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Pilot Flying J – UrgentCare clinics taking sting out of truck drivers getting to the doctor



Sometimes it’s so difficult for truck drivers to get seen by a doctor they get in the habit of ignoring their health problems altogether, half hoping their hectic lifestyle doesn’t catch up with them.

But it is catching up with them, according to one clinic’s findings from professional truck drivers’ DOT physicals.

Mitch Strobin of UrgentCare Travel clinics said of the more than 15,000 truck drivers who have had physicals at their facilities, about half have pre-existing hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol, making it necessary for their medical cards to be issued for only a year or less rather than two years. Those results “tell us these are the conditions afflicting most drivers … unmanaged they become worse and worse.”

Started in 2014, there currently are seven UrgentCare clinics at Pilot Flying J truck stops and by this time next year there will be 25, said Strobin, vice president of service management. Eight are being added the first half of this year.

The current seven are Baytown, Texas (I-10, Exit 789); Cartersville, Georgia (I-75, Exit 296); Dallas (I-20, Exit 472); Fontana, California (I-10, Exit 64, at South Sierra Plaza); Knoxville, Tennessee (I-40, Exit 398); Oklahoma City (I-40, Exit 140); and Ruther Glen, Virginia (I-95, Exit 104).

Each clinic is 900 square feet with three exam rooms, “a full-blown clinic,” Strobin said.

Their development was a combination of UrgentCare Travel and Pilot Flying J seeing the need for drivers to have access to convenient and affordable health care with plenty of truck parking, he said.

“We’ve tried to do a clinic before but UrgentCare was the only provider to step up and grow the clinics. Obviously there’s a big need,” said Scott Klepper, senior manager of facility revenue for Pilot Flying J. “Our primary customers are the professional drivers. UrgentCare is a way to provide for them and our employees and the community at large, [those] who don’t have access to health care otherwise.”

The big picture is that at a time when hiring and retaining good drivers is crucial, untreated medical conditions can mean the end of a driver’s career.

“I just want to say I’m healthy because of your help,” wrote one truck driver who signed up for the health-care services. “I won’t beat around the bush — you all are saving my life.”

Drivers who join the UrgentCare health network pay a flat monthly rate with no copay and no deductible. And, walk-ins are perfectly acceptable as it’s understood that it’s between difficult and impossible for drivers to know when they’ll have time to get in.

Strobin said estimates are that getting drivers regular checkups and health care will save the trucking industry one billion dollars a year.

And it’s not just the drivers, their families are impacted by their health, he said, as are their carriers.

The program encourages frequent visits to the clinic so drivers can get pre-existing conditions treated and be prepared for their next DOT physical.

A reasonable flat monthly fee is working better than saddling drivers with deductibles or copays, Strobin said.

“Many don’t have health insurance and every visit is out of pocket.” Or, they have insurance but can’t afford the deductible.

Each clinic has a DOT-certified nurse practitioner and a medical assistant who provide not just physicals but all primary care services such as routine illnesses like colds and flu plus cuts, abrasions, muscle strains and other things that can result in the course of a driver’s workday.

The clinics are the first line of defense for work-related injuries, many of which can be handled as a matter of administering first-aid, not necessarily as a workman’s comp claim.

“Everything defaulting to workman’s comp doesn’t need to be the case,” Strobin said.

Drivers can walk in and request a physical, with most taking about 30 minutes.

But it’s not just a process where the driver is in and out, Strobin said. Medical staff “take pride in talking to the driver.” Since about half have pre-existing conditions the physician can discuss the next steps in managing the driver’s condition and how to take care of themselves over the long term.

Drivers are appreciative of being listened to, he said. “They know they can talk with the same provider every time. They can come in and talk face to face, get advice, get a [health] plan. It’s respect.”

For families that live near the clinic, they also can get their health needs taken care of.

“It’s very much taking care of our guests,” Klepper said, with Strobin adding, “that’s the beauty of the partnership. It benefits the entire industry.”

