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TMAF celebrates 4 years of progress building its brand awareness as industry advocate



 Trucking Moves America Forward is getting its message seen across the country on 186 truck wraps, each seen by an estimated 16 million people a year.

Quick quiz:  We’ve all heard of the company IBM, but do you know what the letters stand for? How about CBS? Or CVS, as in CVS Pharmacy?

Chances are good you didn’t know all three. Over time some entities become so well-known by their acronym that it replaces the full name – KFC, anyone? In a few rare cases, the alphabet can disappear altogether and a logo becomes all a company needs to be identified, like those golden arches you see hovering over the next off-ramp.

In Trucking Moves America Forward’s case, the name is the logo. But more people in trucking are starting to recognize “TMAF” and what it stands for, and that’s good enough for TMAF co-chairman Kevin Burch and executive committee member Elisabeth Barna.

“The branding has been established, and now it’s starting to resonate to the point that people understand what we are doing,” Barna said at the Mid-American Trucking Show in late March.

It was four years earlier at MATS that TMAF was born, created to accentuate and project a positive image of the trucking industry. Every year when MATS rolls around, TMAF marks its unofficial birthday by releasing their annual report, which this year was titled “The Many Faces of Trucking.”

Prior to MATS, Burch, Barna and other TMAF officials held a press teleconference to highlight some of last year’s successes.

They pointed to the organization’s trailer wrap program, which spreads positive images and information about the trucking industry on the sides of tractor-trailers around the country. It grew to 184 trucks in 2017. Each truck is seen by an estimated 16 million sets of eyes on the highway.

The wraps, Barna said, “they’re like rolling billboards.”

An actual billboard campaign during National Truck Driver Awareness Week generated another estimated 17.4 million impressions.

TMAF’s presence on social media grew in 2017, they reported. The group’s Facebook page now has over 13,500 followers, a 17 percent growth. Twitter followers rose by 32 percent, LinkedIn followers rose 39 percent, and Instagram followers more than doubled. TMAF also launched a blog on Medium, an online publishing forum, which is already closing in on 100 followers.

TMAF’s profile got a big boost when Burch and others from the group were part of a contingent headed by the American Trucking Associations that visited the White House last spring and invited President Donald Trump to climb up inside a cab to see what today’s truck looks like.

And, of course, 2017 saw the debut of Safety Sammy, TMAF’s mascot and goodwill ambassador. Officially named at last year’s Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, the anthropomorphic truck has been touring the country, drawing attention to TMAF and its mission.

About midway through MATS, Burch and Barna sat down to talk about how far TMAF has come in raising its profile and getting out its message.

“It’s amazing to think of how much progress we have made,” Burch said.  Both he and Barna acknowledged that when TMAF began they knew that improving trucking’s image was going to take time.

“Let’s face it, we didn’t get to this situation overnight,” Burch said. Trucking’s lived with an image problem for decades. He recounted an incident 15 years ago when that was made bluntly clear to him.

He’d been asked to speak at a high school career day. Two days before the event, he got a call from the principal, who apologized and told him that several of the parents had looked at the list of scheduled presenters and asked that both trucking and tool and die be pulled from the career day itinerary.

A big part of trucking’s problem is that much of the public’s perception is frozen in some decades-old stereotype. This is why so much of TMAF’s strategy to improve trucking’s image is with imagery, they explained.

TMAF conducts polls on a regular basis, Barna said. They have found that the more someone knows somebody in the trucking industry, the better their perception of the industry is.  But even if it’s just on a billboard or truck wrap, adding a picture of a truck driver, especially with their family, up there with a few bullet points improves viewer response.

The same study that determined every trailer wrap generates 16 million views also found that 97.5 percent of vewers were left with a positive impression of the industry.

The expansion of the visual campaign and the increased social media presence give TMAF officials reason to celebrate because it indicates the organization has entered a new phase in its long-term strategy.

From the beginning, Barna said, the belief has been that the best way to improve trucking’s image is to first improve its self-image.  That’s why for the first few years of its existence TMAF focused most of its efforts within the industry.

“There are so many times, you’ll hear someone say, ‘well, I’m just a truck driver,’” Barna said. “Just a truck driver? Do you know how important you are to everyone’s everyday lives? It goes back to having respect for what you do yourself, and then you gain respect from everyone else.

“If you’re proud of what you do and you gain respect for that, you’re a much better driver and a much better ambassador for the industry.”

