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Trucking industry makes charitable donations this holiday season

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Trucking industry makes charitable donations this holiday season
Justin Akin, accounting assistant at Bestpass, wraps a gift for a member of Bestpass’ Adopt a Family. Many trucking organizations donated time and money to charitable causes this holiday season. (Courtesy: TMAF)

Trucking Moves America Forward (TMAF) recognizes the many ways that the trucking industry gave back to their local communities during this holiday season. Trucking companies and organizations consisting of all sizes across the U.S. submitted their stories of charitable works after TMAF issued an industry-wide call for submissions through email and social media.

“While America is preparing for the busy holiday season, it’s important to acknowledge the dedicated efforts of the trucking industry who are not only delivering our special holiday moments, but who are giving back to their communities,” said Kevin Burch, co-chairman of TMAF and president of Jet Express, Inc. “Whether it is through charitable donations, delivering the goods that make a family’s holiday special, or helping communities prepare for severe weather challenges, trucking keeps America moving forward during the winter season.”

Below is a list of some of the U.S. trucking companies and organizations that gave back to their communities during the 2019 holiday season. Professional truck drivers and employees also donated their time and service for the causes important to them.

Haulin’ 4 Hunger

Advantage Truck Group (ATG), based in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, hosted their annual Haulin’ 4 Hunger program, a program to help address hunger and food insecurity in the community, and delivered nearly 3,000 fresh meals to six food pantry organizations in central Massachusetts.

Adopt a Family

Bestpass in Albany, New York collected and donated presents and household items for two families through the Albany County Executive’s Adopt a Family Program. Bestpass employees shopped for more than 100 items on the children’s wish lists, as well as household items for the family, and wrapped them to be delivered to the families just before the holidays. During the holiday season, Bestpass employees also collected gloves for Street Soldiers, which provides hot meals and needed essentials to the less fortunate.

Driven to Serve

Brenny Transportation, based in St. Joseph, Minnesota, hosted their annual Driven to Serve campaign. Brenny Transportation employees participated in a giving tree and the items collected were donated to six local organizations. Brenny Transportation also donated food and toys to three local food shelves and the Minnesota Trucking Association’s Trucks and Toys Campaign to help children in need. Employees also volunteered their time within the community. This year, employees built and donated a Christmas tree stand for their local church and sang Christmas carols at nursing homes.

Truckloads of Treasures

Employees from Joplin, Missouri-based CFI raised over $41,000 in donations and supported 19 charities across eight cities as part of their 26th annual Truckloads of Treasures Holiday Giving Campaign. Employees also partnered with service organizations in their communities to provide holiday gifts, food and other items for underserved children and senior citizens throughout the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

Coats for Christmas

Garner Trucking in Findlay, Ohio donated a trailer for a local food drive hosted by The University of Findlay, which served as a collection point for coats and winter hats. Employees also volunteered for the Coats for Christmas Drive hosted by a local elementary school and adopted a local veteran for the holidays through their local Veterans Service Office. Garner Trucking also participated in the national and local Wreaths Across America events.

Veterans in Crisis

Defiance, Ohio-based Keller Logistics Group raised $273,159 and honored 524 hardship requests through their Keller Assists Veterans In Crisis, or Operation K.A.V.I.C. program, which helps local military personnel and veterans. Keller Logistics Group served as a donation processing center for Soles4Souls, a global nonprofit dedicated to fighting poverty through the distribution of shoes and clothing. In 2019, Keller Logistics Group collected and processed over 9,000 pairs of shoes. Keller Logistics Group also participated in Wreaths Across America in Ohio.

Young Living Salinas Valley

Leonard’s Express in Farmington, New York transported a truckload of donated food to California to support the Young Living Salinas Valley program. In their community, Leonard’s Express delivered two truckloads of donated goods and donated 138 Thanksgiving dinner boxes to the local Small Business Council’s Cares Thanksgiving Drive. Employees volunteered at a gift-wrapping booth to benefit the Friends of Ontario ARC Foundation, which provides innovative programs and services for people with disabilities or other challenges. Leonard’s Express also donated trucks and drivers for Wreaths Across America.

