, James McNair, was killed in the accident. It was reported that the driver involved in the crash had not slept for 24 hours prior to the crash. As a result, many lawmakers concerned about driver fatigue condemned the amendment. It resurfaced with its inclusion in the CRomnibus bill.

Trucking companies and other stakeholders believe that these restart restrictions only serve to push more trucks onto the roads in the early morning hours, which are the riskiest for crashes. “In July, 2013, with insufficient research, analysis and understanding of the consequences, the Obama administration placed two restrictions on America’s truck drivers that increased the risk of crashes on America’s highways,” said American Trucking Associations (ATA) President and CEO Bill Graves. “Senator Susan Collins, and a bipartisan majority of Senate appropriators, recognized the flaws in the changes put forth by the FMCSA and voted to approve a common sense ‘time out’ to allow for proper research to be conducted.

“This isn’t a rider [bill] being added in the middle of the night at the 11th hours as some would have the public believe. This reasonable solution allows the government to do the research it should have done ahead of time and gives the industry the flexibility thousands of fleets and millions of drivers are pleading for,” Graves continued.

The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) urged its members to contact their representatives in Congress to ask for their support of the Collins Amendment. In a sample letter on its website, the TCA stressed that the amendment would “NOT make changes to: the minimum off-duty hours between shifts; the maximum on-duty period each shift; the maximum driving hours per day; the mandatory meal/rest break during a shift; the sleeper berth requirements for splitting off-duty time; or the electronic on-board recorders rule.” The letter goes on to say that if the Collins Amendment is not included, highway safety and freight productivity will be negatively impacted.  A timeout provision to further assess the rules is only common sense, says the association.

Also drumming up support for the Collins Amendment was the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) which echoed the belief that the provisions have unintended consequences. In a statement OOIDA statedthat “the provision is a common-sense approach to the concerns of thousands of safe and professional drivers who say the current restart rule has forced them on the highways during the most congested and dangerous hours of morning traffic.”

On the other hand, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the Collins Amendment should be rejected. “The evidence clearly shows that truck drivers are better rested and more alert after two nights of sleep than one night, and that unending 80-hour work weeks lead to driver fatigue and compromise highway safety,” said Foxx in a letter to senior members of the Senate and House appropriations committees.

Joan Claybrook, president emeritus of Public Citizen, a Washington-based watchdog group, says the rules are needed because of previous abuse of regulations that forced truckers to drive as much as 82 hours a week. “No one can drive 82 hours in a seven or eight-day period and not be tired,” said Claybrook. “Truckers don’t get enough rest. These provisions ensure they get a little more.”

ATA’s Bill Graves expressed concerns that special groups had deliberately misled Congress by distorting the safety record of the industry and pointing to tragic crashes that had nothing to do with the restart provision. “At the end of the day, self-appointed trucking industry critics have used deceptive tactics and outright lies to paint what, by any measure, is a reasonable resolution to a potentially serious safety problem,” he said. “These falsehoods and half-truths shouldn’t prevent Congress calling for a time out on these poorly researched and ill-conceived restrictions.”

He also called out the fact that the FMCSA itself has testified before the House THUD subcommittee that the agency’s field study did not address the “safety and congestion impacts of large trucks being forced onto highways during daytime rush hours, when children are on their way to school.”

The OOIDA also said that claims made by those opposed to the Collins Amendment saying that without HOS rules, truckers will otherwise work 80 hours or more per week are nothing more than misleading scare tactics. A membership survey conducted last year by the OOIDA revealed that 46 percent of respondents felt they were more fatigued since the new rules took effect in July of 2013, and 65 percent said they were earning less money.

Less time at home and more stress were also consequences of the restart rules, said many of the respondents. The OOIDA went on to say that suspending the rules until further research could be done was the approach the FMCSA should have taken the first time. It praised the work of Senator Collins as the best way to examine the issues.

 

FMCSA Considers Minimum Levels of Liability Insurance for Carriers

Two trucks on an interstateThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is asking trucking companies and owner-operators for their input on just how much financial responsibility – or liability insurance – they should be required to carry to cover the costs of truck-involved crashes. Before making any changes, though, the FMCSA is asking for the public’s thoughts on liability insurance for carriers.

In April of this year, the agency issued a report that deemed the current minimum requirement of $750,000 too low and inadequate to cover damages by today’s standards. However, groups like the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Associations (OOIDA) were quick to oppose this stance, saying that increasing the minimum figure would put an unnecessary burden on motor carriers since just one percent of trucking-related crashes’ costs exceed the $750,000 minimum.

The first directive concerning financial responsibility for the motor carrier industry was the Motor Carrier Act of 1935, which required carriers to furnish a bond or other security to the Interstate Commerce Commission for not less than $5,000.Not until the Motor Carrier Act (MCA) of 1980 were any changes made to that level. That 1980 legislation essentially deregulated the trucking industry, but set minimum levels of financial responsibility for property-carrying motor carriers.

