Site Visit At Road Scholar Transport: Safety and Security The Key Concerns
By Bruce E. Lundegren, Assistant Chief Counsel
Jim Barrett has a real passion for his small businesses – and for his employees. And safety and security are his number one priorities!
Jim’s business, Road Scholar Transport headquartered in Scranton, Pennsylvania, was founded by Jim and his wife, Debra Barrett, in 1988 and has grown into a full-service trucking business serving individuals and businesses throughout the lower 48 states. Over the past 30 years, the business has grown from a single truck operation into a fleet of over 115 trucks and 500 trailers. Road Scholar has become an industry leader in modern technology and methods for freight security, especially since they haul sensitive products like pharmaceuticals, food, and other items that require security, climate control and care.
Jim attended the Office of Advocacy’s recent Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtable in Scranton, PA on September 12. During the roundtable, Jim stated that the lack of qualified truckers was a real concern, and he worried that safety and security could be compromised because of it.
Following the roundtable, Advocacy staff visited Road Scholar and spoke with Jim about the business. He said his main priorities are the safety of his drivers and the security of the products they haul. He discussed a fatal collision one of his drivers had where the driver hit another truck that had broken down in the right lane of the highway. The driver tried to avoid the collision but did not have enough time. The experience transformed Jim and resonates with him to this day.
Unlike many in the trucking industry, Jim supports the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s mandate for truckers to install Electronic Logging Devices but agrees that the Hours of Service of Drivers rules need to be more flexible. In addition, he wants vehicle manufacturers to more aggressively develop collision avoidance systems to enhance safety. He also believes that autonomous vehicles will transform the industry and improve safety.
Given Jim’s passion for his business and employees, it is not surprising that he is also very civic-minded. Road Scholar is very active in charitable events and emblazons its trucks with altruistic signage, including anti-bullying and other messages. It was a very inspiring and moving visit for Advocacy.
Advocacy was in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York for Regional Regulatory Reform Roundtables September 10 -14.
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Bruce Lundegren is an Assistant Chief Counsel for Advocacy whose portfolio includes safety, transportation, and security. Lundegren can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.