PHOENIX — HELP Inc., the non-profit provider of the PrePass truck weigh station bypass program and other safety services, is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
Since HELP’s creation in 1993, the world of trucking and commercial motor vehicle enforcement changed forever and for the better, but getting there actually began several years before HELP was created, according to Karen Rasmussen, CEO of HELP.
Back in the mid-1980s, innovative leaders from state transportation agencies and the trucking industry in a band of western states and British Columbia sought common ground between government and industry, she said.
“As a member of the leadership staff at the California Trucking Association during that time, I saw first-hand that government and industry shared a critical common goal: highway safety,” Rasmussen said “Both were experiencing inefficiencies at ports of entry and weight/inspection facilities. That goal became the focus of a demonstration program, known as the Crescent Project.”
The project was overseen by a loose-knit coalition of industry and government representatives from Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Washington and British Columbia. During the two-and-a-half years of the project, industry and government participants worked cooperatively together.
When the truck bypass technology system moved past the demonstration phase, the coalition determined it would be best to create an objective third-party entity, one that would balance safety and efficiency, and be charged with ensuring carriers adhered to strict safety and credentialing standards.
Thus, HELP Inc. (Heavy-vehicle Electronic License Plate, Inc.) was born, along with a shared vision by its public and private partners: achieving safe, secure and seamless commercial vehicle operations across North America’s highway system.
Rasmussen said in implementing HELP the organization follows three core tenants:
- HELP remains a fully compliant 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity as designated by the Internal Revenue Service.
- HELP is not driven by profit but is an entity whose every action must support its tax-exempt mission of safety.
- HELP is governed by a board composed of equal numbers from public agencies and trucking industry representatives, providing a critical balance between safety and efficiency.
Today, HELP provides PrePass at 303 fixed, operational sites in 31 states. These are sites that are staffed and operational, providing real bypasses. Another 25 fixed sites are in various stages of planning and construction and hundreds of mobile sites will be announced soon. In addition, HELP’s partnership with the NORPASS and Oregon Green Light bypass systems provides carriers bypass opportunities at an additional 43 sites in six states. Nearly 600,000 trucks from over 66,000 qualified fleets participate in PrePass today.
Over the years, PrePass has generated 8.8 million successful bypasses, saving the trucking industry an estimated $6.2 billion, based on a cost algorithm utilized by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. In addition, trucks in HELP’s PrePass Plus system enjoy streamlined toll payments at 2,620 locations across 48 tolled facilities.
“Imagine the challenge faced today by commercial motor vehicle enforcement and compliance agencies without an accepted means to screen and identify the safe carriers and drivers from others that may need attention,” Rasmussen said. “Imagine the delays faced in today’s just-in-time economy by fleets and drivers without an accepted means to legally and safely bypass scales and inspections.”
And what about the next 25 years?
Rasmussen said the HELP Inc. vision speaks to achieving its safety and efficiency goals through the use of advanced technologies. HELP is already at work on the future – a future where government and the trucking industry will continue working together as one to achieve those goals.
Courtesy: HELP INC.
HELP provides PrePass at 303 fixed, operational sites in 31 states. These are sites that are staffed and operational, providing real bypasses. Another 25 fixed sites are in various stages of planning and construction and hundreds of mobile sites will be announced soon.
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