The MCA of 1980 set the minimum level at the current $750,000 for the transportation of property, $5 million for the transportation of certain hazardous materials and $1 million for the transportation of hazardous materials consisting of “any material, oil, substance or waste” that is not subject to the $5 million limit.

The government says their intention of setting minimum levels of financial responsibility is with good reason. They hope increasing liability insurance would help to “protect the ability of the public to recover damages in the event of crashes and, second, to ease concerns that competition in the largely deregulated industry could result in cost-cutting at the expense of the minimum safety standards.”

In the MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century) Act, which came into effect in July 2012, the Secretary of Transportation was directed to issue a report on the appropriateness of the current minimum level financial responsibility requirements for transporters of personal property along with current bond and insurance requirements for freight forwarders and brokers. Thus, the April 2014 report was issued, which found the minimum levels to be inadequate to cover the costs of some crashes.

Included in the FMCSA report were the results of a study done by the Department of Transportation’s John A. Volpe Transportation Systems Center. Some of its findings were:

  • Catastrophic motor carrier-related crashes are relatively rare. Catastrophic crashes were defined as those resulting in claims for injury, death and/or property damages that exceed the current minimum levels of financial responsibility. That category comprised less than one percent of all commercial motor vehicle crashes (3,300 of 330,000 total crashes per year).
  • Damages and costs for severe and critical injury crashes can easily exceed $1 million.
  • Insurance premiums have declined in real terms since the 1980s. Insurance rates for the same level of coverage and inflation-adjusted premium rates have declined slightly.
  • Current insurance limits do not adequately cover catastrophic crashes, mainly because of increased medical costs.
  • Comprehensive data on premiums that motor carriers would incur to meet higher coverage limits were not readily available. Insurance costs are specific to individual motor carriers, and there are no uniform pricing practices. Also, motor carrier risk managers were reluctant to reveal their insurance costs.

In its report, the FMCSA concluded that if the current minimum level had kept up with inflation, the requirement would be nearly $2 million by today’s numbers. If the rates had kept up with medical costs inflation, the rates would be closer to $4 million.

Before the FMCSA passes any new legislation, they have put forth 26 questions as part of its Advance Notice of Proposed Rule-making, to furnish a basis for any revisions to the insurance requirements and to assess the impacts of such. The FMCSA has listed a variety of questions concerning the new policies that the public can answer. The FMCSA says individual respondents may answer all of the questions or only those that cover issues he or she feels are of interest to him or her or are within an area of his or her expertise.

Chevron Welcomes Safe Truck Drivers into Million Mile Club

Chevron LogoChevron Products Company announced the eight honored truck drivers who are the inductees for the Chevron Delo Million Mile Club for November 2014 by Red Eye Radio. The Chevron Delo program originated in 1992 and is now considered one of the most prominent honors a truck driver can be awarded. The program recognizes truck drivers and lists the trucking companies they drive for in the United States and Canada who have driven one million miles without any accidents. Talk about an accomplishment! These honorable drivers receive many rewards such as a personalized Chevron Delo jacket, a Million Mile Club membership and a gift card from the other sponsoring companies. Trucker Classifieds sends a congratulations to the honorary truck drivers that include the following:

  • Dewey Criswell, Mercer Transportation, Louisville, KY
  • Bruce Pemberton, MDS Trucking V, Inc., Addison, IL
  • Ronald Ball, Ronald Ball Excavating, Amesville, OH
  • Curtiss Ward, Owner Operator, Mt. Orab, OH
  • Michael Lamb, MD Lamb Company, Fayetteville, TN
  • Paul Rissler, Rissler Transportation, California, MO
  • Michael Moon, Owner Operator, Noblesville, IN
  • Robert Ball, Kemper Brothers Inc., Ghent, KY

“Chevron is committed to the health and safety of its employees and contractors worldwide – safety is a key part of our company’s DNA. With such a strong focus on safety, we eagerly support other safety efforts in the communities and industries where we operate. Sponsoring the Million Mile Club is an example of our ongoing commitment to safety and our desire to recognize and promote accomplishments in this area,” commented Jim Gambill, North America Commercial and Industrial Brands Manager, Chevron Products Company.

The Chevron Delo brand includes engine oils, premium lubricants and coolants that provide top notch results for vehicles that run on diesel fuel. These Delo products are some of the best due to the Delo Warranty Plus program that provides bumper-to-bumper protection. Chevron Product Company serves as a branch of the Chevron Corporation. Havoline, Delo and Havoline Xpress Lube are sold under the Chevron, Texaco and Caltex brand names.

More information for the Delo brand can be found by visiting the link above.

