Highway Hostages

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By Brad Bentley

An in-depth look at the growth of human trafficking and what truckers can do to help thwart it.

Trivia question: what’s the second most lucrative crime business in the world?


According to an Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development study, the answer is human trafficking – a form of modern-day slavery that results in people being bought, sold and moved around. Worldwide, this is a $32 billion industry with an estimated 27 million people enslaved, more than at any other time in history. The recruited or harbored victims are transported and trapped in lives of misery - often beaten, starved, and obtained for forced labor or sexual exploitation.

So, what does that have to do with the American trucker? Plenty.

It’s been almost 150 years since Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation to abolish slavery in the United States, and I’m sure he would be dismayed to know human trafficking is alive and well in America. Beyond the international statistics, this type of slavery has been reported in all 50 states and in 91 cities. While the U.S. State Department estimates that 14,500-17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked into our country each year, they approximate the number of trafficked individuals within our borders to be a staggering 200,000-300,000 per year. Second only to drug trafficking, this human rights issue doesn’t get near the attention – publically, at least.

It’s been more than a quarter of a century since President Ronald Reagan declared America’s “War on Drugs”. The effort was spearheaded by a catchy “Just Say No” slogan, and drug trafficking was even glamorized into pop culture via these lyrics from the song, The Smuggler’s Blues:

See it in the headlines,
You hear it ev’ry day.
They say they’re gonna stop it,
But it doesn’t go away.
They move it through Miami, sell it in L.A.,
They hide it up in Telluride,
I mean it’s here to stay.
It’s propping up the governments in Colombia and Peru,
You ask any D.E.A. man,
He’ll say There’s nothin’ we can do,
From the office of the President,
Right down to me and you, me and you.

It’s a losing proposition,
But one you can’t refuse.
It’s the politics of contraband,
It’s the smuggler’s blues,
Smuggler’s blues.

Some would argue that when Glenn Frey penned this song back in the mid-80s, that he would prove perceptive regarding the challenges (and possible futility) of the War on Drugs. Fast forward 15 years, and our nation’s leaders were calling for a “war on terrorism” in response to the 9/11 attacks on American soil. The trucking industry was proactive with anti-terrorism, with thousands of truck drivers joining Highway Watch, an American Trucking Associations (ATA) initiative that trained drivers to notice and report emergency or suspicious situations on the road. However, that program had some problems... (Click here to continue to read in RPM for Truckers.)

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Mike Byrnes & Assoc - News and Alerts: Spring 2011 News

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Like Us on Facebook
Mike Byrnes & Assoc., Inc. now has its own Facebook page. The observant among you may think that this is not news and that we've had a Facebook page for some time. And we did... undid some bumbler (i.e. the Boss) accidentally deleted it! But we've restored it and now we invite you to Like us on Facebook.

How to...
Here at Mike Byrnes & Assoc., Inc., we've been writing short "how to" pieces for publication on various Web sites. They're falling into two categories, Driving Skills and How to Get a CDL. Our latest "skill" how-to is "How to Back Up a Trailer Safely." We've also written "How to Hook Up Tractor-Trailer Doubles,"How to Climb into a Truck Cab," .. . "How to Test Trailer Air Brakes for Leaks," "How to Adjust Fifth Wheel Trailer Height" and "How to Hook Up a Tractor Protection Valve."

The "How to Get a CDL" stories are "How to Get a Commercial Driver's License in Mississippi" and "How to Get a CDL in Nebraska."
Check 'em out. Just click on the links to view the stories. You can easily email them, share them and even print them out using the buttons at the top right of the Web pages.

Easy CDL
If you've got an iPhone, iTouch or iPad, check out our BUMPER TO BUMPER ® Easy CDL, an app for the iPhone. It's a great supplement to a formal training program. Students at even the best truck driving schools might appreciate a little extra review and opportunities to practice with the sample test questions so we've attached a poster about it. Download the poster and hang it in the classroom to let your students know about this resource. It's also a great tool for CDL holders who want to add Endorsements to their license. Look for BUMPER TO BUMPER ® Easy CDL in the iTunes store or go to Study By App on the Internet. We'd love to hear your reactions and, like others who have downloaded the app, you can also leave your comments right on the iTunes Easy CDL page.

The app was so well received (one reviewer called it "awesome") that we were asked to do another. We're hearing that applicants for the Haz Mat Endorsement are especially nervous about that written test. So our latest production is Easy CDL Hazardous Materials Endorsement with nine review units, a glossary and over 200 questions with which to practice. We're targeting a June 2011 launch.

If you have any questions or would like more information about any of the above, don't hesitate to call us at 361-749-4007 or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." ' + path + '\'' + prefix + ':' + addy46917 + '\'>'+addy_text46917+'<\/a>'; //--> . Check our Web site, or our blog at Just go to the Free Stuff page on our blog and click on the orange-and-white RSS Feed logo to subscribe. You can leave comments or suggestions there, too. And, follow us on Twitter at
for updates.

Free HOS Training Available at Foley Website

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DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of April 11, 2011
Foley Services Your Single Source for DOT Compliance

After answering several hours-of-service questions at the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS), we decided to offer our new hours-of-service online training program for free. Here’s how you, your drivers and your colleagues can take advantage of this offer.