Trucks & Toys

The Minnesota Trucking Association raised $37,173 and donated 3,048 toys to more than 20 charities throughout the state of Minnesota as a result of their annual Trucks & Toys program. Trucking companies throughout the state participated in the program through donations and serving as collection sites.

Torch Run Truck Convoy

The Rhode Island Trucking Association co-hosted Rhode Island’s first Torch Run Truck Convoy for Special Olympics. The Truck Convoy is a fundraising event hosted in partnership with law enforcement and truckers to increase support for the Special Olympics. Over 50 trucks and 30 companies participated in the event to benefit the Rhode Island Special Olympics.

Blue Jeans Brighten Up Children’s Christmas

Titan Transfer, Inc., based in Shelbyville, Tennessee, runs an annual Blue Jeans Brighten Up Children’s Christmas program, which supports Titan employees and fellow community members in need of assistance during the holiday season. Throughout the year, Titan Transfer’s employees contribute $1 to the fund to participate in “Casual Friday” at the office; employees are also encouraged to donate to the fund through weekly payroll deductions. Titan Transfer uses the money collected through the fund to donate meals and toys to local charities and organizations in the community.

Wreaths Across America

Leawood, Kansas-based Cline Wood and Scott City, Missouri-based Buchheit Logistics participated in Wreaths Across America for a fourth year. Buchheit Logistics delivered two truckloads of wreaths that were placed on veterans’ graves in local cemeteries in Illinois and Missouri. American Trucking Associations (ATA) led a convoy and delivered wreaths from Bangor, Maine to Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. ATA’s Workforce Heroes Truck, which is part of their Workforce Heroes Program, led the convoy. ATA also hosted a Tribute to Wreaths Across America raising over $50,000 to purchase additional wreaths for cemeteries across the U.S.

Contract Leasing Corp. (CLC) in Piscataway, New Jersey donated the fully wrapped Wreaths Across America Honor Trailer and hosted the challenge for a company to sponsor the trailer. The Wreaths Across America Honor Trailer, which was sponsored by UPS this year, was escorted to Arlington to support National Wreaths Across America Day. In addition to the trailer donation, CLC donated to Wreaths Across America.

Strafford, Missouri-based TransLand participated in Wreaths Across America by delivering wreaths to Ohio and Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Additionally, TransLand joined with the Springfield Area Motor Carriers Club (SAMCC) and led the effort to ensure that all U.S. veterans in Springfield would be honored during the holiday season. Last year, only 6,000 of 14,000 veterans’ graves received a wreath. This year, TransLand and SAMCC raised enough funds to cover 14,500 graves.

 Sheriff’s Department’s Brown Santa

SH 130 Concession Co., which operates and maintains the southern sections of SH 130 in central Texas, partnered with the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Department’s Brown Santa, which collects presents for children in need in Central Texas. This year, SH 130 donated over 80 toys, games and books for local families in the community.

Bike MS Race

Employees from Anaheim, California-based DriverFacts gave back to their community in many ways, including serving in the Appalachian Mountains of Kentucky at Big Creek Missions; volunteering at their local church; raising support for the Multiple Sclerosis Society during the BIKE MS race; supporting the Gold Rush Cure Foundation with “A Pot of Gold” program; and volunteering at adult day care and nursing homes, veteran centers, schools and more.

St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund

Nonprofit organization, The St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund, helped professional truck drivers and families who were taken off the road after an illness or injury by paying the families’ rent, utilities, vehicle payments, and insurance payments. Since their inception in 2008, The St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund has helped over 3,000 with more than $3 million to date.

Truckers Christmas Group

The Truckers Christmas Group (TGCO), a nonprofit organization, hosted their 12th annual holiday fundraising campaign in partnership with trucking’s top musicians to help raise funds for professional truck drivers and their families who need additional help and assistance during the holiday season. This year, TGCO assisted 25 families with $500 per family. Over the past eleven years, TGCO has helped 154 trucking families and raised and distributed $90,000.

