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Efforts to thwart human trafficking increasing among state DOTs

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State DOTs are working to align with federal agencies so there is not a duplication of work in terms of fighting human trafficking. (©2019 FOTOSEARCH)

WASHINGTON — Efforts to thwart human trafficking are increasing among state departments of transportation, though there is still a way to go in terms of spurring “deeper engagement” on their part.

Data from an ongoing survey of anti-human trafficking efforts by state DOTs entitled “State DOT Contributions to the Study, Investigation and Interdiction of Human Trafficking,” – indicates 45 percent of the agencies participating in poll are either “highly” or “moderately” engaged in such efforts, according to an article in the Journal, the official publication of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials..

Paula Hammond, senior vice president at consulting firm WSP USA – which is conducting the survey for the Newsal Cooperative Highway Research Program overseen by the Transportation Research Board – noted in a presentation last month during the AASHTO spring meeting in Park City, Utah, that this survey so far has achieved a 70 percent response rate within the state DOT community.

On top of that, she said 19 of 36 participating state DOTs have “volunteered to be interviewed” in more detail about their anti-human trafficking efforts and where improvements to those efforts can be made.

“We have a big educational opportunity within the state DOT community,” Hammond said. “We’ve also found that state DOTs can supply data, knowledge and expertise to law enforcement to help stop human trafficking. So, our next step, as we move from the broad survey to more detailed interviews and case studies with state DOTs active in this area is to help others learn ‘best practices’ from them, as well as how to fill any existing gaps.”

She said that “we’re also trying to do this in alignment with federal agencies so there is not a duplication of work.”

In the meantime, many state DOTs are working on their own to coordinate their anti-human trafficking efforts with other federal, state, and local agencies while beefing up internal training efforts.

“PennDOT has partnered with the Pennsylvania Public Transit Association, an umbrella organization for regional transit agencies, as well as the Pennsylvania Turnpike to combat [human] trafficking,” Colton Brown, program manager for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s public transit bureau, explained to the Journal in an email.

“Human trafficking awareness training should not occur in a vacuum,” he said. “Human trafficking occurs in so many places and in so many ways that it should not be limited to specific operating environments. Rather, training for specific operating environments should add on to a baseline level of knowledge for transportation professionals.”

Brown also said that PennDOT has taken a “two-pronged approach” to trafficking education: to provide a baseline level of training for all employees and to encourage all Pennsylvanians to learn more about how they can combat human trafficking wherever they live.

Stephanie Johnson, assistant director for planning at the Delaware Department of Transportation, said in an email to the AASHTO Journal that her agency is currently gathering training resources, data, and information to develop department-wide training for all staff to build awareness about human trafficking.

“Our goal is to first train our frontline staff including our maintenance personnel, toll booth operators, traffic personnel, and construction engineers,” Johnson said. “At the same time, we plan to work closely with DART – DelDOT’s Transit Agency – and their training staff to develop training for bus operators and other transit workers.”

She noted that her agency’s “ultimate goal” is to have ALL DelDOT/DART employees trained regarding human trafficking awareness and incorporate said training into the orientation process for new employees as well.

“As more training resources are provided through DHS [the U.S. Department of Homeland Security], FHWA [the Federal Highway Administration], and FTA [the Federal Transit Administration], we will continue to build and enhance this training to ensure all staff are informed, know how to recognize signs and what to do when human trafficking is suspected,” Johnson said.

 

 

 

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House Appropriations Committee approves FY2020 transportation budget

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The FY2020 THUD appropriations bill includes $677 million for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

WASHINGTON — The House Appropriations Committee Tuesday approved the fiscal year 2020 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies bill on a vote of 29-21.

The legislation funds the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other related agencies, including the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness.

In total, the legislation provides $137.1 billion in budgetary resources, an increase of $6 billion above the 2019 enacted level and $17.3 billion above the President’s budget request. The bill includes $75.8 billion in discretionary funding, an increase of $4.7 billion over the 2019 enacted level and $17.3 billion over the President’s 2020 budget request.

“This year’s Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development funding bill represents a positive, inclusive vision for our country,” said House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Chairman David Price. “It makes forward-looking investments in our housing and transportation infrastructure, while ensuring concerted attention to safety, the needs of the most vulnerable, and resilience.  It will benefit all American communities — urban and rural — and lays the foundation for economic growth and opportunity. I’m thankful for the collaborative effort by all our members to pass the bill through committee and look forward to working together to enact it into law.”

“The Department of Transportation should prioritize safety, and this bill would equip the Department to fund safety upgrades on our roads and rails as well as safety research,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey. “The bill also would provide adequate funding for the federal share of one of the most important transportation projects in our country to advance commuter safety and the economy – the Gateway tunnel between New Jersey and New York. Additionally, robust investments in the bill, such as increases to CDBG, HOME, and Lead and Healthy Homes, would make our communities heathier and safer, and critical language would protect the most vulnerable, including undocumented individuals and their U.S. citizen children and LGBTQ youth, against eviction. With this bill, we have the opportunity to invest in our infrastructure and fundamentally improve the lives of our constituents.”

For the Department of Transportation, the bill provides a total of $86.6 billion in total budgetary resources, $167 million above the 2019 enacted level and $3.7 billion above the President Donald J. Trump’s budget request.