Every year TMAF does a callout, asking people in trucking to send in photos of themselves and their trucks. The response grows every year. “It’s exciting to see people that want to get involved,” Barna said.

Having a good feeling about the trucking profession – this is where Safety Sammy comes in. Burch recalled he was at the National Truck Driving Championships a couple years ago and noticed they had a big duck mascot. He started thinking, “Why don’t we have a mascot?” Sports teams have them, and they become symbols for fans to rally around.

Sammy presents the friendliest of images for trucking. And, of course, he’s a kid magnet, which hopefully will have long-term benefits.

The industry is going to need a million new drivers in the next 10 years, Burch said. It will be a lot easier to convince young people to consider a career in trucking if they have a positive impression of the industry from a young age.

In the shorter term, TMAF is doing what it can to show people who are already driving age that trucking is a lot more appealing than those old stereotypes. Truck drivers today might be your next-door neighbor. They’re raising families, going to your church. They sleep in the same bed every night, Barna quipped, the only difference is that bed moves around the country.

Burch pointed out another facet of improving the image of trucking is to improve the image of trucks. That White House visit was a great example of how people react when they see a modern, well-maintained cab.

“The president wanted to get up into one of the trucks,” Burch recalled. He said when Trump climbed in with an instructor, he shut the door behind him, much to the dismay of the Secret Service. Later, the instructor said the president asked him about the all new safety technology he’d been hearing about.

That’s pretty typical, Burch said. Whether it’s a congressman or your average citizen, “when they look inside the reaction is, ’Whoa! This isn’t what I thought it looked like.’”

“The comfort area has drastically changed, just like the way cars are today compared to like in the ’60s and ’70s,” Burch added. And then when you start explaining all the safety technology: lane departure, anti-rollover, etc., younger people especially are impressed.

“We’re safer today than we were 20 or 30 years ago,” he said.

Of course, not everyone who sees what modern trucks are like is going to run out and get their CDL. But everything that helps show people what trucks and the people who drive them are really like today plays a part in TMAF’s mission.

“Telling the story, that’s what it’s really all about,” Barna said.

FYI – in case you are still wondering, IBM stands for International Business Machines, CBS was originally the Columbia Broadcasting System, and CVS Pharmacy once went by the name Consumer Value Stores.

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International Trucks makes Bendix Wingman Fusion standard on on-highway tractors



Offering Bendix Wingman Fusion is part of International Truck’s DriverFirst philosophy, a company executive said. Pictured is the International LoneStar Low Roof model. (Courtesy: NAVISTAR )

LISLE, Ill. — International Truck now offers Bendix Wingman Fusion, an integration of advanced safety technologies, as standard equipment on the entire lineup of on-highway tractors, including the International LoneStar, LT Series and RH Series trucks.

Bendix Wingman Fusion is the Bendix flagship collision mitigation technology integrating radar, camera, and the vehicle’s brake system into a driver assistance system that delivers driver alerts and interventions to help them mitigate rear-end collisions, rollovers, and a loss-of-control situations.

Wingman Fusion combines and cross-checks information from sensors that are working together — not just in parallel — along with powerful computing, to typically assesses situations faster and reacts earlier, while also helping to significantly reduce false alerts and false interventions, according to Jim Nachtman, director, heavy-duty, marketing, International Truck.

By creating a highly detailed and accurate data picture, he said, Bendix Wingman Fusion delivers enhanced rear-end collision mitigation, and adaptive cruise control, along with following distance alerts, stationary object alerts, lane departure warning, alerts when speeding, and braking on stationary vehicles – all while prioritizing alerts to help reduce driver distraction. Event-based data – including video – can be wirelessly transmitted for driver coaching and analysis by fleet safety personnel. Other options include blind spot detection that helps drivers address vehicles in their blind spots that may not be visible in their mirrors. The forward-facing camera of Wingman Fusion is powered by the Mobileye System-on-Chip EyeQ processor with state-of-the-art vision algorithms.

“As part of our DriverFirst philosophy, we concentrate on consistently improving the overall driver experience, specifically safety,” Nachtman said. “Partnering with Bendix to make Fusion standard on all of International Truck’s heavy-duty vehicles makes for an important joint contribution to make North American roadways safer for everyone.”

Since the introduction of Bendix Wingman Fusion in 2015, International Truck has offered the technology as an option for all on-highway models. Bendix Wingman Fusion is also available as an option on International’s medium-duty lineup, including the International MV Series, HV Series, HX Series and CV Series trucks.

