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Trucker’s Christmas Group partnering with trucking’s top musicians to help needy

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Since 2008, Trucker's Christmas Group.Org has been raising funds to help support CDL holders and their families through challenging times during the holiday season. The 2018 season set records for applications and funds distributed to those in need. To date, over 150 families have been helped with over $90,000 raised and distributed. (Courtesy: TRUCKER’S CHRISTMAS GROUP.ORG)

PARK CITY, Kan. —  Trucker’s Christmas Group.Org (TCGO), an organization that raises funds to help professional truck drivers and their families in the United States and Canada, will be working with many of trucking’s top and rising musical stars for its 12th annual holiday fundraising campaign.

Trucking musicians, industry leaders for trucking charities, and other advocates such as Bill Weaver, Paul Marhoeffer, Taylor Barker, Mandi Jo Pinhierio, Jason Henley, Tony Justice, Ken Freeman, Keith Sampson and more are working with TCGO to raise awareness and funds for the 2019 fundraising campaign.

“One of our biggest challenges has been getting the word out to drivers and those in the trucking community about our mission to help them and their families,” said Mark Abraham, president of TGCO. “We’re excited to bring greater awareness for TGCO with this partnership of a phenomenal group of men and women who have established traction in the community. This is crucial because 2019 looks to be one of the most challenging years for drivers and their families in years.”

Since 2008, TCGO has been raising funds to help support CDL holders and their families through challenging times during the holiday season. The 2018 season set records for applications and funds distributed to those in need. To date, over 150 families have been helped with over $90,000 raised and distributed.

“We are always hearing stories of drivers and their families who have fallen on hard times,” said Justice, a pioneer for the resurgence of trucking musicians. “This year, with the challenges facing the industry, as well as many companies and owner-operators going under, we hear more and more of these stories. I am proud to be able to do my small part to help my brothers and sisters of the highway — and their families — to have a better and more blessed Christmas.”

Freeman, a longtime driver and rising star trucking musician, said he learned about TGCO in 2018 when Weaver and Barker noticed Freeman’s talent and passion for giving back to the community. Freeman and his wife Susan quickly volunteered and agreed to help organize and coordinate efforts for this partnership with various musicians to raise awareness of TGCO in the trucking community.

“No parent should have to tell their child that Christmas will have to wait this year,” Freeman said. “I firmly believe in TGCO’s mission to make drivers and their families live a little better this season. I know the challenges of being a driver on the road, and I truly believe we all have to do our part to make trucking a better more compassionate workplace.”

While word of TGCO’s efforts each holiday season has quietly spread throughout the music community Weaver and Freeman will lead efforts to sign more artists and industry leaders as part of the partnership with TGCO.

“The trucking industry has been both a blessing and a curse to me over the years,” said Weaver, owner-operator and driver for Henniff Transport. “Like many drivers, I was gone for long periods of time as a single father to support my family. Those early years were rough for me. Trucking enabled me to take care of my family, and over the years it allowed me to follow my passion for music. Family is very important to me, and TCGO is a way I can give back to the trucking community and be a blessing to those who face the same challenges as I have.”

To kickoff TGCO’s announcement about its partnership with musicians and industry leaders, Weaver decided to rerelease his 2018 song “How the Trucker’s Saved Christmas,” a tongue-in-cheek portrayal of the Department of Transportation shutting down Santa Claus’ sleigh on Christmas Eve. The story is more real than Weaver knew, because TGCO’s resident Santa Claus and board member Greg Manchester faced his own DOT shut down when he was pulled over for a DOT inspection while attempting to notify 2018’s fundraising campaign award recipients. Manchester described that it felt like he went from tears of joy to working with a real-life Grinch.

Weaver’s release of “How the Trucker’s Saved Christmas” was released on November 4, and will be followed November 18 by a video in partnership with TGCO and Bill Weaver to recognize all drivers who end up on the road during the Christmas season.

“When you’re on the road, offer a kind word and shake a stranger’s hand,” Weaver said. “You may help him through a rough day and you just might make a new friend.”

Manchester said TCGO is proud to be working with so many generous drivers and musicians who have agreed to take time from their own busy schedules to spread the word of TGCO’s mission and its fundraising campaign this year.

The musicians will also encourage people to donate and nominate families in need.  Among those include Barker himself, who has been vital in obtaining new items for the TCGO store for this year’s fundraising campaign.

“Trucker’s love to see children smile, whether it’s a fist pump and a smile when they hear that air horn, or the simple joy of getting a Christmas present when they know things are tough at home,” Barker said. “Growing up and living in rural Tennessee, hard times are a fact of life for many families. I believe each driver needs to do what they can to make this work environment a better place for our children.”

