Who is Allen Smith? It depends who you ask?
Students and New Career Seekers and New Drivers
Allen is referred to as the guy who will tell you the truth, even when you don’t want to hear it. He doesn’t pull any punches and just explains things as they are without concealing anything. He’ll steer you in the right direction, even if it’s not the direction you want to go in.
Veteran Drivers say heis the kind of person who will stand up for what’s right and be a voice for many, always trying to better things for drivers and the industry.
Friends and colleagues say that he cares as much as any when it comes to improving the conditions within the trucking industry. He goes the extra step to help drivers, students and trainees make sense of the insensible, expose the traps and deceit, guide the naïve and vulnerable, and support s his friends and those who are also helping to improve trucking. He loathes injustice and will do whatever he can to prevent and stop it.
Trucking Companies and CDL Training Schools, depending on “which ones,” many will say that he’s an asset to them within the community because he “makes them look good,” separating them from poor quality ones. Others may say he’s a whistleblower, exposing many unscrupulous tactics or behavior engaged upon.
One thing though that most will say is that the reason and motivation behind the man, Allen Smith, is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry that is many times associated with injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and an undeserving lack of respect.
As you read many of the blog posts you’ll discover that he is opinionated and speaks his mind about the ongoing issues of the trucking industry. He continues to support others who are also stepping up to the plate to help those in need of honesty, guidance and direction. The list of supporters and like minded people grows daily and their ability to network together and share their thoughts and ideas for the betterment of others within trucking, has allowed the forward movement of
“Raising the standards of the trucking industry”
Allen Smith is a 34 year veteran of the trucking industry, many of those years spent as an over the road driver. He has been an owner operator, a company driver, operations manager, and has owned and operated a successful cross country moving company.
He wrote his first book, “The Truth About Trucking” in the year 2000 in order to enlighten and share the reality of OTR trucking for those who are entering trucking.
He started his first website Truth About Trucking in 2006 and shortly after founded the AskTheTrucker Blog in 2007. In a desire to reach more people, Allen started his Blog Talk Radio ( Truth About Trucking “Live”) Recently the show has been renamed AskTheTrucker ‘Live’ with Allen Smith
The show has had many popular guests. One of the most memorable and influential guests that Allen invited on the show was Jeffrey Caldwell, Chief of Communications for VDOT. Donna had sent Mr Caldwell an email invite at 11pm the evening before the scheduled BTR broadcast. Early the following morning ,(the day of the show) Mr Caldwell accepted the invitation, eager to participate and help resolve the problems that truckers were being faced with. This was during the time when Virginia was closing down many rest areas and at the same time enforcing an old law of “ 2 hour parking” This created not just unsafe highway conditions by having tired drivers on the road, but was forcing these drivers to break the 11 hour HOS laws. It was during this show with guests Fred and JB Schaffner ( who together worked relentlessly to have the 2 hour parking law abolished) proved that the vision for positive and effective change was indeed a possibility to achieve for the benefit of the American driver.
Allen has started the petition against the unfair and abusive practices of the DAC report employed by several companies against drivers.
Allen has been a strong supporter for Jason’s Law, HR 2156, which would ensure the need for more safe truck parking. The bill was presented by Congressman Paul Tonko in 2009, who also was a memorable and influential guest on Allen’s Blog Talk Radio Show, “Truth About Trucking Live”. Allen and Donna worked with Hope Rivenburg (widow of murdered trucker Jason Rivenburg for whom the bill was named) and Congressman Tonko, playing a major part of the call to action for the National Call-In day to Congress. We are thrilled to say the 4 year battle has been won and that Jason’s Law is now in the Transportation Bill, MAP 21 as of 2012, ensuring more safe truck parking for the professional driver.
In May of 2009, Allen was contacted by producer Robin Stein of the popular Dan Rather Reports Investigative television show. The Dan Rather group was conducting an investigation on CDL training schools. After a series of lengthy interviews, Allen directed Robin to Desiree Wood, who herself had contacted Allen a year prior because of her own horrific experience that she had endured during her CDL training . (Desiree has her Student Trucker Story on the AskTheTrucker blog which we encourage you to read) The rest was history as Dan Rather conducted a 3 part investigation of the corruption existing within many of the trucking schools and companies offering CDL training.
Desiree was featured in the first episode, “Queen of the road”, and Allen was an invited audience participant speaking about the problems with CDL training for the second episode, “Truck Talk”. The 3rd episode aired not too long after, “Mind Your Loan Business”, which discussed in further detail much of the deceit existing among many CDL training facilities.
Government regulations, starting with CSA and continuing on into EOBR’s, Hours of Service regulations, possible sleep apnea laws, speed limiters, the “driver shortage”, NAFTA, and of course the inadequacy of the present CDL training for schools and company programs have been a few of the targeted focuses recently.
Allen and Donna have worked closely with Truckers Against Trafficking to educate the trucking community about how they can be a part of the solution to end the nightmares and atrocities that are occurring in our own country, many times in truck stops and travel plazas.
Allen has also been in many publication including; Truckers News, Overdrive Magazine, The Examiner, Land Line Magazine, Challenge Magazine and Peoples World. He and Donna were On Aprils 2010 Cover for the feature story, “Trucker Network” in Truckers News.
He also has a growing newsletter subscriber list of over 5000, where he communicates weekly with his followers about many of the existing issues and developments within trucking. Allen also keeps in contact with his subscribers as he alerts them to BlogTalk Radio shows as well up to date current events.
Allen and several of his colleagues and fellow drivers are active on various social media websites, the most popular being Twitter, Facebook, and Linked-In. Much of the spontaneous communication between drivers conducted through these websites has resulted in the transparency of many trucking groups and organizations, who were at one time, “not as transparent”
Our growing social media following alone is now approaching 35,000, and as the popularity of Social Media continues to grow in general, we anticipate that figure to double to double in 2015.
On October 15th 2011 in Tunica, MS, Allen and Donna hosted the ” First Annual Truck Driver Social Media Convention” designed to unite, support and recognize truck drivers for their sacrifices and accomplishments. Industry speakers and an open panel discussion will be the focus of the event allowing drivers to become informed and able to share their voices concerning the issues involving the trucking industry. Various trucking media attended, including OOIDA, LandLine Mag, and Truckers News. Journalists from BusinessWeek and the New York Times also attended.
The Following Year the 2012 convention was held in Kansas City, MO at Harrahs Convention Center. Trucking media again attended as well as the crew from the Discovery Channel where other advocates from the trucking industry were filmed, including Hope Rivenburg, advocate and crusader for Jason’s Law.
Hope Rivenburg of Jasons Law initiated the 2013 Truck Parking Survey hosted on AskTheTrucker Survey Monkey to present to DOT and Congress. Other active participants gathering data and conducting the survey included: Desiree Wood, Allen Smith, Richard Wilson, Andy Warcaba, and Sandi Talbott.
Allen is an advocate for the professional driver and continues his original objective to guide and teach CDL students and new drivers how to be successful in an industry which has many obstacles and questionable tactics to endure and overcome. He is also an advocate for safety and has over 3 million safe miles under his belt
Since the 2 conventions, Allen and Donna are known for utilizing Social Media as a powerful tool to reach thousands with a message. He and Donna created their “Circle of Trust”, maintaining Trust and Transparency, in order to bring others on board with their message and/or quality product or service to the trucking community. Their continually growing Social Media base is expected to double in 2015.
Allen enjoys, writing, flying, playing guitar, writing songs, and martial arts. He’s a father, son, husband, grandfather, and a loyal and trustworthy friend to all who know him.