Toys for Tots

Employee-owners from Shelbyville, Tennessee-based Big G Express, Inc.’s raised $1,600 and collected toys for The Marine Corps Toys for Tots program in Bedford County, Tennessee. Big G Express also served as a toy donation site and provided a trailer for the 53rd Annual Lincoln County Toy Drive in Fayetteville, Tennessee. The toy drive provided toys for approximately more than 500 children in the community.

American Red Cross

Cleveland, Ohio-based TravelCenters of America supported The American Red Cross by hosting an annual holiday toy drive. This year, approximately 500 local kids benefited as a result of the toy drive. TravelCenters of America also supported Toys for Tots; participating locations across the country are official Toy Drop Sites.

Fighting Hunger

Ryder employees across the country volunteered to help charitable organizations in their local community, such as Meals on Wheels, The Red Cross and Rise Against Hunger. For the eighth consecutive year, Ryder employees contributed to the global day of giving by volunteering at local food banks, making bagged lunches, conducting toy drives, installing smoke alarms and performing other gifts of caring.

Touch-A-Truck

The Trucking Association of New York (TANY) hosted several events throughout the year, including golf outings and touch-a-truck events, that raised over $21,000 in donations. TANY donated the money to various charities, including the Veterans Miracle Center in Albany, Paige’s Butterfly Run in Syracuse, Holy Childhood in Rochester, and Long Island Cares. TANY also held a gift drive in conjunction with their holiday party to support Things of My Very Own, an organization that provides support services for children in crisis.

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The Nation

House endorses adopting California AB5 provisions at federal level

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U.s. house of representatives passes pro act; endorses adopting california ab5 law at federal level
Owner-operators and carriers are weary of California's AB5 morphing into federal law. Introduced as the PRO Act, the proposed legislation will have far-reaching impacts on all sectors of the trucking industry.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation similar to California’s AB5 law in that it requires employers to prove that independent contractors used in conducting business should not be classified as employees. The controversial California law, as applied to the trucking industry, is currently under an injunction imposed by a U.S. District Court judge that prohibits its enforcement. California-based carriers, the California Trucking Association (CTA) and owner-operators doing business in the state, as well as trucking organizations on national and state levels, have all publicly opposed AB5. The Trucker previously reported that industry leaders feared a law like AB5 would spread beyond California’s borders. With Congress considering the “Protecting the Right to Organize” (PRO) Act (HR 2474), those fears appear credible.

As widely discussed in trucking-industry circles, AB5 places the burden upon employers when classifying workers as employees or independent contractors. If a worker’s circumstances do not pass all components of a three-prong test, the individual is deemed an employee, a classification impacting company operations and the individual’s ability to choose working status. For this reason, many owner-operators who entered the business for its self-employment opportunities oppose AB5.

The federal PRO legislation incorporates the same tests imposed under AB5 and applies them nationwide. CTA contends that AB5 is prohibited under federal law, an argument with which the judge ruling in favor of the request for an injunction was noted as appearing to agree. With the injunction in place, the PRO Act could be considered a case of amending federal law for the purpose of allowing a state law to be enforceable.

The language in the federal act as included in Section 2(a)(2) defines an employee under the same terms as discussed in AB5. As with the California law, the sticking point relates to the (B) prong of the test. Under the (B) prong, a company cannot hire an independent contractor to perform tasks, inherent to the company’s business, which other employees already perform. A carrier in the business of moving freight and employing individuals who move freight could not hire an independent contractor to perform similar tasks.

Should PRO receive U.S. Senate approval, something political pundits doubt is possible, it would be passed to President Donald Trump to either sign into law or veto. Of the two, a veto seems most likely, as the administration has stated PRO “appears to cut and paste the core provisions of California’s controversial AB5, which severely restricts self-employment. AB5 is actively threatening the existence of both the franchise business sector and the gig economy in California. It would be a serious mistake for Congress to impose this flawed job-killing policy on the entire country.”

Truckers nationwide should remain in tune with further action on PRO. It may impact many careers.

