Alligator on the Zipper

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Alligator on the Zipper
Explores Lives of Women Truck Drivers
DVD cover - 175px hgt

New York, NY 10/25/2007 Traditionally, trucking has been viewed as a male dominated industry but in the past five years, women have become a growing presence in the trucking world. Attracted to the freedom of the road, the potential of making a good living, and the autonomy of the trucking lifestyle, more and more women are becoming drivers and finding that they love the job.

Alligator on the Zipper is the first documentary film to record this demographic surge. Directed by Ivo Stainoff, the film gives a rare and visually stunning glimpse into the lives of women truckers. It explores the reasons why women chose to become truckers, and ultimately why they love their work.

The film takes us on the road with seven adventurous, hardworking, often humorous and freedom loving women drivers who have opted for the trucking lifestyle. It captures the spirit of these seven women as they crisscross the highways and back roads of the United States hauling their loads. As the women drive, their life stories unfold. One of the women in the film is "mogul in the making" Patsy Van Flateren, a Belgian immigrant, whose drive and willpower have propelled her to build a successful flatbed trucking business and to overcome an abusive past. Another is Jackie Wheeler, a former actress whose dream is to appear on Oprah to tell her "rags to riches" story. A third profile is that of Jan Steward, a trucker who runs her business based on following her Christian principles. The stories of these women and four others deliver a compelling and candid look into the world of women truck drivers.

The film was produced and directed by husband/ wife team Ivo Stainoff and Jessica Chornesky " The film is meant to dispel stereotypes and to serve as a source of empowerment to potential women drivers. So many women feel intimidated by the idea of driving truck. Yet when they finally take the leap feel incredibly empowered," says Chornesky

Mr. Stainoff, a Bugarian-born director was influenced by his childhood experiences. "I have always been attracted to people whose freedom loving spirit leads them to live an independent lifestyle. My mother drove a truck for a period of time while we were living in the Caucus Mountain region in Eastern Russia and I remember her determination in sub-zero temperatures."


The film is available for purchase at More information and a trailer can also be viewed on the site.

Alligator On the Zipper
Ginny Too
Marketing Director
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phone: 212-226-4926


U.S. Xpress offers jobs to exiting soldiers with new Military Incentive Program

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (May 23, 2007) – U.S. Xpress voiced its continued support for America’s troops today with the announcement of its new Military Incentive Program.

The program, which is available to anyone who has served at least two years in the armed forces and separated within the past 12 months, offers former soldiers a head start on the truck driving career path with special increased salary rates. 

Participants in the program will be credited with two years of job experience. That means their starting pay will be equal to that of a truck driver who has already been behind the wheel for two years. For new CDL graduates, that means an increase in starting pay of up to 6.5 cents per mile.

“The men and women of the U.S. armed forces give so much to our great country,” said U.S. Xpress Field Recruiting Manager Homer Paul. “The Military Incentive Program is our way of saying thanks.”

According to Paul, participants in the program could earn up to $40,000 or more in their first year of work with U.S. Xpress, and would also be eligible for CDL tuition reimbursement.

“The Military Incentive Program is a win-win situation for everyone,” Paul said. “The participants are getting the benefit of being ahead of the game in terms of salary, plus they’re getting to work with one of the leading companies in the trucking industry. And we are getting the benefit of receiving the kind of highly trained and dedicated individuals that you find in the armed forces.

“We want to give these individuals a well deserved jump-start into their professional driving careers,” Paul said, “and our Military Incentive Program will do just that.”

"Operation Safe Driver" Targets CMV - Non CMV Drivers

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Washington, DC (October 16, 2007) – In an effort to address the twelve percent
of fatal crashes on highways involving trucks and buses, the Commercial Vehicle Safety
Alliance (CVSA), in partnership with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
(FMCSA), is launching a new campaign concentrating on the unsafe driving practices of
commercial and non-commercial drivers. The effort, dubbed “Operation Safe Driver,” is
intended to improve commercial and non-commercial driver behavior and performance
through effective enforcement, education and awareness strategies. The program will
occur October 21-28, 2007 across North America.

 “Research has shown that most fatal crashes stem from decisions or actions made
by the driver – passenger vehicle drivers as well as commercial operators,” said John H.
Hill, administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. “All drivers need
to remember that the responsibility for driving safely is literally in your hands.”

The objectives of the campaign are to:

• Increase commercial vehicle traffic enforcement activity;

• Increase non-commercial vehicle traffic enforcement activity;

• Increase safety belt enforcement activity;

• Increase driver roadside inspections;

• Increase driver regulatory compliance;

• Implement commercial driver educational and awareness programs to the
motor carrier population; and,

• Increase the awareness to the motoring public about safe operations around
commercial motor vehicles.

“Through Operation Safe Driver, CVSA and our partners in law enforcement aim
to take enforcement action against unsafe and fatigued commercial drivers and non-
commercial drivers operating in an unsafe manner around commercial drivers, and to
raise the awareness of the motoring public about the hazards of operating around
commercial vehicles,” said Stephen F. Campbell, CVSA’s Executive Director.
“Improving highway safety for commercial vehicle operations starts with the driver and
focusing attention on the importance of safe driving and proper driving techniques are
critical to making our highways safer. In addition, the motor carrier industry plays an
important role and we encourage them to implement proactive steps to ensure their
drivers are well rested, buckle up and do proper trip planning to make it to their
destinations safely.”