“Bendix’s ongoing partnership with Navistar is built on years of shared commitment to driver, vehicle, and highway safety,” said Scott Burkhart, Bendix vice president – sales, marketing, and business development. “International Truck’s positioning of Wingman Fusion as standard equipment on its complete line of on-highway tractors is both a point of pride for the entire Bendix team and another step forward alongside a true leader in our industry.”

According to Bendix, its safety technologies complement safe driving practices and are not intended to enable or encourage aggressive driving. No commercial vehicle safety technology replaces a skilled, alert driver exercising safe driving techniques and proactive, comprehensive driver training. Responsibility for the safe operation of the vehicle remains with the driver at all times.

For more information on International Truck’s product lineup or to locate a dealer, visit


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TCA, CarriersEdge name top 20 Best Fleets to Drive For



An overall winner in the large and small fleet categories will be named during TCA’s annual convention March 10-13 at the Wynn Las Vegas Resort.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — With a record number of nominees and finalists, the Truckload Carriers Association and CarriersEdge have named the 2019 Best Fleets to Drive For.

“When it comes to working with drivers, our Top 20 Best Fleets to Drive For are North America’s best-of-the best in the for-hire trucking segment,” said CarriersEdge Chief Executive Officer Jane Jazrawy. “This recognition program is now in its 11th year, and each year we’ve seen fleets up their game – making a positive difference in the lives of drivers with innovative programs.”

The Top 20 carriers will be divided into the 10 largest and 10 smallest and an overall winner in each group will be named during TCA’s annual convention March 10-13 at the Wynn Las Vegas Resort.

The 2019 Top 20 Best Fleets to Drive For include:

American Central Transport, Kansas City, Missouri; Bennett Motor Express, McDonough, Georgia’ Bison Transport, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; Boyle Transportation, Billerica, Massachusetts; Central Oregon Truck Co., Redmond, Oregon; Crete Carrier Corp., Lincoln, Nebraska; Epes Transport System, Greensboro, North Carolina; Erb Transport, New Hamburg, Ontario, Canada; FTC Transportation, Oklahoma City; Garner Trucking, Findlay, Ohio; Grand Island Express, Grand Island, Nebraska; Halvor Lines, Superior, Wisconsin; Landstar System,  Jacksonville, Florida;        Maverick Transportation, North Little Rock, Arkansas; Motor Carrier Service, Northwood, Ohio; Nussbaum Transportation Services, Hudson, Illinois; Prime Inc., Springfield, Missouri; Thomas E. Keller Trucking, Defiance, Ohio; TLD Logistics Services, Knoxville, Tennessee; and Transpro Freight Systems Limited, Milton, Ontario, Canada.

In addition to the Top 20, TCA and CarriersEdge identified five Fleets to Watch (honorable mentions):

Fortigo Freight Services, Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada; Leavitt’s Freight Service, Springfield, Oregon; Liberty Linehaul, Ayr, Ontario, Canada; Roehl Transport, Marshfield, Wisconsin; and TransLand, Strafford, Missouri.

Three fleets have also achieved the milestone of five consecutive years on the list, including Boyle Transportation, Nussbaum Services and TLD Logistics.

To be considered for the Best Fleets program, companies operating 10 or more trucks had to receive a nomination from at least one of their company drivers or owner operators. The fleets were then evaluated using a scoring matrix covering a variety of categories, including total compensation, health benefits, performance management, professional development, and career path/advancement opportunities, among other criteria. Driver surveys were also conducted to collect input from drivers and independent contractors working with the fleets.

TCA President John Lyboldt said the Best Fleets program and its annual list of the Top 20 has grown to become one of the most anticipated announcements in the industry.

“The winners have set the bar high when it comes to keeping their professional truck drivers engaged while also providing a superior work environment,” he said. “This coveted contest reveals the tremendous efforts put forth by these driver-centric companies.”

“We do a very thorough analysis and take a deep dive into each fleet’s programs,” Jazrawy said. “An important component in the scoring process is analyzing driver feedback on the company and then comparing it with management’s comments. The two need to align in order for fleets to score well. This year’s Top 20 had an average driver satisfaction rate over 91 percent, and annual driver turnover under 35 percent, so what they’re doing is obviously working.”