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The Nation

OKC police confirm security guard who shot truck driver at TA has died by suicide

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police lights stock photo
A security guard who discharged his weapon, shooting a truck driver during an altercation at an Oklahoma City TA Travel Center, has taken his own life.

OKLAHOMA CITY — A security guard who shot a truck driver earlier this month during an altercation with a truck driver in Oklahoma City has died by suicide.

Sgt. Brad Gilmore, assistant public-information officer with the Oklahoma City Police Department, confirmed that 45-year-old George Bischoff went to a local shooting range, Big Boys Guns, Ammo & Range, on Feb. 20 around 1:35 p.m. and took his own life with a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Bischoff had been questioned twice regarding an altercation that took place Feb. 14 around 4:30 a.m. in which he confronted a truck driver, 42-year-old Paul Sisk, at a TA Travel Center in Oklahoma City regarding a reserved parking space.

“Somewhere during that altercation, it became physical and the security guard fired one shot, hitting the truck driver,” Gilmore said. “The truck driver was transported to a local hospital, where he was treated and has since been released.”

Gilmore said the security guard was initially questioned following the incident but at that time, Gilmore said, police had not yet had a chance to talk to the truck driver.

“The security guard was brought back in and questioned again, and we were in the process of discussing the case with the district attorney’s office; and on our end, charges had not been filed,” Gilmore said.

Gilmore could not confirm whether the gun used at the range was rented or owned by Bischoff, but he said local news outlets have reported that the gun was rented.  Gilmore said the incident remains under investigation.

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The Nation

Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse identifies nearly 8,000 substance-abuse violations

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Fmcsa’s drug and alcohol clearinghouse identifies nearly 8,000 substance-abuse violations in first weeks of operation
FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse program is designed to improve road safety by identifying drivers who are barred from driving commercial vehicles due to drug violations. (iStock photo)

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released data on Feb. 21 following the first weeks of operation of its Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. The information released showed the clearinghouse has detected and identified nearly 8,000 positive substance-abuse tests of commercial drivers since Jan. 6. The clearinghouse now has more than 650,000 registrants.

“We’ve seen encouraging results from the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, but there’s still work to do to ensure we identify more drivers who should not be behind the wheel. The clearinghouse is a positive step, and the Agency continues to work closely with industry, law enforcement, and our state partners to ensure its implementation is effective,” said Jim Mullen, FMCSA acting administrator.

The clearinghouse is aimed at improving road safety by providing FMCSA and employers with the necessary tools to identify drivers who have violated federal drug and alcohol testing program requirements and are prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle. The goal of the clearinghouse is to ensure that such drivers receive the required evaluation and treatment before they have the opportunity to resume driving.

Those required to register for the clearinghouse include:

  • Employers of commercial driver’s license (CDL) and commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders, or their designated service agents, and medical review officers who report drug and alcohol program violations that occurred on or after Jan. 6, 2020;
  • Employers or their designated service agents who conduct required queries that inform them whether prospective or current employees have drug and alcohol program violations in their clearinghouse records. Employers must purchase a query plan before conducting queries in the clearinghouse – query plans must be purchased from the FMCSA clearinghouse website only;
  • Drivers who respond to employer consent requests or would like to view their clearinghouse record when applying for a job; and
  • Substance abuse professionals who report on the completion of driver initial assessments and driver eligibility for return-to-duty testing for violations committed on or after Jan. 6, 2020.

There is no cost for registration. Commercial drivers are not required to immediately register for the clearinghouse but will need to register to respond to an employer’s request for consent prior to a pre-employment query or other full query being conducted. In addition, employers must be registered during the first year of implementation to ensure they are able to conduct the required annual query on all employed drivers.

Combatting drug abuse has been a top priority of the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Trump Administration. President Trump has brought attention to the nation’s opioid crisis by declaring it a nationwide public health emergency and has implemented critical federal initiatives to help reduce opioid abuse.

For information about FMCSA’s clearinghouse program, including user brochures and instructional aids with step-by-step registration instructions, visit clearinghouse.fmcsa.dot.gov.

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