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The Nation

CDL Meals forms partnership with American Association of Owner-Operators



CDL Meals offers a variety of organic chef-prepared meals that help drivers make healthy eating choices while on the road. (Courtesy: CDL MEALS)

ANAHEIM, Calif. — CDL Meals, the division of Fresh n’ Lean focusing on healthful meal options for professional truck and bus drivers, has formed a partnership with the American Association of Owner Operators (AAOO).

CDL Meals offers a variety of organic chef-prepared meals that help drivers make healthy eating choices while on the road.

“We could not be more excited to launch our first healthy-eating alliance with AAOO,” said Bob Perry, director of CDL Meals. “We believe that people working in all industries deserve to live a healthy lifestyle and have access to the tools they need to ensure overall wellbeing, despite industry standards and limitations. CDL Meals has already made a positive impact on drivers and through this partnership, more operators can benefit from the quality meal plans.”

The American Association of Owner Operators is a nationwide organization dedicated to providing professional truckers and small fleet owners with the latest technology, benefits and assistance to advance in today’s trucking industry.

Perry said through the partnership, members of the AAOO will have access to CDL’s seasonal menus, free nationwide delivery and the promise of fresh, affordable meals on the road.

“We are so thankful the team at Fresh n’ Lean saw an opening to help improve the wellbeing of those in the trucking industry,” said David Huff, CEO of AAOO. “We are committed to helping drivers stay safe while out on the road so they can get back home to their family and friends. “Good nutrition is the most important part of staying healthy and staying healthy is a huge factor in staying safe. That’s why we are so excited to partner with CDL Meals and provide great tasting meals at an affordable price to our members.”

Perry said CDL Meals is a service formulated especially for commercially licensed drivers to deliver chef-prepared food items anywhere within the U.S. using organic ingredients to create balanced, wholesome meals. Each menu option consists of a combination of protein, healthy carbohydrates, and vegetables. All meals are delivered fresh and can be refrigerated for up to seven days. The vacuum-sealed trays can be heated quickly and enjoyed at any time.

Along with the meals, each purchase comes with a 14-page driver wellness education booklet that includes dietary tips, an exercise plan, and suggestions to improve overall health through simple lifestyle changes.

For more information on CDL Meals, visit

For more information on AAOO, visit






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The Nation

NHTSA: Overall traffic fatalities in 2018 decline 2.4%, 2019 drop likely



NHTSA said the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled decreased by 3.4 percent (from 1.17 in 2017 to 1.13 in 2018), the lowest fatality rate since 2014. (Associated Press)

WASHINGTON — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Tuesday released highway crash fatality data for 2018, showing a 2.4% decline in overall fatalities, the second consecutive year of reduced crash fatalities.

“This is encouraging news, but still far too many perished or were injured, and nearly all crashes are preventable, so much more work remains to be done to make America’s roads safer for everyone,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said.

The data, compiled by NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), shows that highway fatalities decreased in 2018 with 913 fewer fatalities, down to 36,560 people from 37,473 people in 2017. The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled also decreased by 3.4 percent (from 1.17 in 2017 to 1.13 in 2018), the lowest fatality rate since 2014.

The 2018 FARS release also clarifies previously released data on large trucks involved in fatal crashes. NHTSA reexamined supporting material and reclassified several light pickup trucks to an appropriate large truck category (10,000 lbs. gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWR). As a result, the 9% increase in large-truck-related fatalities reported for 2017 has been revised to 4.9%. For 2018, large-truck related fatalities increased by 0.9 percent. The details of the scope of the changes are documented in the 2018 fatal motor vehicle crashes overview research note.

No data was available on Class 8 tractor-trailer combinations.

Other findings from the 2018 FARS data include:

  • Fatalities among children (14 and younger) declined 10.3%
  • Alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities declined 3.6%
  • Speeding-related fatalities declined 5.7%
  • Motorcyclist fatalities declined 4.7 percent.

“New vehicles are safer than older ones and when crashes occur, more new vehicles are equipped with advanced technologies that prevent or reduce the severity of crashes,” said NHTSA Acting Administrator James Owens said. “NHTSA has spent recent years partnering with state and local governments and safety advocates to urge the public to never drive impaired or distracted, to avoid excessive speed, and to always buckle up.”

Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governor Highway Safety Association (GHSA) said the organization was pleased to see the 2018 decline and the estimated 3.4% dip thus far in 2019.

