Public News


J. J. Keller to Sponsor Seavey’s Iditarod® Racing Team in 2010

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Neenah, WI – James and Rosanne Keller, representing J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc., announced their sponsorship of Seavey’s Iditarod Racing Team for the fourth consecutive year. They will be the exclusive sponsor for musher Dallas Seavey, who in 2005 became the youngest musher ever to finish the Iditarod and was the sixth-place finisher in the 2009 race. They will also be a major sponsor for Dallas’ father, Mitch, who was the 2004 Iditarod champion and fourth-place finisher in the 2009 race.

According to J. J. Keller President & COO James J. Keller, “We are honored to support the Seaveys. Calling this a sponsorship doesn’t do it justice. This is more of a partnership with mutual respect between both families, with the ultimate goal being to win the Championship.” Keller added that if either musher wins, a 2010 J. J. Keller Iditarod Championship Celebration will be held at J. J. Keller headquarters.

The Iditarod, Alaska’s best-known sporting event, begins on Saturday, March 6, 2010, in Anchorage and will end in Nome 10 to 13 days later after a 1,149-mile trek through harsh terrain and unbelievable obstacles. It is often called "The Last Great Race on Earth," and to date 75 mushers have registered for this year’s event.

To view entire release, click here.

For more information, contact: 
Marketing Communications
Tom Hines
1-800-843-3174, ext. 7543
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To visit J. J. Keller's full Press Room, click here.

Scam Alert

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One unfortunate effect of the sluggish economy is that thieves have gotten more numerous, more desperate and bolder. We've seen an increase in the number of truck driving student job scams. This is where an individual claiming to be a carrier's recruiter calls schools and gets student names and contact information. Then the scammer contacts the students and/or their spouses or parents claiming to have a job opening. The catch is that the victim has to send the phony recruiter money, to cover a "placement fee" or fuel costs for transportation to orientation. Of course the money is supposed to be wired, or sent as a money order to a P. O. box. So once the scam is discovered, there's no way to stop the payment. Not only does this victimize students and the people who care about them, it gives schools and carriers a black eye.

Let's Squash This Scam!
Students, be wary. If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is a scam. It's tempting to jump on what looks to be a great opportunity, but check it out with school placement personnel. Schools, check and double-check the identity of individuals who call claiming to be a carrier's recruiter. A quick way to do this is to call the carrier at a published phone number (rather than the call-back number supplied by the alleged recruiter). Verify the employment of the individual and that there really is a legitimate job offer.

Visit our Web site and our blog for updated information on where the scam is taking place and what names are being used. If we can raise the level of awareness about this scam, it will be harder to pull it off.

Hours of Service Regulations Will Be Changing

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As the result of a settlement with Public Citizen and other petitioners, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will revise the hours of service. FMCSA will submit a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for approval within 9 months. Within 30 days of publishing the NPRM, the parties will file motions regarding further proceedings, and FMCSA will publish a final rule with 21 months. This case is scheduled for argument January 15, 2010.

Of course, we will stay on top of this and provides updates as they become available. Visit our Web site often for news. Check our blog at and follow us on Twitter at for the latest developments in this important change to truck driving regulations.

Senate Confirms Ferro as FMCSA Administrator

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The Senate late Thursday confirmed Anne Ferro's nomination to head the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Thursday night's confirmation follows a vote of approval from the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Oct. 27.

In a statement Friday morning, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance said it was “pleased” with the Senate's decision to confirm Ferro, who led the Maryland Motor Truck Association for six years.

“She has an excellent understanding of how government, law enforcement and industry need to work together to solve problems, and will be a great advocate for safety,” said Buzzy France, president of CVSA.

Following her nomination by President Obama in June, Ferro has come under fire from labor and safety groups for her ties to the trucking industry.

The Senate also confirmed the nomination of Cynthia Quarterman as administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration Thursday.

