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ATA president calls for unity

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Monday, October 23, 2017

by THE TRUCKER STAFF

ORLANDO, Fla. — American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spear Monday told delegates to the organization’s annual Management Conference and Exhibition that efforts to unify and strengthen the industry group have raised ATA’s profile and resulted in important victories for trucking.

“Your story is now being told to the highest levels of government, to the media and to the American people,” Spear said in his annual State of the Industry address. “Together we are building trucking’s future.”

Spear pointed to victory in securing permanent Hours of Service reform, a higher profile for ATA on autonomous vehicle issues, withdrawal of rigid sleep apnea rules and stalling of a poorly crafted speed-limiter rule as significant triumphs for the industry that were the result of the federation’s elevated profile.

“We earned that victory,” Spear said of the HOS win. “You helped make that happen, and this win serves as a reminder to each of us, of the sheer strength of this association when we work together.”

Spear’s HOS remarks were in reference to what he called the “ill-conceived” restart rule that required two consecutive 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. off-duty time periods.

In addition, the restart could only be used once every seven days.

Obama’s action returned the restart rule to its original requirement that set on limit on the frequency of a restart and didn’t require the two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. time periods.

“Last December, Congress passed and President Obama signed legislation that permanently struck his own administration’s ill-conceived, special interest-driven HOS rule. We earned that victory. You helped make that happen. And this win serves as a reminder to each of us, the sheer strength of this association, when we work together.”

ATA’s strength, Spear said, was on display when the association put two trucks on the South Lawn of the White House in March, and again earlier this month joining President Trump in Pennsylvania to support a tax reform plan “with one very special benefactor … trucking.”

“ATA has put its own members in a position to shape public policy at the highest level,” he said. “And with the president now championing our best interests, the entire nation is paying attention to what we have to say.”

Spear said with the nation paying attention to ATA, the association would continue to advocate policies “that produce measurable benefits to our industry, our customers and the general public,” specifically calling out federal preemption of state-level meal and rest break rules as “an issue we have to win and we will …,” and the coming implementation of the electronic logging device mandate in December.

“This issue has been legislated, promulgated and litigated,” he said. “It is now time to move forward. ELD technology removes one’s ability to exceed the legal hours of services, ushering in a safe, efficient and fair playing field for the nation’s trucking industry.”

Spear also said ATA would take a new leadership role in addressing a persistent issue in trucking: the driver shortage.

“Our industry faces several barriers that must be addressed if we’re to grow, including: establishing pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship training programs, and hiring and training 18-21 year-olds. We need interstate recognition of credentials, entry-level training standards for veterans and nonveteran employees, solutions for the impact of detention time and congestion on drivers’ hours of service, and more,” he said.

To address these issues, Spear announced the creation of a new Workforce Development subcommittee to be chaired by ATA Secretary John Smith, chairman of CRST International Inc.

“This subcommittee will enable ATA to work closely with this Administration, Congress and state governments to solve this problem,” he said.

Finally, Spear again called for unity in the trucking industry, even in the face increasing anti-truck sentiment.

“Back in Washington, anti-truck and amateur hour advocacy groups believe they know what’s best for our industry. This wave of special interests has built a cottage industry fueled by ideology, emotion and misguided narratives – all intended to divide our industry and this association. Obstruction is their weapon of choice,” he said. “Rest assured, ATA will not be driven into this rut, nor allow such division to impede our ability to win. Our focus will remain on safety, sound data, the truth… doing what’s best for our industry and the country, not what’s good for a political party or one’s personal agenda.”

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Firefighting’s Finest Moving & Storage named top independent mover

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Offering a full range of services including moving, packing and storage has allowed Firefighting’s Finest to grow to four locations, with over 160 employees, a sizable fleet with warehouse facilities, and military approval as a TSP. (Courtesy: AMSA)

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Firefighting’s Finest Moving & Storage, based in Fort Worth, Texas, has been named the nation’s top independent moving company for 2018 by the American Moving & Storage Association.

The company has earned the Independent Mover of the Year Award for exceptional business growth, strong customer satisfaction and award-winning service.

This award, also known as “the Indy,” reflects the association’s and the industry’s commitment to outstanding performance among independent movers as demonstrated through innovative business methods and practices, community involvement, customer service practices, employee relations, and operations that address a current and compelling social or economic issue, according to Scott Michael, AMSA president and CEO.

The recipient is selected by a panel of industry experts.

“Firefighting’s Finest Moving & Storage is honored to receive this prestigious award. It reflects our team’s hard work, dedication and commitment to excellence. The true desire ‘to serve’ shines through with this incredible achievement,” said Derrick Potter, president of Firefighting’s Finest Moving & Storage.

Since opening in 2001, Firefighting’s Finest has earned an impeccable reputation, providing customers with an exceptional, service-first moving experience, Potter said.

“Our focus on customer service provided by well-trained crews has allowed for continued growth, while our commitment to excellence has ensured that the growth is well managed, and quality is not lost,” he said.

Still owned and operated by military veterans and off-duty professional firefighters, Firefighting’s Finest’s commitment to serve customers and the community is what sets them apart.