“A decline in 2019 would mark three straight years of fewer fatalities despite a strong economy, which typically correlates with increased traffic deaths,” he said. “However, the only acceptable level of deaths is zero, and we will not rest until that is achieved.”

Adkins said GHSA was glad to note progress in reducing alcohol-related, speeding-related and motorcyclist fatalities in 2018.

“The tremendous investments made today in highway safety have been beneficial, but clearly not commensurate with the need,” Adkins said. “GHSA is committed to working with our partners in the federal government, advocacy community and at the state and local level to accelerate the momentum toward zero deaths on our nation’s roadways.”

NHTSA said the projected 2019 decline translates to an estimated first-half 2019 fatality rate of 1.06, the lowest first-half level since 2015. The estimates for the second quarter of 2019 represent the seventh-consecutive year-over-year quarterly decline in fatalities, starting in the last quarter of 2017.

NHTSA is identifying opportunities to leverage its resources and collaborate with modal partners within USDOT to reduce fatalities among pedestrians and pedalcyclists (bicyclists and riders of two-wheel, nonmotorized vehicles, tricycles, and unicycles powered solely by pedals), among whom 2018 fatalities unfortunately increased by 3.4% (to 6,283) and 6.3% (to 857), respectively.

With the release of the 2018 and 2019 data, NHTSA also introduced its new Fatality and Injury Reporting System Tool (FIRST), a modernized crash query tool that lets users not only query fatal crash data but also generate estimates of crashes and people injured in crashes. The upgraded functionalities in the new tool include generating multi-year trends, estimates of alcohol involvement, and charting/tabulation/mapping of query results. The tool, along with instructions on its usage, can be accessed here.

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The Nation

Truckers Christmas Group set to launch annual holiday fundraising campaign



Since its inception, TGCO has raised more than $90,000 and helped 154 trucking families ease the financial burdens associated with the holiday season. (Courtesy: TRUCKERS CHRISTMAS GROUP)

PARK CITY, Kan. — The Truckers Christmas Group (TGCO), an organization that raises funds to help professional truck drivers and their families in the United States and Canada, has begun its 12th annual holiday fundraising campaign.

TCGO will begin advertising for this year’s campaign on November 18.  Nominations will open on the TGCO website beginning November 21 and will close on December 11.

Families will be notified by TGCO’s very own Santa Claus on December 16-17.

Created in 2008, TGCO supports CDL drivers and their families during the holiday season by raising funds requested through aid applications and nominations.

In 2018, the organization saw record numbers of applications and delivered $8,000 to 16 families during the Christmas season.

Since its inception, TGCO has raised more than $90,000 and helped 154 trucking families ease the financial burdens associated with the holiday season.

Several trucking companies went bankrupt in the first half of 2019 alone, leaving more than 3,000 drivers without jobs. TGCO is anticipating another record year of applications and seeks donations to help provide aid for families in need — not just from unemployment — but from illness and other catastrophic events that can make the holiday season more stressful year-after-year.

“We haven’t even opened the application process yet and already we’ve received recommendations for multiple families that would significantly benefit from TGCO’s efforts,” said Mark Abraham, president of TGCO. “This year has been incredibly difficult for the drivers in our community and the donation of goods and funds will help us make sure each and every driver in our trucking family can support their families during the holiday season.”

Along with monetary donations made on the TGCO website, donors can also purchase items donated to the TGCO online Christmas store opening November 21. Items sold in The TGCO Christmas Store are generously provided by businesses and individuals, and new items will be listed regularly, so donors are encouraged to visit TGCO’s website often, Abraham said.

Donors can also give their time by helping TGCO vet candidates, solicit nominations and raise awareness of the organization’s mission this season and in years to come. New volunteer recruitment begins November 1 on TGCO’s Facebook page in coordination with media partners.

To make a donation or to nominate a driver and his or her family, visit All nominations are anonymous and open to professional CDL drivers living in the United States and Canada.

Businesses and individuals who want to contribute to The Christmas Store should contact Mark Abraham at for additional information.

Donors can also visit TGCO on Facebook and Twitter

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