Prime Inc. Releases Driver Health and Fitness Information

Prime Inc., a leading refrigerated, flatbed and tanker trucking company, recently released the preliminary results of their Driver Body Composition Study. The study was an effort by the company to promote healthy lifestyles and wellness among truck drivers nationwide.

Prime Inc. Trucking Company LogoAccording to a NIOSH study from this year, truck drivers are more prone to high-risk factors – like hypertension, high cholesterol and obesity – for a variety of chronic diseases. Prime, Inc. hopes its Driver Body Composition Study will raise awareness among the trucking industry, which commonly recognized to overlook physical health and well-being.

Prime Trucking measured the body composition of over 100 drivers who enrolled in their Driver Health and Fitness 13-Week Program. From April to November 2014, the company used a method called bio-electric impedance to measure each driver’s weight, body fat percentage, water weight, muscle mass, visceral fat, basal metabolic rate, bone density, metabolic age, and physique rating.

The average weight of all the truck drivers who participated in the program, men and women, was 268 lbs. Additionally, the average body fat for all DHF participants was 40%. The visceral fat rating – or the measure of the fat surrounding the internal organs and belly area – was an average of 18. Overall, Prime Inc. was happy with the results, though they plan to work to improve the health of drivers.

“What the preliminary study shows us is that the drivers in Prime’s fleet tend to be healthier than most truck drivers,” said Siphiwe Baleka, Prime’s Driver Health and Fitness Coach. “Nationally, 86% of truck drivers are overweight and 69% are obese. We track the BMI of the entire Prime fleet and currently only 56% of our drivers are obese. We’ve set up programs to reduce the average BMI of the fleet to less than 30%, the percentage cut off for obesity.”

Tennis shoes of someone walking

Prime Inc. hopes the results of their study promote healthier lifestyles among truckers nationwide.

While the complete results of the overall effect of the DHF 13-Week program have yet to be determined, the average weight loss of drivers that participated in the program was 20 lbs. More than 80 drivers have lost 7% of their body weights or more in just 13 weeks without skipping meals. As a result, the drivers have lowered their risk for up to 60 medical disorders and 12 types of cancers.

“No other trucking company that I know of is tracking the health of its fleet in this way. Why take care of the truck and trailer if you are not going to take care of the truck driver, too?” Baleka stated. “Prime drivers are not only losing weight, they’re transforming their bodies. We believe this makes a healthier driver and a safer driver.”

If you would like more information about truck driving jobs with Prime Inc., visit the link above.

Wreaths Across America Seeking 20 More Truckers

The Holiday season is all about giving back, and it’s not too late to do just that by helping out Wreaths Across America.  Wreaths Across America still needs the help of trucking companies to secure the total number of trucks needed to haul remembrance wreaths to veterans cemeteries across the nation this holiday season. According to TCA, Wreaths Across America is still in need of at least 20 drivers to cover their remaining loads.

In 2013, over 500,000 wreaths were delivered to nearly 900 veterans cemeteries across the US. This year Wreaths Across America has a special goal to place wreaths on every gravestone at Arlington National Cemetery in honor of its 150 Anniversary.

View of Arlington National Cemetery decorated with wreaths on graves

This view of Arlington National Cemetery from 2013, from the Wreaths Across America.

This mission wouldn’t be possible without the help of the trucking industry — specifically, truck drivers. Luckily, truckers have a variety of ways they can contribute to Wreaths Across America’s mission. Truckers can sign up for a route online to deliver wreaths to one of the cemeteries. Additionally, even if you are unable to commit to haul wreaths, companies and owner-operators can donate funds to help Wreaths Across America cover the costs of their mission.

The Truckload Carriers Association has set up a Wreaths Across America-specific website for truckers to visit in order to learn about how to get involved, and even sign up for a route.

Help to ensure that no veteran grave is bare this Holiday season. Help support Wreaths Across America today!

Truckers Give and Receive This Holiday Season

3 trucks from the Pleasant Trucking Inc. Make-A-Wish convoy

Pleasant Trucking’s Make-A-Wish convoy is available to the Make-A-Wish children.

As America enters into the holiday season full swing, it is important not to forget those in need during the most wonderful time of the year. The hardworking truck drivers at Pleasant Trucking are making a difference in the lives of children and adults who don’t have many resources. Pleasant Trucking Inc. located in Connellsville, Pennsylvania combines its efforts with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to fulfill the dreams of young children who have long term or life threatening illnesses. These children send in their wishes and Make-A-Wish grants their wishes and puts a smile on their face as the children experience their dream. The employees at Pleasant Trucking have been changing the lives of these kids for the past three years. The trucking company uses their trucking resources to provide a Make-A-Wish Convoy for the Make-A-Wish kids who want to participate. Make-A-Wish has touched the lives of more than 250,000 children since its origin over 30 years ago. Pleasant Trucking became involved with the convoy event when one of its employees informed the company about the event held every fall since 1999. The convoy event is for truckers who know or have children with long term diseases.

