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“Everyday Heroes” Kenworth T680 will once again be auctioned to support Truckers Against Trafficking

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TOLLESON, Ariz. — In an effort to further educate and fund efforts against human trafficking, Inland Kenworth has once again put together a special “Everyday Heroes” Kenworth T680 with a very distinctive paint scheme and signage.

The project, in conjunction with Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT), has received significant support from platinum sponsors Kenworth Truck Co., Inland Kenworth and Ritchie Bros., along with other leading industry suppliers.

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CAPTION FOR PHOTO

Courtesy: KENWORTH TRUCK CO.

Proceeds from the sale of this Kenworth T680, which has a retail value of $162,000, will go directly to Truckers Against Trafficking, a non-profit organization devoted to stopping human trafficking by educating, mobilizing, and empowering the nation’s truck drivers and rest stop employees.

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The Kenworth T680 Everyday Heroes truck will make its first public appearance at TAT’s Everyday Heroes Truck press conference on January 15 on the National Mall in Washington., From there, the truck will be displayed at the American Trucking Associations Technology and Maintenance Council 2019 annual meeting in Atlanta March 18-21, the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky, March 28-30 and at Richie Bros., which will host the auction of the TAT Kenworth T680 in Phoenix on May 17.

Proceeds from the sale of the Kenworth T680, which has a retail value of $162,000, will go directly to TAT – a 501(c)3 non-profit devoted to stopping human trafficking by educating, mobilizing, and empowering the nation’s truck drivers and rest stop employees.

The special Kenworth T680 is fully loaded with a 76-inch sleeper, 485-hp Paccar MX-13 engine, and Paccar 12-speed automated transmission.

Don Blake, who serves as new truck sales manager at Inland Kenworth-Phoenix, is again spearheading the effort.

Blake said he’s been touched by the industry support for the Everyday Heroes Truck.

“This started out as an idea in 2017 that got rolling, and it was a great success. Now, the sponsors we’ve worked with again are so supportive. It shows our industry’s true colors to pull together to raise money for a great cause,” Blake said. “I’m especially appreciative to Kenworth. When I reached out to see if they would be a sponsor again, they were more than happy to help. Kenworth has been great to work with, and in 2019, the T680 will have its own booth at TMC and the Mid-America Trucking Show.

“Kenworth is a strong supporter of the efforts of Don Blake and Inland Kenworth in this important project. Don’s involvement with Truckers Against Trafficking is inspiring, and we look forward to a very successful fund-raising auction in May,” said Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director.

Even with the auction still five months away, Blake is ahead of schedule with signing sponsors at different sponsorship levels that help build the T680.

“Nearly every company that donated in the 2017 auction has agreed to sponsor the truck in 2019, and we’ve added new sponsors this year as well,” Blake said. “There are many good companies willing to donate their time and money to this great cause. When the auction is done, there will be an owner with a special truck that is fitted with the best specs.”

Entities providing support for the 2019 Everyday Heroes Kenworth T680 include platinum level sponsors Kenworth Truck Co., Inland Kenworth and Ritchie Bros; gold level sponsors Paccar Engine, SEG Automotive, and Swift Charities; silver level sponsors Bendix, Bridgestone, Eaton, FlowBelow, Horton, Jost, Meritor, Paccar Financial, Paccar, PeopleNet, Utility Trailer Sales of Arizona, and Wabco; and bronze level sponsors Alcoa, Arizona Rock Product Association, Arizona Trucking Association, Beaver Stripes and Molding, Chevron, ConMet, Davco, East Penn, Ex-Guard, National Seats, PrePass/Help Inc, Sheppard, and Tectran.

Blake’s initiative to contribute to TAT’s efforts led to an expanded role with the organization.  “Don became a TAT board member shortly after the 2017 auction,” said Kendis Paris, executive director of Truckers Against Trafficking. “Not only did we ask him to join the board due to his tremendous work on the Everyday Heroes Truck, but because Don is a true TAT champion. He believes deeply in the mission and enlists his resources and ideas.”

Through his involvement as a TAT board member, Blake is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the Everyday Heroes Truck press conference.

“I look forward to speaking and plan to share my story on how a small group of people can make a difference,” Blake said. “This organization means a lot to me. I have two daughters, and I can’t imagine anyone being subjected to human trafficking. There is a lot of work ahead to bring down this terrible crime, but I will continue to do my part.”

“The resources that Don orchestrates on TATs behalf allow us to deliver on our mission, which ultimately means more victims of human trafficking being recovered,” Paris said. “Not only does Don inspire others to join our cause, he inspires the TAT staff as well. He reminds us of the power of TAT champions and what can be accomplished when a person is truly motivated.”

According to Paris, truckers are making a big difference.