By Transport Topics


FMCSA to launch Driver Pre-Employment Screening Program

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By CCJ Staff

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced Wednesday, Oct. 7, that it will launch a new Driver Pre-Employment Screening Program designed to allow commercial motor carrier companies to electronically access driver inspection and crash records as a part of the hiring process. The program is expected to begin in December.

“Safety is our number one priority at the Department of Transportation,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This new initiative will help trucking companies ensure the safest drivers are behind the wheel of commercial trucks and buses. Making this information more transparent will make our roads and highways safer for everyone.”

FMCSA says that by using driver safety information during pre-employment screening, motor carriers will be able to better assess potential safety risks of a prospective driver-employee, and drivers will have additional opportunities to verify the data in their driving history and correct any discrepancies.

Commercial driver safety records currently are available to federal and state law enforcement personnel, and accessible to drivers through the Freedom of Information Act. Once the pre-employment screening program is launched, driver safety records will be readily available to motor carriers regardless of state or jurisdiction. In accordance with federal privacy laws, drivers first must give written consent in order for their records to be released.

The Driver Pre-Employment Screening Program will be populated by FMCSA’s Motor Carrier Management Information System. The MCMIS is comprised of driver performance data, including roadside inspection and compliance review results, enforcement data, state-reported crashes and motor carrier census data.

FTC Guidelines for Vocational School Advertising

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The Federal Trade Commission has announced it’s Guidelines for Advertising by Private Vocational Schools.  These Guidelines apply to ALL schools, and can be (and have been) enforced by the Federal Trade Commission against truck driver training schools.

The review of the rules presents an opportunity for our schools to comment on the existing rules and/or suggest changes.  CVTA will submit comments for the record in this review, and individual schools are free to do the same.  A copy of the Guidelines can be found here for your review

Please e-mail any comments to Mike O’Connell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before close of business on Monday, October 5th.  Depending on the interest in this issue, we may schedule a conference call on October 8th or 9th to discuss CVTA’s position.

Shifting Gears: Valley sees increase in truck-driving school applicants

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GOSHEN — Backing up a semitrailer isn't a simple task, particularly for somebody just learning to drive a big rig.

That was apparent from the stressed look on 23-year-old Derrick Holt's face recently as he tried to back up into a parking space while his driving instructor watched.

Holt, of Exeter, is a student at Proteus Inc.'s truck-driving school in Visalia, where he is one of a growing number of people across the country trying to start careers as truck drivers.

Although no figures are available, Mike O'Connell, executive director and legal counsel for the Commercial Vehicle Training Association in Washington, D.C., said operators of just about all 180 trucking schools his organization represents have reported jumps in enrollments and people interested in driver training during the past 6 to 12 months.

The economy seems to be driving the trend. Many of those wanting to enter the trucking field have lost their jobs and hope trucking will offer immediate and possibly better career opportunities than their old occupations.

For his part, Holt is confident trucking will do considerably more for him financially than his current job as a fast-food worker.

"I want to buy a house in the future," he said as he steered 30,000 pounds of truck and trailer into the narrow parking space set up in a dirt lot behind the Proteus distribution center in Goshen, where the truck school is located.

Proteus operates a second truck-driving school in Delano and has plans to open another later this year in Fresno.

"It's a good, secure living," said Holt, whose father drives a truck. "It's definitely a step up."

Not an easy job

It's just not easy, particularly when you're just learning, he added.

"When you turn right, you're going left. When you're turning left, you're going right. It's pretty confusing after awhile," Holt said as he drove, with the truck jerking as it braked, rolled back, braked and rolled back repeatedly into the narrow parking space.

Outside the truck, Francisco Rivera his instructor and a 20-year truck- driving veteran used hand signals and verbal directions to help his student.

"You'll get it! Back up slowly," he called to Holt. "All the way to your left! You've got this one!"

And a few moments later, Holt was in the parking space and letting out a long breath of relief.