For additional information on the Best Fleets to Drive For program, visit

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Americans relocating to western, southern parts of country, United Van Lines survey shows



ST. LOUIS — Americans are on the move, relocating to western and southern parts of the country.

The results of United Van Lines’ 42nd Annual National Movers Study, which tracks customers’ state-to-state migration patterns over the past year, revealed that more residents moved out of New Jersey than any other state in 2018, with 66.8 percent of New Jersey moves being outbound.




This map shows inbound and outbound patterns for the United States in 2018. The dark blue indicates high inbound moving rates, the light blue medium inbound moving rates, the gray shows balanced states, the light yellow medium outbound moving rates and the dark yellow high outbound moving rates.


The study also found that the state with the highest percentage of inbound migration was Vermont (72.6 percent), with 234 total moves. Oregon, which had 3,346 total moves, experienced the second highest percentage nationally, with 63.8 percent inbound moves.

States in the Mountain West and Pacific West regions, including Oregon, Idaho (62.4 percent), Nevada (61.8 percent), Washington (58.8 percent) and South Dakota (57 percent) continue to increase in popularity for inbound moves. In tune with this trend, Arizona (60.2 percent) joined the list of top 10 inbound states in 2018.

Several southern states also experienced high percentages of inbound migration, such as South Carolina (59.9 percent) and North Carolina (57 percent). United Van Lines determined the top reasons for moving south include job change (46.6 percent) and retirement (22.3 percent).

In the Northeast, however, an outbound moving trend continues. New Jersey (66.8 percent), Connecticut (62 percent) and New York (61.5 percent) were included among the top 10 outbound states for the fourth consecutive year. Midwestern states like Illinois (65.9 percent), Kansas (58.7 percent), Ohio (56.5 percent) and Iowa (55.5 percent) saw high outbound relocation as well.

“As the nation’s largest household goods mover, our study allows us to identify the most and least popular states for residential relocation throughout the country, year after year,” said Eily Cummings, director of corporate communications at United Van Lines. “These findings accurately reflect not only where Americans are moving to and from, but also the reasons why.”

The National Movers Study reveals the business data of inbound and outbound moves from 2018.

In addition to this study, United Van Lines also conducts a survey to find out more about the reasons behind these moves.

A leading motivation behind these migration patterns across all regions is a career change, as the survey showed approximately one out of every two people who moved in the past year moved for a new job or company transfer.

Other reasons for the high percentage of moves to the Mountain West in 2018 include retirement (28.1 percent), proximity to family (20.8 percent) and lifestyle change (19.4 percent).

Compared to all other states, Idaho saw the largest influx of new residents desiring a lifestyle change (25.95 percent), and more people flocked to New Mexico for retirement than any other state (42.74 percent).

“The data collected by United Van Lines aligns with longer-term migration patterns to southern and western states, trends driven by factors like job growth, lower costs of living, state budgetary challenges and more temperate climates,” said Michael Stoll, economist and professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles. “Unlike a few decades ago, retirees are leaving California, instead choosing other states in the Pacific West and Mountain West. We’re also seeing young professionals migrating to vibrant, metropolitan economies, like Washington, D.C. and Seattle.”

The top inbound states of 2018 were (1) Vermont, (2) Oregon, (3) Idaho, (4) Nevada. (5) Arizona, (6) South Carolina, (7) Washington, (8) North Carolina, (9) South Dakota and (10) District of Columbia.

The top outbound states for 2018 were (1) New Jersey, (2) Illinois, (3) Connecticut, (4) New York, (5) Kansas, (6) Ohio, (7) Massachusetts, (8) Iowa, (9) Montana and (10) Michigan.

New Jersey (66.8 percent), which has ranked in the top 10 for the past 10 years, moved up one spot on the outbound list to No. 1. New additions to the 2018 top outbound list include Iowa (55.5 percent), Montana (55 percent) and Michigan (55 percent).


In several states, the number of residents moving inbound was approximately the same as the number moving outbound. Arkansas and Mississippi are among these “balanced states.”

Since 1977, United Van Lines has annually tracked migration patterns on a state-by-state basis. The 2018 study is based on household moves handled by United within the 48 contiguous states and Washington, D.C. and ranks states based off the inbound and outbound percentages of total moves in each state. United classifies states as “high inbound” if 55 percent or more of the moves are going into a state, “high outbound” if 55 percent or more moves were coming out of a state or “balanced” if the difference between inbound and outbound is negligible.

To view the entire 2018 study and an interactive map, click here.




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