In the United States alone, profits from the crime of human trafficking are estimated to be worth $32 billion.

“Each year, more truck drivers and truck stop operators are added to the network of TAT trained and educated members – over 663,000 to date,” Paris said. “They are our eyes and ears out on the road and are relied upon to report suspicious activity.”

To further its education, TAT has the Freedom Driver’s project – a mobile exhibit, which educates members of the trucking industry.

“Through the project, we are able to educate more drivers each year,” Paris said. “They know how to identify and report suspicious activity to local law enforcement, which is making a huge impact towards generating human trafficking cases.

Through the national hotline (888-3737-888) operated by the National Human Trafficking Hotline, 2,250 calls have been made by truckers alone since the program began in 2009. So far, we’ve had more than 600 likely human trafficking cases, involving over 1,100 victims … many of whom are minors.”

Paris said TAT is paving the way in an effort to increase the public’s awareness about the crime of human trafficking.

In October 2018, a 15-person Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking was developed by the U.S. Department of Transportation. TAT’s Paris serves as one of the members. The committee’s goal is to develop strategies for reporting trafficking and provide DOT-funded programs that will tackle the growing issue. The committee held its first public meeting in early December.

More information is available on the TAT website at www.truckersagainsttrafficking.org.

 

 

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The Nation

ATA hints it may sue Virginia over proposal to toll Interstate 81

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The proposed toll legislation for Interstate 81 would charge commercial trucks at 17 cents per mile, personal vehicles at about 11 cents per mile and offering an annual pass to commuters in passenger vehicles. (Courtesy: WIKIPEDIA)

RICHMOND, Va. — The American Trucking Association hinted Thursday it may sue the State of Virginia over legislation that proposes charging tolls on Interstate 81.

The ATA did so in a letter to Connecticut Gov. Ralph Northam opposing the legislation which Northam touts as the best way to fund improvements to the 325-mile interstate between Bristol and Winchester.

The bill proposes tolling commercial trucks at 17 cents per mile, personal vehicles at about 11 cents per mile and offering an annual pass to commuters in passenger vehicles.

The letter, signed by Jennifer Hall, the ATA’s general counsel and executive vice president, legal affairs, says that if adopted in their current form would not only be poor public policy, but would raise serious legal issues and may create an “impermissible burden” on interstate commerce.

The proposed plan has four options for tolling.

The ATA letter dealt with the option that would toll all vehicles with an annual pass available exclusively to automobiles.

“The car-only annual pass proposal is unlawful under the U.S. Constitution because it represents an impermissible burden on interstate commerce,” Hall wrote. “More specifically, the U.S. Supreme Court has explained that, under the Commerce Clause, a transportation user fee is permissible only “if it (1) is based on some fair approximation of use of the facilities, (2) is not excessive in relation to the benefits conferred, and (3) does not discriminate against interstate commerce.”

Plan’s car-only annual pass option would fail this test for a variety of reasons, the ATA said, noting:

  • User fees would bear no relationship to use of the tolled roads;
  • Tolls on commercial vehicles would be excessive in relation to the benefits conferred;
  • The plan favors noncommercial vehicles over commercial vehicles, which power interstate commerce.

The ATA said by allowing automobiles the opportunity to pay a one-time fee for unlimited travel over the course of the year, but to deny that flat-rate opportunity to trucks, means that the proposal is not “based on some fair approximation of use.”

On the contrary, for a passenger car availing itself of the annual pass option, its user fees will bear no relationship whatsoever to its use of the tolled roads. Trucks, by contrast, will have no choice but to pay on a trip-by-trip basis, the federation claimed.

Hall said the proposed toll scheme discriminates against interstate commerce by favoring noncommercial vehicles over commercial vehicles—i.e., the very vehicles by which interstate commerce moves.

“The Supreme Court has expressly held that highway user fees ‘discriminate against out-of-state vehicles’ when they predictably ‘subject them to a much higher charge per mile travelled in the state,’ and ‘do not even purport to approximate fairly the cost or value of the use of [the] roads,” the letter said. “That is precisely what the proposed toll scheme does, by allowing automobiles — and only automobiles — the option of an annual flat fee that translates to a predictably lower charge per mile the more such vehicles use the road.”

If the ATA files suit against the toll plan in Virginia, it would be the second lawsuit regarding tolls in the past six months.

“We encourage you and the Assembly to think carefully about these issues before Virginia takes any further steps in the direction it appears to be heading; and to bear in mind that the auto-only annual pass option will be vulnerable to a legal challenge if it moves forward,” Hall concluded letter.