 “It is important to share the road responsibly with other vehicles, including
commercial motor vehicles. Drivers of passenger vehicles need to understand how
commercial motor vehicles operate and know their limitations. Sharing the road
responsibly will mean safer drivers and fewer deaths and injuries on our nation’s
roadways,” said Christopher J. Murphy, Chairman of the Governors Highway Safety

CVSA is an international not-for-profit organization comprised of local, state,
provincial, territorial and federal motor carrier safety officials and industry
representatives from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Our mission is to promote
commercial motor vehicle safety and security by providing leadership to enforcement,
industry and policy makers. In addition, CVSA has several hundred associate members
who are committed to helping the Alliance achieve its goals; uniformity, compatibility
and reciprocity of commercial vehicle inspections, and enforcement activities throughout
North America by individuals dedicated to highway safety and security. For more on
CVSA visit

Career schools a growing part of upper-level education

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BALTIMORE, MD (Map, News) - Career and technical schools make up the fastest-growing segment of higher education as more adults decide four-year universities aren’t for them, and the stigma dismissing for-profit institutions as diploma mills fades.

From 2005 to 2006, the number of bachelor’s degrees granted at colleges grew 2 percent, while technical schools jumped 20 percent, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

“There is still a place for schools that teach liberal arts where students find out who they are, but for those people who know what they want to be, like a nurse, or a worker in hospitality or criminal justice, they see our schools as preparing them for that occupation,” said Harris Miller, president of the Career College Association.

Thomas Bien, 30, of Catonsville, enrolled at ITT Technical Institute in Owings Mills for the practical, hands-on experience of learning data communications and system technologies.

“We’re not just working from books; we have an overall knowledge of how it’s supposed to work,” he said. “It’s a laid-back atmosphere. I’m not scared to ask a question. The instructors are always available, and I can go to them at any time.”

Wanting to make more money, Dustin Witherite, 22, of Reisterstown, enrolled at ITT, where he studies information security systems.

Maryland has more than 100 career and technical schools, according to Kris Marino, executive manager of the Maryland Association of Private Colleges and Career Schools.

Nationally, most students attending for-profit schools are working adults in their mid-20s and 30s who want a career change or to earn more money by getting a post-secondary degree, industry leaders say. More than a third of them are minorities, totaling 37 percent, compared with traditional schools’ 24 percent.

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CVTA Mid West Regional Meeting - Nov. 30

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November 30, 2007

Indianapolis, IN

Marriott Indianapolis North



Make plans to attend now.


A few of the topics to be discussed:

  • Best Practice Techniques for Instructors & for Recruiting
  • Instructor Certification
  • Mandatory Training


To view a preliminary agenda of the Mid-West Regional metting, click here. (Link no longer works)

CVTA Supports

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"Top 10 Signs You're Ready To Be A Trucker"

That's the headline on, a new website geared primarily toward helping people determine if trucking would be a good career for them, and then showing them the right path to take if it is.

With statements like "[If] your commute to your job is more interesting than your job", you know the site is 10 Signs You Should Be A Truckerwell written and will resonate with its intended target audience. It certainly makes one want to read further. Of the many trucking related websites that spring up everyday, this is one to watch.

Visit Get Trucking for yourself. We're sure you'll agree that it is a great starting place for people interested thinking about truck driving as a career.


Senate Blocks Funding / Mexican Trucks

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 The U.S. Senate voted on Tuesday (Sept. 11) to block funding for a Bush administration test program to let Mexican long-haul trucks operate in the United States under 1994's North American Free Trade Agreement.

One day after a fiery truck accident killed dozens in Mexico, the Senate approved an amendment to a transportation spending bill that would cut off funding for the test, which the administration authorized last week to run for one year.

The House of Representatives has passed a similar measure.

The White House on Tuesday threatened to veto the broad transportation bill because it would spend more money than President George W. Bush requested. It said the administration opposes any restrictions on the cross-border trucking program.

The administration said "it has the necessary safeguards in place to ensure a safe and secure program."

A tractor-trailer loaded with explosives blew up in a huge fireball on Monday after hitting a pickup truck in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila. At least 29 people were killed.

Calling the accident a warning to proceed cautiously, North Dakota Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan led the effort to deny funding for the program.

Dorgan questioned Mexican truck safety rules, as well as the handling of the test by the Bush administration, which he said "rushed to implement the pilot program late last week -- literally in the dark of night."

He said the Transportation Department authorized the program too quickly, despite a report that found numerous problems with Mexican truck safety records.

Dorgan said the vote against the program was "a turning of the tide on the senseless, headlong rush this country has been engaged in for some time to dismantle safety standards and a quality of life it took generations to achieve."

The pilot program involves both Mexican trucks operating in the United States and U.S. trucks being allowed to operate in Mexico, within limits on both sides.

Arizona Republican Sen. John Kyl, defending the program in Senate floor debate, said the test would involve a maximum of 100 Mexican companies and 500 to 600 trucks on U.S. roads.

"It is worth giving this program a chance ... It is much more efficient and much cheaper for American consumers if those Mexican trucks can travel in the United States," Kyl said.

Missouri Republican Christopher Bond said, "There is some strong support for allowing these trucks to run in the United States." He cited a letter of support for the program from agribusiness interests that said NAFTA promises the program.

John Hill, an administrator in the Transportation Department, called the vote to block the program "a sad victory for the politics of fear and protectionism."

Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown compared pressure to open up U.S. roads to Mexican trucks to the kind of free-trade pressures that opened U.S. markets to tainted food and toys from China "because it serves multinational corporations."

Brown said, "This pilot program doesn't make sense ... Too often in this chamber we write trade deals that ignore consumers and coddle corporations."

On the overall transportation bill, the Senate approved on Monday an amendment providing $1 billion more for bridge renovations nationwide after last month's collapse of a span in Minnesota and fears that other U.S. bridges were unsound.

Washington (Associated Press)