There’s two invariable truths to which a person must acquiesce when studying the trucking industry. First, the industry has an unprecedented obsession with fowl. Chicken trucks, chicken lights, chicken coops, rooster cruisers…it goes on and on. Secondly, around Thanksgiving, the trucking industry lights up social media with pictures of trucks hauling live turkeys, just to prove they make the holiday happen! The ITEA agrees. As the ITEA passes the5th anniversary milestone this holiday season, it is important to look back on reflect on the impetus for the ITEA. We are thankful for a lot of things.
To get a true appreciation of our gratefulness, dial the clock back to November 18th, 2009. Although the ITEA was officially launched to the public on January 1st, 2010, this date in November was the first official meeting of the original ten members. It was here the foundation was poured.
At that time, Illinois truck enforcement was in chaos. An 11th hour legislative change drastically changed truck weight laws in Illinois. While the intent was noble and long-deserved to bring Illinois into compliance with the other 47 lower states, the delivery was awful.
Local government was blindsided. An unfunded mandate of heavier trucks was thrust upon the roads they are responsible for maintaining, without compensation. The rewrite (later rewritten) was less than comprehensive as gaping holes and contradictions were legislated. So-called truck enforcement “trainers” were teaching local police officers incorrect application of the new law leading up to the effective date on New Year’s Day. The disparity among police officers in correct interpretation and enforcement methodology was at an all-time high.
Enough. Many other specialty areas of law enforcement had associations representing their craft, and the time was ripe to do this for truck enforcement world. We needed uniformity among our own. We needed to work together with industry and the legal community.
The group came up with the six foundational statements. First version by-laws were scratched out. Everyone threw in $25 (for a grand total of $250) to buy domain names, launch a very basic website and hire a local attorney to file organizational documents.
Would anyone join? Would industry welcome our efforts? Would the state regulatory agencies acknowledge our existence? Could we really walk the delicate fine line of representing enforcement, industry and the legal community at the same time? It was a gamble, but it’s worked.
We are thankful for the 400+ police officer members representing nearly 175 agencies across Illinois. It is not an easy thing to police the police. The humble and professional demeanor of our officers, especially the ITEA certified ones, is incredible.
We are thankful for the 100+ trucking company and carrier members who have joined our ranks. The further we walk with the industry the greater our knowledge and compassion grows. We have seen strong anti-enforcement truckers/owners become some of the biggest truck enforcement supporters.
We are thankful for the dozen attorneys and law firms who are ITEA members. Without informed legal counsel, bad enforcement prospers. Without proper education, uninformed attorneys make unnecessary trouble for enforcement.
We are thankful for the leadership of the State regulatory agencies who oversee their world of trucking authority. The Illinois State Police, the Illinois Department of Transportation, Secretary of State and others have graciously welcomed the ITEA. They have resourced our every move. In a culture where the public casts a suspicious eye on all things Illinois state government, the ITEA has had the privilege to work with quality leaders. Leaders who do their duty to protect the public and infrastructure, yet have a heart to see the trucking industry proper as well.
We are thankful for our partner industry associations who have shown the ITEA unparalleled support. There is no doubt, and with great reason, for them to have looked at the ITEA with trepidation in the beginning. They now invite the ITEA to speak and participate at their events. They defer local enforcement issues to the ITEA. They have welcomed the ITEA into their ranks. Here’s a special shout-out to Mid-west Truckers, the Professional Towing & Recovery Operators of Illinois, Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association, Illinois Trucking Association, Illinois Landscape Contractors Association and the Illinois Farm Bureau…thank you.
In January, the ITEA will begin distributing special 5-year challenge coins to those members who have crossed that milestone. We are thankful, and look forward to big things in 2015 and another five years serving you.
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