If a lawsuit filed against the director of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, ATA charges that the Rhode Island tolls violate the Commerce Clause of the Constitution by imposing “discriminatory and disproportionate burdens on out-of-state operators and on truckers who are operating in interstate commerce.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association recently filed a lawsuit against Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, the Indiana Finance Authority, the Indiana Toll Road Concession Co., and the commissioner of the Indiana Department of Transportation challenging the increased tolls on heavy vehicles on the Indiana Toll Road. They were implemented last October.  8

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The Nation

Runaway ‘bobtail’ tractor crashes into Atlanta motel

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Police said this “bob-tail” tractor left the road, hit a parked car and ran into the side of a motel. (Atlanta Channel 2 Action News photo)

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported Thursday that a driver is in custody after crashing a tractor-trailer into a motel in northwest Atlanta and running from the scene, officials said.

Atlanta Fire Rescue spokesman Sgt. Cortez Stafford told AJC.com that the truck went “partially” into the side of the Airway Motel in the 700 block of Fulton Industrial Boulevard on Thursday morning. There were no reports of injuries.

The “bobtail” tractor-trailer left the road, hit a parked limousine and went into the one-story building about 9:15 a.m., Atlanta police Officer Jarius Daugherty said.

The driver ran but was captured nearby, police said. His identity and the charges against him have not been released.

A woman was inside the motel room where the truck hit, but she was able to escape by climbing out of a back window, Channel 2 Action News reported.

“I just started crying and screaming,” the woman, Lashonda Allen, told the news station. “I was just praying to God the semi-truck didn’t catch on fire.”

Crews are checking the structural integrity of the building and investigating what sparked the crash.

By noon, the truck had been removed, and a gaping hole remained in the brick building.

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The Nation

Oops! New York state did not previously enforce ELD rule, now making up for lost time

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The ELD mandate was a 2012 law passed under former President Barack Obama. The provision was championed as a way to protect the safety of truckers and others on the road. The Trucker file photo.

ALBANY, N.Y. — There’s always a straggler in the bunch. Unknown to many, New York state has not previously been enforcing the federal electronic logging device (ELD) mandate because it never adopted the ELD rule under its state laws and thus lacked the authority to enforce it.

According to the Trucking Association of New York (TANY), the New York State DOT has now issued an emergency rulemaking and begun enforcement of the ELD mandate.

TANY added in a news release that they have been told carriers not in compliance with the ELD mandate will be placed out-of-service as early as Thursday, January 17.

The ELD rule issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration went into effect in December 2017 and state governments were to have followed suit by incorporating the federal ELD rule into their state laws.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has pursued lawsuits with certain states that have enforced the mandate while lacking a state-level law.

The ELD mandate has been unpopular among some truckers, who say it harms their schedules, take-home pay, and safety. Other truckers have said they like electronic logging once they get used to it.

When OOIDA sued New York, their complaint was dismissed — not because the New York court agreed with the state’s actions to enforce the federal law, but because New York wasn’t enforcing the law in the first place, according to Business Insider.

The snafu came to light in a State of New York Supreme Court ruling and opinion issued on December 31 by Judge Richard M. Platkin.

“Drivers are not being stopped, cited, or placed out-of-service pursuant to the ELD rule,” Platkin wrote.

Marc Berger, the chief motor-carrier investigator for New York’s Department of Transportation, said in the December 31 ruling that there are “no notices of violation or uniform traffic tickets being issued citing ELD provisions.”

The other defendants in the case — New York’s state police and the Department of Motor Vehicles — also stated that the ELD law hasn’t been enforced.

The ELD mandate electronically enforces the Hours of Service (HOS) law, which has been in effect since the federal government began regulating trucking in the 1930s. The HOS law stipulates that truckers can drive no more than 11 hours in a 14-hour period, a provision that some truckers say doesn’t reflect the nature of their work.

New York state said in the ruling that it does in fact enforce the HOS, but that the law is more challenging to enforce if ELDs are used.

The ELD mandate came into effect by means of a 2012 law passed under former President Barack Obama. The provision was championed as a way to protect the safety of truckers and others on the road. FMCSA estimated in 2014 that ELDs could prevent up to 1,714 crashes, 522 injuries, and 24 deaths each year.

But some truckers maintain ELDs are doing the opposite, while truck lobbying groups say it’s really not ELDs drivers have a problem with, it’s the unbendable nature of the HOS, which need more flexibility.

“The electronic logs are supposed to make it safer, but really it has created a hazardous race to beat the clock,” career truck driver Steve Manley, 51, told Business Insider. “Drivers are now more reckless than ever trying to make it to their destination before the clock runs out with the mandatory breaks and such.”

A TANY news release said despite New York State not enforcing the ELD mandate, it did enforce HOS and that FMCSA roadside inspections and on-site audits enforced the ELD mandate.

“Due to this, TANY continued to advise members to be in compliance with the ELD mandate regardless of the situation with New York enforcement,” the association said.

 

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