Other musicians to support this year’s TGCO fundraising campaign and help grow awareness in the industry include The Stone Creek 4 and country music legend Leon Everett, who credits truck drivers with making his concert tours possible through tireless work hours and effort. Everett also commented that it’s important to remember the quality of life most of us enjoy are a result of those efforts and tireless hours by truck drivers every day.

Many of the participating artists will be adding merchandise and memorabilia to the online TGCO store, and more items will be added throughout the holiday season. Confirmed artists may be added or dropped during the season based on availability.

To learn more about TGCO, its mission, this year’s fundraising campaign visit https://truckerschristmasgroup.org/, or Trucker’s Christmas Group on Facebook.

 

 

 

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The Nation

SBTC’s anti-ELD petition stalls, Lamb uses ‘phone call’ to put blame on OOIDA

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Small Business in Transportation Coalition President James Lamb tells viewers his investigators have uncovered evidence that the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is sabotaging his organization’s efforts to get 100,000 signatures on a petition to ask the White House to immediately suspend the ELD mandate. (Courtesy: SMALL BUSINESS IN TRANSPORTATION COALITION)

In an online editorial we posted August 22, we described the Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC) as positioning itself to be a one-organization wrecking crew targeting the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the electronic logging device mandate.

In particular, SBTC and its president, James Lamb, have been on a tear against electronic logging devices.

(This is the same James Lamb who in early 2018 agreed to settle a probe into his business dealings brought by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which accused Lamb and several of his businesses of cheating owner-operators out of millions of dollars over the course of several years. Lamb denied the charges, but the FTC is in the process of paying out $900,000 to truckers who the FTC says were scammed.) 

After the FMCSA denied its application asking that carriers with under 50 employees be exempted from the ELD mandate, SBTC asked FMCSA to reconsider the denial. 

With no apparent hope that FMCSA would reverse its decision (remember ELDs were ordered by Congress), Lamb and SBTC have moved up the ladder to Congress and now to the White House.

AN EDITORIAL

Currently, SBTC is asking drivers to sign a petition asking Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and President Donald Trump to immediately suspend the ELD rule.

SBTC says it needs to have 100,000 signatures (it’s not likely to happen) before the White House will respond to the request to suspend the rule (that’s not going to happen).

On October 31, Lamb published an e-mail asking the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association to join SBTC in support of the petition.

Lamb apparently never heard from OOIDA, and with his petition drive stalled at around 30,000, Lamb decided to blame OOIDA for the slowdown and appears to have set out to make his point with an elaborate scheme that he is reporting through his e-mail blasts to the media and others, claiming that OOIDA is sabotaging his petition effort.

In a video released at 5:20 p.m. Central time November 11, Lamb said he had some “disturbing” information regarding the ELD suspension petition.

“We have through our private investigators uncovered that OOIDA has been sabotaging our petition. We hired a private investigator to follow up on leads that we have received regarding possible interferences with our petition and boy, did we find out what’s going on here.

“I’m going to play you the tape the investigators sent me (actually the tape of the phone call made only hours or maybe even minutes before) so you can listen to it yourself and boy is it bad news for Todd Spencer (OOIDA president and CEO) and this woman … at OOIDA.”

That “call” was obviously definitely recorded November 11 because the caller mentioned having to work on the holiday, which was Veterans Day. The man said his name was Mike (he also used the name Michael).

It was easy to tell the call was a set up because the man who identified himself as Mike was obviously and purposely speaking into a recording device and recording the other end of the call from a speaker phone.

(An average observer would likely have thought the call was legitimate and that Lamb’s investigators had worked hard to uncover it, but we rather suspect it was a set up and the tape was handed to him shortly after it was made. Or he might even have been in the room when the “call” was made.

A transcript of the tape shows Mike told the woman at OOIDA he wasn’t a member of OOIDA but had heard about the petition campaign and wanted to know if OOIDA was in support of the petition.

He even claimed he’d never heard of James Lamb.

The woman at OOIDA offered to send Mike information about Lamb.

She asked for his e-mail address and after a long hesitation he gave two: mikeferrili@yahoo.com and mikeferilli@yahoo.com.

E-mails sent to those addresses by The Trucker bounced back as undeliverable. (Surprise, surprise).

Based on the transcript, Mike kept trying to coerce the woman into telling him not to sign the petition (the “call” lasted almost 15 minutes), but not once did she do that, only suggesting that petitions were not effective in getting change in Washington.

