Ask The Trucker

Raising the Standards of the Trucking Industry


FMCSAJobs and Careersotr truckingPoliticsSafetyTruck Driver ConventionTruck Driving JobsTruckingtrucking life

Trucker Voices Heard at First Annual Convention

Oct
26,
2011
4
Deaf Truckers United

Jesse Shelander has his "voice" heard at the 1st Annual Truck Driver Social Media Convention.

 

Attendees traveled from twenty eight U.S. states and two countries to participate in the 1st Annual Truck Driver Social Media Convention.

Drivers and industry professionals from Canada and Norway took part in the first-of-its-kind event, visiting with attendees from the following states:

Alabama Illinois New Hampshire Texas
Arizona Kentucky Nevada Wisconsin
California Louisiana New York West Virginia
Colorado Minnesota Ohio Wyoming
Delaware Missouri Oklahoma  
Florida Mississippi Pennsylvania  
Georgia Montana South Carolina  
Iowa North Carolina Tennessee  

The Annual Truck Driver Social Media Convention is to recognize and honor the professional CDL driver for their contribution to America’s economic livelihood, as well as to bring together, both driver and various industry professionals, to socialize, network and discuss those issues most vital to the driver and industry.

Above all else, it is an event where the professional driver will have the platform to speak and to be heard, raising public awareness and media exposure, strengthening the voice of the driver by becoming involved in the governmental bureaucracy of regulatory decision-making.

Freelance journalist for Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Irin Carmon and for the New York Times, Roxanna Asgarian along with senior editor for Overdrive Magazine, Todd Dills;  managing editor Kathleen Buccleugh of Truckers News Magazine ; Amanda Jakl, Editorial Assistant and Social Media Manager of Challenge Magazine; and Lynsay Caylor, social media marketing manager at Pilot Travel Centers,  were all on hand to hear what drivers had to say.

As promised, the 1st Annual Truck Driver Social Media Convention turned the mic over to the professional truck driver as the trucker’s voice was heard:

A Driver's "Voice"

A Driver's "Voice"

Jesse Shelander, a member of Facebook’s, Deaf Truckers United, had his “voice” heard through the help of interpreter, Kristy Chaney.  Jesse voiced his concern about the hearing requirement restrictions placed on the deaf, wishing to enter into a truck driving career.  They were motivated by the recent announcement from the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), which stated:

“…as a result of its ongoing advocacy with the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) more than twenty deaf and hard of hearing truck drivers who submitted applications for an exemption from the DOT hearing requirements through the NAD in July 2011 are now being considered for full Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDL) including CDL A and B to drive vehicles with and without airbrakes.”

It is the first time the United States Department of Transportation has agreed to consider waiving its hearing requirements for deaf drivers.  The announcement came just four days before the 1st Annual Truck Driver Social Media Convention.

 

Driver, Ronnie Bowen during the Open Panel Discussion

Driver, Ronnie Bowen during the Open Panel Discussion

Driver, Ronnie Bowen, Jr., stepped up to the mic to express three major points of most concern:

1. That Owner Operators and small independents were under assault with regulations, EPA, HOS, cross-border, CSA and FMCSA, as well as his concern that the American Trucking Association (ATA), is non-representative of drivers.

2. The need to have the professional driver public image “cleaned up” and to re-earn the respect that drivers’ deserve.

3. To implement an inclusion of knowledge about sharing the road with trucks in basic driver license testing.

It is interesting to note here that neither the ATA nor the FMCSA attended or even acknowledged the event.  An invitation to the FMCSA was sent, but it was declined.  One would imagine the FMCSA would appreciate meeting with those whose regulations effect, but apparently not.

 

Fred Schaffner

Fred Schaffner

 

Fred Schaffner, from The American Driver, took to the podium and challenged all driver attendees by asking, “What are we going to take with us from this convention?  Are we going to unite and act . . . or not?”