Our recent trip to the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) wasn’t all schmoozing and fun. Foley’s Compliance Specialists fielded countless questions on a variety of DOT compliance issues. Hands down, two of the most frequent topics were FMCSA’s Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) system (See FF #680) and the agency’s re-write of the hours-of-service regulations.

All of the hours-of-service-related questions during MATS got us thinking. We discussed what we could do to make sure carriers and drivers understand FMCSA’s hours-of-service proposal so that they can be involved in the rulemaking process and be ready for the changes when they do go into effect. As a result of that discussion, we have decided to make our new online training program -- Hours-of-Service 2011: The New Proposed Rules -- available for free.

Free Hours-of-Service 2011 Training

To access the free training, visit the Foley online store at Hours-of-Service 2011 is listed as the first product in the Best Sellers category. In order to view the training, you will need to add the item to the shopping cart and follow the instructions to complete the transaction. There is absolutely no charge for viewing this training, and you will not be required to enter credit card information.

This free offer is available to all motor carriers and drivers so please feel free to pass this information on to all of your company drivers and colleagues.

What Does the Training Cover?

Hours-of-Service 2011 explains the proposed changes to 49 CFR Part 395 currently being considered by FMCSA. It includes a detailed overview of the hours-of-service proposal as well as a comparison to the existing regulations. The training takes approximately 15 minutes to complete and includes an:
  • Overview of the current hours-of-service rules
  • Overview of the proposed rules
  • Explanation of how a proposed rule becomes a final rule
The free training is suitable for drivers, safety managers, and anyone else who is interested in motor carrier safety and operations.

Review of HOS Proposal

The comment period on FMCSA’s Hours-of-Service Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) closed on March 4, 2011, but there will be more opportunities for interested parties to participate in the process. Here are a few highlights of the proposal, which drew tens of thousands of comments.
  • FMCSA proposed to retain the 34-hour restart provision that allows drivers to restart the clock on their weekly 60 or 70 hours by taking at least 34 hours off-duty. The hitch: The restart period must include two consecutive off-duty periods from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. Also, drivers would be allowed only one restart per seven-day period.
  • The proposal called for a 14-hour workday that includes at least a one-hour break. As a result, drivers will have a maximum of 13 hours to complete all on-duty work-related activities.
  • The agency said it was leaning towards adopting a 10-hour limit on daily driving time, but solicited comments on whether drivers should be limited to 10 or 11 hours.
  • The proposal also includes the option of extending a driver’s daily shift to 16 hours twice a week to accommodate loading and unloading issues.

For a copy of the full proposal, which originally hit the Federal Register on December 29, 2010, send an email request to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

What’s Next?

The Fast-Fax team is following the hours-of-service rulemaking process closely, and we will keep our readers informed of any new developments. In the meantime, if you have any questions about hours-of-service or any other area of DOT compliance, please call a Foley Compliance Specialist at 1-800-253-5506, ext. 708.

Transportation Ticker - Mexico Truck Proposal Open for Comment

The comment period is officially open on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Mexico truck proposal - formally known as the “Pilot Program on NAFTA Long-Haul Trucking Provisions.” The proposal, which was first released at the end of last week, hit today’s Federal Register. All comments are due by May 13, 2011.

The stated purpose of the pilot program is to test and demonstrate the ability of Mexico-based carriers to operate safely in the United States. As proposed, the program would allow Mexico-based carriers to operate throughout the United States for up to three years. In addition, carriers based in the United States would be permitted to operate in Mexico for the same three-year period. Currently, most Mexico-based carriers are only permitted to operate within commercial border zones that extend up to 25 miles into the United States.

Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • • Vol. 111, No. 682 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2011

Make Call! Save Lives! - Truckers Against Human Trafficking

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Truckers Against Trafficking Launch Human Trafficking DVD Training

A first-of-its-kind training DVD on human trafficking and the critical role members of the trucking/travel plaza industry can have in fighting it is now available, free of charge.

“Because human trafficking becomes a costly, dangerous and relevant safety issue when it intersects with truckers and travel plaza employees, we hope trucking companies, travel plazas, truck-driving schools, state associations and national trucking associations will consider making this DVD a part of their orientation and training for all employees,” said Kendis Paris, a national coordinator for Truckers Against Trafficking. “Traffickers are continually moving their victims along our nations’ highways and roads. Truckers, travel plaza employees and the entire trucking industry can become heroes in the fight against human trafficking as they are educated on the issue and then take action to fight it.”

Government Prepares for Shutdown

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DOT Safety Regulation Update Fast-Fax™
Week of April 4, 2011
Foley Services Your Single Source for DOT Compliance

The White House, Senate and House of Representatives spent the week debating and grappling with attempts to prevent a Federal government shutdown. As of Friday morning it seemed unlikely that a shutdown could be avoided.

If you are a fan of political intrigue, this has been quite an exciting week for you. If, on the other hand, you are growing tired of the current political scene in Washington, then this probably wasn’t the most inspiring week.