Contacting members of Congress is the most effective way, she said, citing an instance when OOIDA and its members contacted a Congressman, contacts that led to him reversing his support of speed limiters.

The woman told Mike that some members of OOIDA had signed the petition.

Mike kept on and on, obviously and in the opinion of this writer hoping the woman would tell him not to sign the petition, but the woman said absolutely nothing to discourage drivers from signing the petition.

At one point, the woman reminded Mike that OOIDA had been fighting against ELDs and their predecessors since 1978.

After the tape of the telephone “call” ended on his video, Lamb reiterated that OOIDA had done everything in its power to keep truckers from signing the petition.

“Mr. Spencer it looks like we have a problem. Our legal team (the same one that handed Lamb the tape of the supposed phone call) is going to be reviewing this and you are going to have some explaining to do to a judge,” he said.

We too, have a problem, and it’s with Mr. Lamb trying to lay the blame for his failure directly on someone else.

We call on Mr. Lamb and his organization to get off his anti-ELD horse.

That horse is in the barn, sir, and it’s not coming out.

If you are as powerful as you say you are, turn that power into doing something about the real issues that plague trucking today, matters such as driver pay, the lack of safe parking and driver detention, just to name a few.

OOIDA and many others in the trucking industry are really concerned about those issues.

So should you be.

 

 

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The Nation

Please grab hold. Please grab hold.

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As things turn colder around America, here is yet another video of a truckers ice encounter.
You know in their mind they were repeating… “please grab hold”!
Location: Somewhere along Lake Shore Drive in Decatur, IL.

Courtesy: WANDTV

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The Nation

86.5% of trucks inspected during CVSA Brake Safety Week had no OOS issues

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During a roadside inspection, if an inspector identifies critical vehicle inspection item violations, he or she will render the vehicle out of service, which means those violations must be corrected before the vehicle may proceed. (The Trucker file photo)

GREENBELT, Md. — The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance said Tuesday that inspectors conducted 34,320 commercial motor vehicle inspections during CVSA’s Brake Safety Week and placed 4,626 vehicles — or 13.5% — out of service after critical brake-related conditions were identified during roadside inspections.

CVSA noted that a majority — 86.5% — of vehicles inspected during the September 15-21 time period did not have any critical brake-related inspection item violations.

In 2018, CVSA said out of 35,080 inspections, 4,955 trucks — or 14.1% — were placed out of service.

In 2017, CVSA conducted only a Brake Safety Day, which resulted in 14% of trucks inspected being put out of service.

During a roadside inspection, if an inspector identifies critical vehicle inspection item violations, he or she will render the vehicle out of service, which means those violations must be corrected before the vehicle may proceed.

Sixty jurisdictions in Canada and the U.S. participated in this year’s Brake Safety Week.

In the U.S., 49 jurisdictions conducted 31,864 roadside inspections and placed 4,344 (13.6%) commercial motor vehicles out of service because of brake-related violations. In Canada, 11 jurisdictions conducted 2,456 roadside inspections and 282 (11.5%) commercial motor vehicles were placed out of service for brake-related violations.

As part of this year’s Brake Safety Week, inspectors also collected and reported data on brake hoses/tubing.

  • 2,567 units had chafed rubber hose violations.
  • 1,347 units had chafed thermoplastic hose violations.
  • 2,704 violations of § 393.45 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) and Canadian equivalent violations included chafed rubber hoses.
  • There were 1,683 violations of § 393.45 of the FMCSRs and Canadian equivalent violations that included kinked thermoplastic hoses.

“Inspectors conduct more than 4 million roadside inspections every year and checking brake components is just one element of the inspection procedure inspectors perform on commercial motor vehicles every day,” said CVSA President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police. “This inspection and enforcement event reminds drivers and motor carriers of the importance of properly functioning brakes and spotlights the work done by inspectors, motor carriers and drivers every day to keep our roadways safe by ensuring vehicles are in appropriate working condition.”

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, highway crash fatality data for 2018, there was a 2.4% decline in overall fatalities, the second consecutive year of reduced crash fatalities. However, conversely, for 2018, large-truck related fatalities increased by 0.9%.

“While we applaud the decrease in the overall number of fatalities on our roadways last year, we’re alarmed by the increase in the number of large-truck-related fatalities,” Samis said. “CVSA conducts high-profile, high-visibility enforcement events, such as Brake Safety Week, to reduce the number of fatalities occurring on our roadways. Roadway safety is our number one priority and we will continue our efforts to improve brake safety throughout North America.”

Brake Safety Week is an inspection, enforcement, education and awareness initiative that is part of the Operation Airbrake Program sponsored by CVSA in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators.

 

 

 

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