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Archive for September, 2014


NMTA: Helping Truckers Succeed

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National Minority Trucking Association

National Minority Trucking Association

In the ever-changing atmosphere of the trucking industry, education is the key to not only surviving, but in achieving any level of personal or business success. Many professional truck drivers become “trapped” within the idea that the only skill they may possess is one of driving.

The National Minority Trucking Association is “committed to providing its members with comprehensive education that will enable them to succeed in all areas of the trucking and transportation industry.”

From financial planning to CDL training to assisting in employment opportunities, NMTA is leading the effort to help truckers and minority-owned motor carriers with successful business tools such as teaching how to secure and maintain government and commercial contracts, as an example.

Although their foundation is based upon the minority community, the NMTA works for all truckers, offering many services and benefits to assist in their industry success; whether it be as a driver, broker or diesel engine technician, the point is clear: there are many additional opportunities within the industry, other than “driving.”

Founder and CEO, Kevin Reid, launched the NMTA as he discovered a void in the representation and educating of minorities in the trucking and transportation industry.

Their statistics offer a clear insight into an area of trucking that very few are aware:

There are 458,729 minority owned transportation firms:

  • 44% are Hispanic
  • 37% are African-American
  • 16% are Asian
  • 3% are Native American
  • .03% are Women

There are 1.5 million minority truck drivers in the U.S:

  • 14% are African American
  • 12.6% are Hispanic
  • 5.4% are Women

The National Minority Trucking Association is already seeing a steady rise of achievements in response to their efforts. Through their commitment in helping those to succeed in the industry through education and training, providing benefits and resources and consultation and advocacy work, the NMTA reports that a 21% growth rate among minorities is projected within the industry through the year 2020.

Kevin Reid

Kevin Reid

Kevin Reid will join us as our special guest on Truth About Trucking “LIVE” on Thursday, September 25, 2014 to further discuss the future goals of the NMTA and their work in helping those to succeed in an industry which clearly shows a pattern of biased decision making, specifically toward women and minorities.

© 2014, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

Technorati Tags: business success, cdl training, Education, kevin reid, minorities, national minority trucking association, Truckers, Trucking, women truck drivers

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Category : Ask The Trucker | Blog

Trucker Issue Awareness and Mainstream Media

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Allen Smith= Host of Truth About Trucking Live

Allen Smith= Host of Truth About Trucking Live

There’s a mounting trend in the media regarding the Trucking industry, I‘d like to call it TIA or Trucker Issue Awareness. For years, drivers have attempted to put their issues in front of mainstream media, and it appears that some of driver concerns are indeed creeping in.

Let’s first review (AGAIN) just some of the issues that affect many drivers: Low wages( including not being paid for all work such as detention time), over regulations, driver harassment, lack of truck paring, cheap freight, lack of respect by employers, shippers, and even law enforcement, retaliation, poor CDL training, etc…

For many years drivers have been frustrated with the image that has been placed on them, portraying them as reckless speeding thugs blazing down the highway, without thought or care for others on the highway. Everywhere you looked there would be statistics of how many deaths occur each year involving fatal accidents with trucks, even though, almost always, stats prove that trucks were at fault only about 20% of the time.

Truckers concerns always seem to have fallen on deaf ears in the past, however of late, many of these issues have received attention by non-trucking publications.

The media has honed in for years on the topic of truck driver fatigue, giving the impression to the general public that drivers deliberately go hours and hours without sleep in order to increase their individual profits. It wasn’t until the recent Walmart Tracy Morgan accident that the media started to investigate and understand the dilemma drivers face regarding Hours of Service, ELD’s, and that “precious time” remaining on the drivers 14 hour clock. That time which is often carefully guarded by companies to ensure that none is wasted.

I believe another reason there is more attention given to driver problems is the extensive industry claim to the truck driver shortage. It isn’t until the general public is faced with the fear of how “things will affect them”, that so many begin to take notice. That’s when people start to care and begin to ask, “why is there a shortage?” It’s this general public concern which has opened the door to discussion of driver issues, driver pay  being a lead topic by many.

A major topic which was revealed on our Truth About Trucking ‘Live” radio show was the lack of truck parking which is causing serious problems for professional drivers and compromising the safety of all using the highways. “Truck Parking Shortage: Drivers at Risk”
Many shippers and receivers, even though they are aware of the parking shortage problems that drivers face, still do not allow drivers to park on their property prior to PU or delivery. This was the case for Michael Boeglin who was shot and killed as he waited outside the property of shipper ThysennKrupp. The same can be said for Jason Rivenburg who was also shot and killed in 2009.  Jason’s Law for more safe Truck Parking is now in MAP21.