His challenge invoked emotion from the drivers present, to relay the message that drivers must unite and take action, and by raising their voices, can have a say in regulatory decisions.  Fred also speaks from experience by being the one responsible for the removal of the two hour parking limit signs from the Virginia rest areas.

 

Together, the voices of millions of professional truck drivers can make a difference.  As regulatory expert and guest speaker, Richard Wilson stated during an Overdrive Magazine interview:

“What if we said the CSA SMS rating system, for example was unfair 13 million times, is somebody going to listen?”

Because of the 1st Annual Convention, Fred Schaffner is taking action and will be attending the FMCSA Motor Carrier Safety Advisory Committee in Arlington, Virginia on Wednesday-Thursday, October 26th-27th, 2011.

The meeting will be devoted to a full discussion on the technical issues that the MCSAC should consider in providing input to the Agency as it develops functional specifications for EOBR’s.

Fred advised me earlier that, “I’m hopeful that with my attendance, truckers can begin to feel their voices will be heard.”

The Annual Truck Driver Social Media Convention was established for this very reason:  Honor and recognize our professional truck drivers and to provide a platform where their voices will be heard, not only publicly through media exposure, but where it matters the most . . . in Washington, D.C.

© 2011, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

FacebookTwitterGoogle+TumblrStumbleUponDeliciousDiggShare This!

Previous

Next

By: Allen Smith

Allen Smith is a 34 year veteran ( started at an early age in family moving business) of the trucking industry, many of those years spent over the road. He has been an owner operator, company driver, operations manager, and has owned and operated a moving company, taking many of the long haul moves himself when needed. One thing though that most will say is that the reason and motivation behind the author, Allen Smith, is the fact he is driven by the desire to help others succeed within an industry where injustice, unrewarded sacrifice, and lack of respect and recognition exists. As you read many of the blog posts you’ll discover that he is opinionated and speaks openly about the ongoing issues of the trucking industry. He supports other fellow advocates who are also stepping up to the plate to help those who are 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"

View all posts by Allen Smith →

Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

4 Responses to Trucker Voices Heard at First Annual Convention. - Post a Comment

  1. AMW

    Hey thanks for the great post..glad to visit here..pleasure to know about the new launched trucks and their reviews… AMW has launched many new Trucks and other Heavy Vehicles with latest features and quality functions….

  2. Smart Trucking

    This convention, Allen, will hopefully be recorded in trucking history in North America.
    In this industry, it is all too common to complain about how things should be, but as you well know, in order to bring about change, truckers need to be heard (speak up!), and especially unite.
    There is an awful lot of common ground…we just need to establish what we agree on in the industry, and then rise to the next level, to get some action and change. An individual does not have the klout needed for change, but they often have the ideas. Numbers have klout, and I can see that is what you are aiming at with the convention.
    I really liked a few of the points mentioned by some individuals, especially the idea of adding to the driver training program, some focus sharing the road with trucks. It is a really, really big problem on our roads. The majority of folks just do not realize the power nor the weaknesses of a big rig rolling down the road.
    A big thumbs up for all your efforts and congratulations on your success with the first conference. I hope to be able to attend next year’s conference.
    Good job!

  3. Lynsay Caylor

    Hey Allen – This is a great post to recap what was said and heard at the convention. I am so grateful that I was able to attend on behalf of Pilot Flying J so that our company can better understand that daily lives of professional drivers and how we can help make your lives better. Thank you for continuing to write about the convention so that we can all remember the great progress that has been made in bringing the voice of professional drivers together to make positive change in our industry.

  4. Allen Smith

    Thanks Lynsay! It was so great to see you and to finally meet everyone actively involved with professional drivers. The momentum has carried over with the drivers and they are even more enthused about becoming involved with many of their trucking concerns as well as being a part of next years convention, truly is an event for the professional driver and those who support them.

    See you next year! :)

What do you have to say about this?

To the top