The news this week was dominated by the political wrangling between the House, Senate and Executive Branch over the budget. As of time of publication, there has been little progress made and it looks more and more likely that a shutdown will not be avoided.
The Senate and House have until midnight on Friday to strike a deal or else almost a million Federal employees will be furloughed, shutting down many essential services.

Who Will Be Shut Down?

It varies from department to department and even from agency to agency. However, the general rule is that all non-essential employees will be sent home and will not receive pay. The example that the government has given relates to the National Parks system. In this case, ticket collectors and tour guides would not be allowed to work, however, security guards would be required to come in (without pay). Members of the military will not receive pay, however, they will be required to stay on duty (especially if they are in active combat zones). Members of the security services such as the Central Intelligence Agency will remain on duty without being paid (although a large number of CIA employees will be furloughed).

What About the Department of Transportation?

The DOT has not yet released a definite plan about which employees will be allowed to stay on and which will be sent home. The Federal Highway Administration will definitely remain open as its operating costs are derived from the Federal gasoline tax and it has sufficient funding to survive at least another two weeks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration would likely be mostly shut down with only critical safety officials allowed to stay on duty (as of time of publication, it was unclear if auditors would be allowed to stay at work).

What Will Be the Impact of This?

If you are relying on the Federal Government to provide you any services or documentation in the near future, you can probably expect them to be delayed. Passports and Social Security Cards will not be distributed during the shutdown. Similarly, tax rebate checks will not be mailed until the government returns to work.

If you have not yet filed your taxes you MUST still file them before the April 18 deadline.

If you receive Medicare or Social Security you should continue to receive benefit checks, however, other services such as new claims or change-of-address requests will probably be delayed until after the government returns to work.

Will the .GOV Websites Be Available?

The agencies are all being reasonably tight-lipped about what their exact plans are however the influential Office of Management and Budget sent out a recommendation on Friday that all non-essential .GOV websites be taken down for the duration of the shutdown and be replaced with a notice explaining why. While it has been confirmed that the IRS website will be up (so that you may continue to pay your taxes), it is as yet unclear whether the DOT websites will stay active.

Will My Foley Services Be Affected?

Foley Carrier Services is an independent company, not affiliated with the DOT or Federal government. As such, the vast majority of our services will not be affected by the shutdown. Crucially, all drug and alcohol testing programs will be unaffected.

Some of our New Entrant Start-Up Services may be affected. In particular, we may have difficulty providing:

  • New Operating Authorities
  • New DOT and MC Numbers
  • BOC-3 Services; and
  • CSA Scores

These services may vary depending on whether the DOT website remains active. If you need help with any of these services please call a Compliance Specialist at 1-800-253-5506 ext. 713 for more information.

Transportation Ticker

PA State Police Targets Intrastate Carriers without DOT Numbers. Far too many intrastate carriers are failing to comply with Pennsylvania’s DOT number requirement. According to the Pennsylvania State Police, more than 1,300 carriers have been busted for violating the new requirement, which went into effect this time last year.

As of April 2010, all motor carriers operating in Pennsylvania must have a U.S. DOT number displayed, along with their business name, on both sides of the truck. Approximately 1,700 Pennsylvania-based carriers have applied for and received U.S. DOT numbers over the last year. Violators of the DOT number requirement face fines and fees totaling up to $134.50 for carriers and $109.50 for drivers. For help obtaining a U.S. DOT number, call a Foley Compliance Specialist at 1-800-253-5506, ext. 713.

Editor: Roxanne Swidrak, Vice President, Operations • 1-800-253-5506 • • Vol. 111, No. 681 • © Foley Carrier Services, LLC. 2011

NC Considers New Ban On Cell Phones For Drivers - TransTech

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Audrina Bigos

CHARLOTTE, NC- Distracted drivers are a big concern… especially when they're operating the biggest vehicles on the road.

Larry Hiott is an instructor at TransTech, a truck driving school in West Charlotte.

He says first-time students come in with bad habits.

"We're trying to wean people off cell phones because they are addictive..

almost as bad as some drugs and people rely on them too much," said Hiott.

The stakes are high for truck drivers.

"They only get one chance.  If they make a mistake with a tractor trailer.. it's usually a fatality,” said Hiott.

He tells his students they are 23 times more likely to get in a wreck while texting and six times more likely if they are just reaching for a cell phone.

When his students were asked if they use cell phones in their own cars, they were quick to raise their hands. But after this course, they may have to reconsider and make some changes to keep other drivers safe.

"Yeah that's a big difference. You got a lot of metal, a lot of weight… you gotta think about the stop and control.. the distance," said TransTech student, Rozell Washington.

TransTech says the new ban on talking could help emphasize its no cell phone rules already in place.

"Truckers shouldn't be on the cell phone because they do need to pay more attention to the road," said Washington.

They're not the only ones.

Other drivers support a possible ban.

"The reason I don't even talk on the phone that much is because I almost crashed doing it so it's more like a personal thing. Some people just are just not going to ever do it… some people just think it's fine," Joshua Byous, a South Charlotte resident.

Those drivers would face a hundred dollar fine if the bill passes.