Another issue which was brought up on the show that night was the fact that law enforcement is in the practice of waking drivers up during their federally mandated breaks. This led to a following radio show with Kenny Capell and Martin Hill as they shared their story on Truth about Trucking Lives’ show titled, “Truckers Right to Sleep and the 4th Amendment” Martin Hill is the founder of Don’t Wake Me Up

CDL driver Kenny Cappel explains how he was arrested for obstructing justice by Georgia Motor Carrier Compliance Officer Leigh A. Parsons as he refused to violate the Federally mandated Hours of Service rule. This led to SBTC ( Small Business in Transportation Coalition) to File a Police Misconduct Complaint with U.S. Dept. of Justice. Kenny is scheduled for a court date on October 10th so it will be interesting to see how the US DOJ handles this complaint. Read more here

Abe Attallah- ABC's 2020

Abe Attallah- ABC’s 2020

The most recent story covered by the media was by ABC’s 20/20 as they interviewed Abe Attallah To watch the  20/20 show “The Dangers of Forcing Truck Drivers to Drive Sleep Deprived”

Let’ us conclude by saying that it is not just mainstream media that needs to understand the truth about driver issues, but the industry as a whole needs to become involved and become accountable in order to solve the problems that professional driver face. Drivers are the backbone of the industry, and for all those who claim they are concerned about drivers, their concerns, and the possibility of a driver shortage, then must be taken,  just talking about things isn’t going to cut it.


North American Trucking Alerts- Awareness and Accountability

North American Trucking Alerts- Awareness and Accountability

North American Truck Alerts— Be a part of the solution

© 2014, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

Technorati Tags: Abe Attallah, Jason’s law- H.R.2156 S971, kenny capell, Michael Boeglin, North American Trucking Alerts, SBTC, ThysennKrupp, truck drivers, truck parking shortage, trucker issues, Trucking, trucking accountability, truth about trucking live

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Trucker tells all about Safety in Trucking on ABC’s 20/20

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Abe Attallah of Run Hard Convoy- Tells all on 20/20- 9/12/14 - 10 PM ET on ABC

Abe Attallah of Run Hard Convoy- Tells all on 20/20


Mark down the date and time
Friday September 12th
10pm ET
ABC’s 20/20



Professional CDL truck driver Abe Attallah was interviewed by ABC’s 20/20 regarding the topic of Safety in the Trucking Industry. Also interviewed for the segment were relatives of comedian James McNair, known as Jimmy Mack, who was killed during the famous Tracey Morgan “Walmart Crash”.  The show is scheduled to be aired on Friday 9/12/14 at 10 PM.

As many may remember back in March, Mr Attallah, while working for K&B Transportation, notified his dispatcher that he was too fatigued to drive.  Truck drivers have the full right and authority to determine when it is unsafe to drive, period. ( FMCSA Regulation § 392.3

Once the dispatcher is informed by the driver, the conversation should be over, but that is not what happened to Abe.   Read more

Mr Attallah recorded the conversation between himself and dispatch. He had experienced this kind of behavior in the past and decided to have evidence of it this time. The video was made to submit to K& B as proof, but Abe said that when he did submit it to the safety department, their reply to him was,  “that’s how we do things here at K&B….. . At that point he made the video public.   Richard Wilson of TCRG consulting spoke to Abe and then notified FMCSA soon after the incident occurred.  FMCSA was “enlightened” of this type of behavior ( which prior to this incident, they had only “heard” of such occurrences)


After the video went viral on YouTube, the owner of K&B apologized to Abe. Abe stayed for 3 more weeks with K&B, however, the company continued to stack his breaks and he had two more incidents with the same dispatchers that were recorded in the video.  Abe decided to then quit.

Recently Abe got a copy of his DAC report from HireRight, and instead of a comment by K&B on his DAC, Abe has told us that it says to call them ( K&B) for more details. Gotta love the DAC report… and the companies that use it for retaliation.

© 2014, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.

Technorati Tags: ABC 20/20, Abe Attallah, cdl truck driver, FMCSA, K&B Transportation, safety in the trucking industry, safety in trucking, TCRG Consulting, truck driver fatigue

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Veteran driver Hal Kiah’s insight of the trucking industry

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Hal Kiah of Truck Driving Career and North American Trucking Alerts

Hal Kiah of Truck Driving Career and North American Trucking Alerts

Our friend and fellow truck driver advocate, Hal Kiah, shares his thoughts about the trucking industry and explains why he believes truckers are leaving their driving careers.
As a veteran driver, Hal has been instrumental in the last few years, aiding and mentoring other drivers via social media and personal communication.
Mr Kiah is presently part of the North American Trucking Alerts (NATA)website and Facebook Page, which had it’s preview on 9/6/14, and is scheduled to launch in October 2014.  The theme of NATA is “bringing awareness and accountability to the trucking industry”


Veteran driver Hal Kiah’s insight of the trucking industry

Trucking is an industry where everything that makes this country what it is,  revolves around what trucking is, which is the men and women who make the wheels roll through the country, and deliver the products this country relies upon to market. Without those men and women behind the wheel, whether it is in an 18 wheeler, or a straight truck making the local delivery, this country will come to a stop… Fast!