“This is something that I am so happy that we became involved with,” Pleasant Trucking co-owner Nancy Morrow said. “It’s a wonderful thing to be able to do, to give back to the children.”

Pleasant Trucking gives its best by devoting its time and energy toward the convoy Make-A-Wish event all year long. The company wide fundraisers included food and clothing sales. Perhaps the most heartwarming fundraiser was the selling of artwork that the Make-A-Wish children created. Pleasant Trucking went the extra mile and made sure the artwork is displayed on the trucks from the trucking companies that bought it. There’s no question that Pleasant Trucking Inc. will think of any creative way to spread the word about the Make-A-Wish children. Marcie Marrow, co-owner of Pleasant Trucking, says that this year’s efforts really hit close to home when the employees got to know the sick children and their families on a personal level. We can be sure to see a whole new level of compassion from Pleasant next year when their relationships are even deeper. Pleasant Trucking placed first for their fundraising efforts and Marcie has plans to start a local convoy event in the years to come. Make-A-Wish Foundation Logo

“Being a part of this experience for the past three years has been the most rewarding thing that I have ever done in my entire life, and I would like to be able to see even more people and children enjoy it and be a part of it,” Marcie said.

With all the giving truck drivers do during the holiday season, it is only fair for the truckers who do not get to spend Christmas at home with their families to receive a little bit of love. One of America’s very own trucker wives founded Meals for 18 Wheels, an organization made up of volunteers who make sure every truck driver who is on the roads for the holidays has a warm meal to celebrate. Crystal Shoonmaker is the mastermind behind the free meals, continuing what she randomly decided to do on Thanksgiving one year. She was able to deliver 31 meals in just 24 hours with her first go around. Shoonmaker was in awe of the gratitude from the truck drivers so she decided to deliver more meals during Christmas.

Meals for 18 Wheels logo

She delivered more than 289 meals the first Christmas and now her organization has skyrocketed with over 500 volunteers who are eager to be a part of giving back to this nation’s dedicated drivers. An outreach like this requires a strategic level of organization so each volunteer is paired with a truck driver. The volunteer and truck driver who are partnered together plan when and where to meet, at a public place such as a truck stop, avoiding any safety risks for each individual. The Christmas meals will be delivered from Thursday, December 25 to Sunday, December 28.

Meals for 18 Wheels goes the extra mile serving the trucking industry by providing resources for truckers in need other than food. The volunteer group also helps drivers who have broken down or need help finding their way out of a financial setback.

PrePass Reaches Service Milestone

PrePass weigh station bypass Logo

A map showing PrePass coverage.

If you’re a trucker, you’re more than likely aware of the PrePass® weigh station bypass, or one of the many other truck safety and efficiency services developed by HELP, Inc. On Tuesday, HELP, Inc. announced that its signature PrePass bypass solution is now serving over 40,000 qualified fleet customers. The company reported that nearly 491,000 trucks are equipped with their technology.

Thanks to the PrePass system, the trucking companies have the ability to bypass 310 weigh stations and inspection facilities in 31 states. This allows for truckers to ensure that their time spent on the road is as efficient as possible, while still being safe. HELP, Inc. e-screens all companies for safety and credentials prior to outfitting them their product. HELP, Inc. is working continuously to expand its bypass services by strategically working with states to develop new sites across the country. The HELP, Inc. board has approved funding for several new sites so far this year.

“Without exception, our PrePass customers are saving time and cutting costs, which in today’s operating environment can make the difference between getting home or spending mandated time off in a sleeper berth or a company-paid hotel room,” said Karen Rasmussen, president and chief executive officer of HELP, Inc. “Reaching this milestone number of qualified fleets that are using PrePass is significant in that it confirms the value of the program with motor carriers as well as with the states that recognize it as a proven way to let them focus their attention on non-PrePass carriers.”

A long-term PrePass customer, Tom Kretsinger, Jr., president of American Central Transport based in Missouri, says, “We were one of the original PrePass carriers. We initially began using the service for time savings, but what we have found over the years is that it’s a great truck driver recruiting and retention tool. We also use PrePass now to continually reinforce and promote our safety culture.”

HELP, Inc. remains dedicated to implementing initiatives that benefit both the public and the private sectors. HELP, Inc.’s board of directors, which includes an equal number of public officials and commercial vehicle operators. HELP, Inc.’s investment of more than $400 million has allowed for intelligent transportation systems to become more widespread in the trucking industry and has improved safety, air quality, and highway preservation.

If you would like to join the ever-growing number of truckers who are taking advantage of HELP, Inc.’s many products, including PrePass, PrePass Plus and others, visit their website.