The company’s teams of professional movers are carefully selected to ensure that a commitment to quality and service is shared by them, and that the company’s vision is the team’s vision—an exceptional move exceeding expectations on every move, Potter said.

Offering a full range of services including moving, packing and storage has allowed Firefighting’s Finest to grow to four locations, with over 160 employees, a sizable fleet with warehouse facilities, and military approval as a TSP.

Potter said Firefighting’s Finest Moving and Storage’s commitment to serve has led the company to earning many awards, including the prestigious Pro Patria Award, Small For Business of the Year Award in 2016 from the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, and several Torch Awards from the BBB for Marketing Ethics. Firefighting’s Finest is also proud to be the first ever Mover of the Year awarded by Move For Hunger.

“Firefighting’s Finest has set a high bar for excellence in the industry with an outstanding track record of success. They are well-deserving of this high honor that puts them up there among the elite moving and storage companies nationwide,” Michael said.

More information about the AMSA Awards at .

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Intelligent Imaging Systems installs truck parking signs in Ohio

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Through IIS Smart Parking, 18 rest stops along Ohio’s Interstates 70, 75 and U.S. Route 33 were fitted with in-ground sensors, which provide information on how many parking spots are open and available for use. (Courtesy: INTELLIGENT IMAGING SYSTEMS)

DALLAS — Intelligent Imaging Systems (IIS) is now providing state departments of transportation with its IIS Smart Parking solutions for trucks at rest stops.

Installations were recently completed in Ohio as part of the Mid America Association of State Transportation Officials (MAASTO) initiative, which unites eight Midwestern states in the nation’s first Regional Truck Parking Information Management System (TPIMS).

Through IIS Smart Parking, 18 rest stops along Ohio’s Interstates 70, 75 and U.S. Route 33 were fitted with in-ground sensors, which provide information on how many parking spots are open and available for use. That information is then relayed and broadcast — in real-time — on highway signs so truck drivers will know the availability of parking spaces at the upcoming rest stop.

The IIS Smart Parking locations join others implemented through MAASTO to provide truckers with parking availability.

The TPIMS was deployed along the region’s high-volume freight corridors through Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. Its goal is to have all truck drivers, dispatchers and others see and benefit from a cohesive parking availability system that crosses state borders. In addition to dynamic highway message signs, websites will provide information on parking space availability.

“This service is badly needed in the trucking industry,” said Brian Heath, president and CEO of IIS. “Parking is a huge concern for drivers. Studies by the Federal Highway Administration show that 83 percent of drivers routinely take 30 minutes or longer to find parking and that 37 DOTs reported problems with commercial parking.”

According to Heath, the real-time display of parking spots at rest areas gives drivers time to plan. “In Ohio, it’s set up where a highway reader board shows the number of spots available at the upcoming rest area,” he said. “And in many cases, it shows the spots available at the rest areas that are further down the road. This takes out a lot of the guesswork of ‘where do I park?’ Plus, if a rest area is full, the driver doesn’t have to pull in and search – wasting time trying to find a spot that doesn’t exist.”

IIS’ partner in the venture, IPsens, is a leader in cloud-based parking and transportation management solutions.

“Our hardware and parking management software integrates well with IIS to make for a turnkey solution for state DOTs,” said Gorm Tuxen, president of IPsens. “We look forward to working with more states – putting our technology to work — to make a difference in the lives of truckers searching for parking spots.”

Federal grant money is available to help states offer rest stop parking notifications.

“The federal government has recognized the parking issue and has stepped up to offer states funds to implement a truck parking management system,” Heath said. “We expect states with parking issues to take advantage of the funding to make highways safer, and drivers more productive. If a driver can’t find a spot, and their hours of service are about to expire, they’ll often resort to using unauthorized parking spaces, or park on highway shoulders or ramps. By providing real-time information on parking spots, states have the ability to make an impact on the problem.”

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37th Shell Rotella SuperRigs set for July in Minnesota

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The 2015 Peterbilt 389 2018 Wally-Mo 8 Car Hauler of Eric Turner Sr. captured Best of Show at Shell Rotella SuperRigs in 2018. (Courtesy: SHELL ROTELLA)

ALBERT LEA, Minn. — The 37th Annual Shell Rotella SuperRigs will be held July 25-27 at Trail’s Travel Center located just off Interstate 35 in Albert Lea, Minnesota.

Contestants and attendees will be able to see the hardest working trucks in the industry and enjoy all the amenities on site throughout the three-day event.

There is no fee to enter SuperRigs and the weekend is designed to be fun for the whole family, organizers said.

Highlights include:

  • Annual fireworks display
  • Truck lights competition
  • Music throughout the weekend
  • Competitor BBQ lunch
  • The great prize pursuit

The Shell Rotella SuperRigs competition is considered the premier truck beauty contest for actively working trucks.

Owner-operator truckers from across the United States and Canada compete annually for more than $25,000 in cash and prizes.

Twelve drivers will be selected to have their trucks featured in the 2020 Shell Rotella SuperRigs calendar.

Details for Shell Rotella SuperRigs are subject to change and additional activities will be announced as they are finalized.

To register and for more information about Shell Rotella SuperRigs, visit . Event registration is recommended, but not required.

Follow Shell Rotella on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates on SuperRigs and Shell Rotella products and programs.

 

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