Of this amount, some of the items the bill includes are:

  • $677 million for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, $10 million above the 2019 enacted level and $1 million above the President’s budget request. None of the funds can be used to enforce the use of ELDs by carriers transporting livestock.
  • $48.9 billion for the Federal Highway Administration, $404 million below the 2019 enacted level and $1.7 billion above the President’s budget request.
  • $1.75 billion for discretionary Highway Infrastructure Programs, $1.5 billion below the 2019 enacted level and $1.45 billion above the President’s budget request.
  • $1 billion for the Newsal Highway Traffic Safety Administration, $44 million above the 2019 enacted level and $81 million above the President’s budget request.

 

 

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John Christner Trucking’s John Mallory wins TCA safety award

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John Mallory, recipient of the Truckload Carriers Association Clare C. Casey Award, serves on the American Trucking Associations' Safety Management Council for driver recognition and accident review. (Courtesy: TRUCKLOAD CARRIERS ASSOCIATION)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Truckload Carriers Association has named John Mallory, John Christner Trucking’s director of safety, as the 2019 TCA Safety Professional of the Year and made him recipient of the Clare C. Casey Award.

The award was presented during the TCA’s 38th Annual Safety & Security Division Meeting in Memphis.

John Christner Trucking is located at Sapulpa, Oklahoma.

The award is bestowed upon a trucking industry professional whose actions and achievements have made a profound contribution to enhancing safety on North America’s highways.

“John has an absolute passion for our industry, particularly making it safer,” said John Christner Trucking’s vice president of risk management Shannon Crowley. “He spends much of his free time in pursuit of just that.”

In addition to being employed by John Christner Trucking for 13 years in its safety department, as well as a third-generation professional truck driver for more than two decades, Mallory has an extensive list of accomplishments.

Crowley said Mallory was persistent in obtaining his safety professional credentials once arriving at the company.

“His tenacity is what got him in the door and that same tenacity is what led him to achieving his Certified Director of Safety designation and becoming our director of safety,” Crowley said.

During his career, Mallory has served on the Oklahoma Safety Management Council for 12 years, is a member of the Oklahoma Trucking Association, and serves on the American Trucking Associations’ Safety Management Council for driver recognition and accident review.

He is also a recipient of the John Christner Trucking, Inc.’s Pete Osborne Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017; Oklahoma State Management Council’s Past Chairman Award; and Oklahoma Trucking Association’s 2012 Safety Professional of the year.

He serves as a judge, chairman and as “The Duck” mascot at the Oklahoma Truck Driving Championships.

“John is a great leader in his church as well as other organizations such as Truckers Against Trafficking,” shares his wife, Dianne Mallory, who nominated him for this award. “He is most loved by many for his role as ‘The Duck.'”

Crowley said Mallory is a pillar in his community. He serves on the Tulsa Tech Truck Driving School advisory council, is a member, usher and greeter at Life Church in Owasso and Catoosa, Oklahoma, and is active in the Owasso Police Department K9 unit training canines and officers how to maneuver around and inside 18-wheelers. He also participates in the annual Sapulpa Truck Touch.

On behalf of John Christner Trucking, Mallory has accepted numerous Fleet Safety Awards from TCA, several other industry associations, and both Walmart and Tyson Foods.

“John is always eager to learn, willing to participate, and simply will not be outworked. If there is someone more deserving of this recognition, I haven’t met them,” Crowley said.

Nominees for TCA’s award must exemplify leadership and demonstrate the goals of protecting lives and property in the motor transportation industry while serving their company, industry, and the motoring public. The award is named after Clare Casey, a safety professional who actively served TCA from 1979 until 1989. He was devoted to ensuring that all truckload safety professionals build a strong safety network, and was instrumental in forming the first annual Safety & Security Division meeting in 1982. The first Clare C. Casey Award was presented in 1990, one year after his death.

 

 

 

 

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FMCSA accepting applications for military pilot program for 18- to 20-year-olds

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During the military pilot program, the safety records of the participants will be compared to the records of a control group of drivers. (The Trucker file photo)

WASHINGTON — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said Monday it is accepting applications for a pilot program to permit 18- to 20-year-olds who possess the U.S. military equivalent of a commercial driver’s to operate large trucks in interstate commerce.

“This program will help our country’s veterans and reservists transition into good-paying jobs while addressing the shortage of truck drivers in our country,” said Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

As directed by Section 5404 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the pilot program will allow a limited number of individuals between the ages of 18 and 20 to operate large trucks in interstate commerce — provided they possess the military equivalent of a CDL and are sponsored by a participating trucking company. During the pilot program, which is slated to run for up to three years, the safety records of these drivers will be compared to the records of a control group of drivers.

“We are excited to launch this program to help the brave men and women who serve our country explore employment opportunities in the commercial motor vehicle industry. With the nation’s economy reaching new heights, the trucking industry continues to need drivers and have job openings. We encourage veterans and reservists to apply and to learn more about this exciting new program,” said FMCSA Administrator Raymond Martinez.

The program was revealed by Chao in July 2018 during a news conference in Omaha, Nebraska, which was attended by Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb.; and Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., himself a military veteran having served in the United States Air Force United States Air Force from 1985 to 2014, reaching the rank of brigadier general.

“This innovative program offers a way for our younger veterans and reservists to transition to the civilian workforce. I personally thank Secretary Chao and officials with the DOT who continue to find ways to utilize the training and talent of the men and women who served in uniform for our country,” Bacon said.

To learn more about this program and how to apply, visit

For complete information on USDOT’s Veteran transitions programs into the civilian careers, visit 

 

 

 

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