WASHINGTON — The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and Newsal Road Safety Foundation, Inc. (NRSF) have revealed the recipients of a third year of grants to help states implement innovative drowsy driving prevention campaigns.
Georgia, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and New York will each receive $15,000 in funding. Eight states applied for these grants; a panel of issue experts reviewed all applications against a number of criteria and selected the winners.
This competitive grant program equips states with resources needed to tackle the challenge of drowsy driving, with programs incorporating best practices identified by GHSA and NRSF. Programs in 2019 will utilize public awareness campaigns, virtual reality and innovative partnerships to engage key audiences, according to GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins.
Planned state activities include: the following:
- Georgia — The Georgia Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) will partner with the Department of Agriculture to raise awareness of drowsy driving through a presence at the Georgia Newsal Fair. GOHS also will produce additional materials to be distributed at other events and share NRSF drowsy driving materials across a variety of media platforms.
- Iowa — The Iowa Departments of Transportation, Public Safety, Public Health and the Iowa Insurance Division will expand on Zero Fatalities Iowa’s “Don’t let the Sleepyzzz get you” campaign from 2017 using virtual reality. Partnering with Iowa State University, Zero Fatalities Iowa will produce a 60 to 90 second virtual reality experience affirming the message that drowsy driving is not a game.
- Minnesota — The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety (DPS-OTS) will purchase wearable sleep measurement tools and software to assist research being conducted by the University of Minnesota’s HumanFIRST Laboratory on the impact of sleep patterns and prolonged wakefulness on driver safety, working to improve understanding and detection of driver fatigue nationwide.
- Nebraska — The Nebraska Department of Transportation, Highway Safety Office (NDOT-HSO) will conduct a drowsy driving injury prevention initiative, focusing on education for young adult and senior drivers. The initiative includes four coordinated events covering seven counties, providing Drowsy Driving workshops to educate community partners about traffic safety concerns and address drowsy driving injury prevention.
- New York — The New York Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (NYSGTSC) will partner with the New York State Partnership against Drowsy Driving and Stony Brook University’s School of Health Technology and Management to educate law enforcement personnel about the dangers of drowsy driving through a webinar.
“Drowsy driving continues to be a chronic and often overlooked issue on our nation’s roadways,” Adkins said. “We are excited to continue this partnership with the Newsal Road Safety Foundation to support innovative state approaches addressing this problem.”
Michelle Anderson, Director of Operations for NRSF, said, “This year’s grantees were chosen from an outstanding group of applicants dedicated to taking action against fatigued driving. NRSF is glad to provide this funding to support states as they work to keep drowsy drivers off the road.”
Truckers, loggers push back on Oregon’s climate proposals
SALEM, Ore. — Dozens of industrial trucks drove laps around the Oregon state Capitol Wednesday, blaring their horns and releasing plumes of diesel into the air as part of a demonstration against Oregon’s climate policies that loggers and truckers say will devastate their business.
It comes as a key legislative panel approved a cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, setting up the ambitious climate proposal for a full floor vote. The bill, along with another addressing diesel emissions from heavy-duty trucks, are meant to reduce the emissions behind global warming and stem the tide of climate change.
Some employers have welcomed the changes, saying cap and trade has been carefully negotiated for over a decade and will actually bring new, high paying jobs to some of the most remote parts of Oregon.
“This actually opens the door to an incredible amount of high paying jobs,” said Matt Swanson with the Northwest Carpenters Union, which represents carpenters and construction workers. “As we transition to cleaner technology, we will need more construction workers on the ground, including in rural areas, to build new infrastructure.”
The program sets aside $10 million every two years for investments in transitioning displaced workers to clean energy jobs, providing unemployment benefits plus career and technical training. There are also wage and labor standards built in to ensure these new jobs offer fair pay and other worker benefits.
But truckers and loggers say that there’s no reason for the state to move forward with such an ambitious climate platform since Oregon’s emissions make up far less than one percent of the global problem. Workers add that such emissions changes would put them out of business, raising fuel and equipment costs.
“It’s the height of conceit and arrogance to say that we are responsible for this issue or that we could even do anything to fix it,” said Gregg Budge, who owns his own trucking company in Vernonia, northwest of Portland. “If their concept of climate change is a real thing, Oregon is such a minuscule part of this world that this legislation would do nothing.”
Under a cap-and-trade program, the state puts an overall limit on emissions and auctions off pollution permits or “allowances” for each ton of carbon industries plan to emit. Only the largest polluters are targeted, and the idea is that as the emissions limit becomes stricter over time, it will be in industries’ financial interest to switch to green technology. The state ultimately aims to reduce emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.