The average person is totally unaware of this because they are fully used to seeing product on the store shelves, at the dealership, the local convenient store, or even at the factories people work at, making everything we have…Everywhere!

Only recently, have companies started seeing the writing on the wall, observing that truckers, especially the more senior truckers, have been walking out the door and handing the keys back to the trucking companies, finally walking away from a lifestyle that they came into because they WANTED to, and loved doing.

Reason?? There are a number of reasons;

(1)       Driver Wages- Drivers have been getting paid at what are essentially early 70′s rates. This has been keeping drivers on the road for not just a Couple of weeks at a time to make their bills and help them put some money in the bank, but much longer, with no visible increase in the money they work for, and need, in order to just make ends meet at home to feed their families, pay rent and utilities, car payments, you name it. Drivers only get paid while the wheels are turning, which means that much of their time parked and waiting, doing paperwork, inspections, or anything else work related without the truck moving, is not compensated for.

(2)       Companies have been treating drivers like a commodity that is available without restriction, giving drivers the feeling (and justifiably so) that companies believe drivers are a “Dime-a-dozen”, behaving as if there is no end to the supply of drivers out there.

(3)       There are some trucking companies out there, (and trucking schools) that have their own driver training program for new drivers, and many senior drivers believe that these schools are entirely inadequate. Drivers are basically “pumped” through many trucking schools with just the basics of operating a truck, without the necessary training to get both driver, rig, and load, down the road safely.

(4) Drivers have been constantly facing more and more regulation changes in addition to what they were already facing, with a group, or groups, of people constantly pushing for changes that make NO sense, and whose colleagues have never operated a big rig, nor have even sat or ridden in one, to know exactly what is involved with not just driving these rigs, but getting from one end of the country to the other, Safely.

(5) Thanks to the thinking of “people in the know”, drivers have suddenly realized that they are classified by the Department of Labor as no more than “Unskilled Labor”. Professional drivers know that it take far more skill to operate these rigs today than ever before;  Knowing how to have a truck properly loaded, so that it is within legal weight standards, making turns in such a way as to avoid accidents, knowing how to make the rig get up and down steep grades at proper speeds, knowing the equipment well enough to know what needs to be fixed, having the knowledge to load and haul oversized loads with specialized equipment without having damage done to either, handling hazardous materials loads and how they must be loaded for safe transport, safely getting them transported past communities, so that in the event of an incident, communities will not be adversely affected.

All these things, and more, require many skills that not everyone has the capabilities to perform, making truckers some of THE most skilled people out there. Professional drivers  come from various backgrounds and life skills;
military personnel, former police, firefighters, medics, office managers, doctors, lawyers, teachers. Every branch of life there is in this country has some very skilled people now working in the trucking industry, that are more skilled than people realize.

The regulations changes mentioned are one of the major reason that drivers are leaving the industry, and with drivers leaving like they are, the shortage of QUALIFIED drivers is just going to grow and grow, with no end in sight, unless something heavily drastic and necessary takes place.  It’s going to take more than just trucking companies stepping up to make the changes. It’s going to take shippers, receivers, manufacturers, ports, Everyone, to include the general public… to get involved with helping these drivers be more than just a bunch of “meat behind the wheel”.

Another thing that HAS to take place, is much better “driver education” programs at local schools, with INSTRUCTORS being properly trained in how to educate today’s young drivers in sharing the highways Safely with the bigger equipment on the road, telling  new drivers things like, “Just don’t be scared around the big trucks” and then assuming, that’s all it takes.   This just will not do!

It is time, past time actually, that something finally takes place, to fight to change what is going on, and to see to it, that the situation that this country faces, is changed, for the better. And not just by truckers, and trucking companies, but by everyone, because without everyone participating, these changes cannot take place, and it has to be with a unified effort. In other words, we must all be accountable.

Without truckers, and the rigs they drive, companies cannot exist, freight cannot make it to market, products cannot be produced, food, clothing, medicine, all the necessities of life, cannot make it to the public. But given the Right steps, These changes CAN, take place!

© 2014, Hal Kiah. All rights reserved.

Technorati Tags: driver wages, Hal Kiah, North American Trucking Alerts, social media, truck driving, truck regulations, Truckers, trucking schools, unskilled labor

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Category : Ask The Trucker | Blog