Serving the Industry: Drivewyze is Active in Helping Drive Change
May 3, 2023
Improving highway safety has been part of Drivewyze’s identity ever since the company began operation.
It’s such an engrained culture that Drivewyze team members also donate their time to improve safety within the industry. One organization, the American Trucking Association’s Law Enforcement Advisory Board, features three members from Drivewzye: Mark Savage (Director of Connected Truck Solutions), Marc Nichols (Director of Government Affairs), and John Samis (Program Manager). Before joining Drivewyze, all three had distinguished careers in law enforcement.
“Highway safety is something we’re all passionate about and why we all wanted to serve on the board,” said Mark, who is vice chair of the board. Next year, Mark will begin serving a two-year term as chairman of the board. “There are 38 members, nearly all with a background in law enforcement as well as in the trucking industry. So, we’ve seen highway safety through both lenses, which we feel helps in our effort to strengthen relationships between trucking and law enforcement organizations. At the end of the day, we all have a desire to drive on safer roadways and get home to our families. There is an alignment in purpose and focus between the trucking industry and law enforcement.”
The board meets every two months to discuss topics and current issues and leadership meets with ATA once per quarter to advise and consult on issues. Mark said the board has several initiatives in the works, with the top one addressing the lack of safe and adequate parking for truckers. Accordingly, the board has been a strong advocate for the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act.
“There continues to be a national shortage that needs to be addressed,” said Mark. “The Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, if passed, has the potential to infuse the states with up to $755 million in the next five years for new truck parking locations — adding capacity or enhancing safety and facilities at current locations. The board is also advocating for dedicated money to properly maintain those added rest areas after they’re built.” The board also sent letters to each governor and State DOT explaining the importance of investing in truck parking capacity and enhancing current facilities. Finally, the Board, in partnership with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, sent a joint letter to Congressional leadership in support of the Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act.
Industry stories have pointed out that there are only 313,000 parking spots for truckers, and only one in 11 drivers can find a spot to park. That means makeshift parking spots end up being interstate shoulders, entrance and exit ramps — even retail store lots. These areas rarely have the facilities that drivers need and may not be safe. “Everyone will agree the industry needs to do better, and our mission is to help make it happen,” said Mark.
Another initiative is in the education of teens and other motorists about safe driving practices. “Distracted driving is a real issue and we’re working on ways to get messaging out there to help counter the problem,” said Mark. This effort involved several board members speaking to stakeholders including not only the trucking and law enforcement communities but also school groups and other community organizations about the importance of safe driving behaviors. Many board members spoke on podcasts, penned op-eds, and talked to community groups in person.
Cargo safety is another area where the board is active. “Cargo theft continues to be a problem and it’s not going away,” said Mark. “It’s often under reported, so it’s hard to get a full grasp on the magnitude of cargo theft. But we all know that this is an issue that needs to be addressed and solutions need to be found. While there is an economic impact of stolen cargo the board is also focused on the safety of the drivers who are often present with the load and can be victims of criminal activity focused on stealing their cargo. The board is exploring potential solutions including working with critical stakeholders in the insurance and other associated industries to raise awareness of this crime.”
One way is to keep drivers mindful of when they’re entering high risk areas for cargo theft. Last year, Drivewyze teamed with Verisk to provide “hot spot” alerts as a value-added addition to its Drivewyze Safety+ platform. “This was a way Drivewyze could help curtail the problem,” said Mark. “By staying vigilant and knowing your surroundings – especially in high-risk areas — cargo theft can be reduced.”
Other areas the board is working on include removing unsafe and intoxicated drivers from our roads. Many states now have legalized the use of marijuana. “But federally, it is still illegal,” said Mark. “Commercial truck drivers need to be alcohol and drug free when they drive and it’s why there is drug testing in our industry. For years, the standard has been urine tests. But we feel a better and more cost-effective way is through hair testing. It’s much more accurate and we’d like to see changes down the road.”
While the board works directly with ATA, it also works with state trucking associations. “We’re here to support and educate trucking and law enforcement, and that goes from the state to federal level,” said Mark. “We feel we’re making a difference.”