But as difficult as the training can be, he said getting his Class-A truck driving license will be worth it, as did other students in the class.

They include Vilmer B. Caniedo, 50, of Orosi, who has worked as a field hand for years. He got his truck-driving license years ago but never used it as farm jobs became available.

But he's heard the local grape harvest will be light this season, which could mean less work for him and his wife, who also works picking fruit. And with the prospect of his making less than his usual $7,000 to $8,000-a-year pay, ‘™¯Caniedo a native Filipino who speaks limited English ' said truck drivers he's spoken to on farms and a friend who drives a truck urged him to give trucking a try and take a refresher course to regain his Class-A license.

Phon Vongsa, 38, is hoping a Class-A license will get him back to work.

He was laid off a year-and-a-half ago from his job in San Jose operating a silk screen printing machine, and three months ago he moved with his wife and two children to Visalia, where he has relatives.

"It's hard to find a job," Vongsa said, adding that besides working again, he's also looking forward to trying a new career that will let him see the country.

More enrolling in classes

Officials operating truck-driving schools at Proteus, College of the Sequoias and the Advanced Career Institute ›which runs private trucking schools in Visalia, Porterville and Fresno ' report that more people are trying to join their programs, many after losing jobs.

At ACI, that's about 40 percent of the trainees, compared with about 15 to 20 percent a year ago, said Barry Bither, the business' president.

ACI also provides the trucks and instructors for COS' two-year-old truck- driving instruction program.

Instructors at Proteus estimated the ratio of students who have lost their jobs is about 80 to 90 percent. It's about the same at COS, said Larry Dutto, dean of academic services specializing in career technical (vocational) education.

"We kind of tapered off a little bit [in enrollment] in January and February, but right now the course is full," he said.

Rivera said he's got a three-month waiting list for driving classes at Proteus.

Classes for Proteus, COS and ACI all cost about $3,000, though the college can offer financial assistance and Proteus can waive the fees entirely, in some cases.

Classes are held five days a week, usually eight hours a day and can last four to six weeks at ACI, six weeks at Proteus and 16 weeks at COS, which requires the extra time so students can receive college credit toward degrees, Dutto said.

Reasons behind choice

So why are so many people flocking to truck-driving schools?

Just take a look at the newspaper want ads, said Ulysses Garcia, 32, of Hanford, who was laid off from his construction job after the poor economy slowed the industry, so he enrolled in Proteus' trucking program.

"The jobs you see there are [mostly] for nurses and truck drivers," he said.

This despite the recession triggering a nationwide decline in demand for trucking services as lower consumer spending has reduced the amount of goods transported.

"There has been a slowdown," O'Connell said. "And there's a slight slowdown in hiring truck drivers, but there is a lot of turnover among the 3 million long-haul truck drivers."

In addition, large numbers of goods still have to be moved, despite the slow economy, "and those jobs can never be outsourced," O'Connell said.

So even when the economy turns bad, trucking jobs are available and there usually is a jump in the number of people getting into the trucking field, he said.

"Everywhere I go and I stop to take a break, or at the DMV, there are more people stopping me to ask about this profession" after seeing the Proteus trucking school signs on the side of the truck and trailer, said Daniel Rangel, another truck-driving instructor.

And since May, he added, the number of calls to Proteus from people inquiring about or signing up for the truck school have gone up about 25 percent.

Most are people who have been laid off, Rangel said.

"People are unemployed. ... And people are interested in making what they used to make in jobs," he said, noting that seasoned drivers can make up to $80,000 a year while new drivers can make about $600 to $1,200 per week.

Still, some new truck drivers may have difficulty finding jobs right away, Rangel and Rivera said, noting that there are a lot of experienced truckers available because of the economic slowdown, so farmers and other agricultural businesses in this area tend to hire them first over newly licensed truck drivers.

But once the economy improves and increased spending results in more goods needing to be moved, Rangel said people who get their licenses now should be in good positions to get some of that work.