The change is expected to raise gas prices by about 22 cents a gallon for the first year, with gas rising above $3 dollars a gallon by 2050, according to the Legislative Revenue Office. Some of those costs would be returned to low-income drivers under a fuel rebate program written into the bill.
The trucking industry is also likely to experience a reduction in tax rates, which state economists say will lower some of the financial impacts of the program.
But truckers maintain that even with those caveats, the proposals only showcase how little lawmakers understand industry in rural Oregon. Truckers have to buy their own trucks and in many cases aren’t reimbursed by employers for the price of fuel.
They say that they’re being punished double by lawmakers: cap and trade would raise fuel prices, while a proposed clean diesel bill would require some truckers to buy new engines or vehicles, upgrades that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The diesel measure aims to phase out diesel engines produced before 2007, and the proposal only applies Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties, which are primarily urban areas.
Senate President Peter Courtney addressed a crowd of protesters outside the Capitol, acknowledging their frustrations with the proposals.
“I see you glaring at me and I get that,” he told a crowd, adding that he wouldn’t “celebrate” the passage of either proposal.
Love’s launches company’s first snack line with bagged candies
OKLAHOMA CITY — Drivers can now enjoy new candy offerings at Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, thanks to the launch of the company’s snack line.
Love’s Travel Snacks, which launched June 12 with the candy line, pays tribute to Love’s heritage by including sour cherries in the shape of hearts.
Customers can also find gummy bears, gummy worms, sour gummy worms, fruity orange slices, starlight mints, French burnt peanuts, flavorful peach rings, cherry sours and assorted fruit slices, just in time for summer road trips.
Each bag sells for $1.69. Beginning June 25, the bags will go to an everyday low price of two bags for $3.
“Stopping at Love’s has become even sweeter for drivers across the country,” said Wade Hollis, senior manager of category buyers for merchandise at Love’s. “This line provides our customers good value, innovative flavors and offers they can’t find anywhere else. These products further define our commitment to highway hospitality and being the one-stop shop for travel needs.”
Hollis said the Love’s Travel Snacks line launch represents Love’s entrepreneurial culture of pushing for new products and services.
Distributing its own candy allows Love’s to better ensure store aisles remain stocked for customers who need to quickly get back on the road. Additional snacks will be launched down the road, he said.
Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores has a network of more than 480 locations in 41 states. Founded in 1964 and headquartered in Oklahoma City, the company remains family-owned and operated and employs more than 24,000 people.
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Exchange’s first female long distance driver in Europe wants more women drivers
GRUENSTADT, Germany – Heike Molter has been driving long distance for 18 years and it showed when she took her road test to drive for the Army & Air Force Exchange Service.
She aced the test on the first try and was hired in April.
“Some of the other applicants took several attempts while she only took one. We could tell she was very skilled,” said Ronald Willis, regional supervisor for the Exchange’s Europe fleet. “We knew we had to have her on the Gruenstadt team.”
Molter is the first woman hired to drive long distance with the Exchange’s Europe fleet. In fact, her application was the first from a woman in more than five years.
Molter, a German national, is also no stranger to working for the U.S. government.
She drove for the Defense Commissary Agency for seven years. When she heard from another driver that the Exchange had an opening, she jumped at the chance to apply.
“I wanted to work with Americans,” Molter said. “I’ve only had positive experiences, and the Exchange has a dedicated fleet. That’s exciting.”
The Exchange’s Europe fleet is composed of 34 long-distance drivers who deliver to locations up to 450 miles (one way).
Molter rotates daily on all routes out of Gruenstadt, most of which take four hours and average 300 miles roundtrip. She drives to stores in Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Poland and Germany and might make special runs during military exercises to Romania, Macedonia and Hungary.
Ultimately, Molter hopes more women take up truck driving, especially with the shortage of drivers in Europe. According to the European Road Freight Transport 2018 report, Germany needs 45,000 drivers to meet industry needs.
“There is a lot of opportunity for women to start driving,” Molter said. “I hope someday everyone can see that women are as good — or better — than men at truck driving.”
Regardless of whether other women join her, Molter wants to stay with the Exchange for the long haul.
“I want to one day buy a house for myself,” Molter said. “I think working for the Exchange will make that dream come true.”
Since 1895, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service has gone where soldiers, airmen and their families go to improve the quality of their lives by providing valued goods and services at exclusive military pricing.
The Exchange is the 61st-largest retailer in the United States. Its earnings provided $2.3 billion in dividends to support military morale, welfare and recreation programs over the last 10 years.
The Exchange is a non-appropriated fund entity of the Department of Defense and is directed by a board of directors.
To find out more about the exchange history and mission, visit .