Arkansas Trucking Association

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The Last Word

Freight, Fights and Federal Halls

By Michelle Hanby

On Nov. 14, 2023 I had the pleasure of joining Arkansas Trucking Association’s president, Shannon Newton, and ten others from the industry, for ATA’s Call on Washington. It was my first time attending, and it did not disappoint.

The Hill was alive with activity: the House had been without a speaker for weeks, voting was going on and the hallways were a flurry with staffers coming and going, tension between Israel and Hamas was escalating, and protests were popping up across the city. On the afternoon we landed, one senator even challenged the Teamsters’ president to a fist fight.

We walked what seemed like miles through the tunnels and hallways—between meetings with Arkansas’ delegation. I have never considered myself star-struck, but it’s hard not to be in awe seeing the faces and offices of those who make the laws for our country.

To be honest, though, I never considered myself political. I have voted in nearly every election I was eligible for, but if the candidate I voted for didn’t win then I certainly didn’t lose sleep over it. I’m terribly embarrassed to admit this, but, until the last several years, I believed it really didn’t matter that much.

I grew up in rural Oklahoma, and my blue-collar parents were very politically opinionated. My retired Navy, devout Christian, die hard believer of the second amendment Dad sent so many handwritten letters to Oklahoma senators, it would make your head spin.

He worked the night shift at a glass plant for most of my life which meant he slept during the day. On my 18th birthday my dad was up early and waiting for me after school. I was surprised and excited assuming my parents were taking me somewhere fun to celebrate! I’m sure you can imagine my disappointment when they took me to the tag agency so I could register to vote.

All of these memories ran through my mind on my flight from XNA to Washington, D.C., and I had to laugh. It turns out this apple didn’t fall far from the tree—I’ve become very political. I’m passionate about our country, and I’ve found myself willing to roll up my sleeves to fight for the best things to be done.

When I started Intellistop in late 2019, I had no idea how much I would fall in love with the transportation industry. It is empowering to be among so many hard-working people that value safety as much as I do. Never in my wildest dreams (or nightmares really) could I have imagined the battles I would fight trying to make our nations’ highways safer.

I don’t have to tell anyone in transportation that accidents are at epidemic levels. Unfortunately, commercial vehicles are rear-ended three times more than any other vehicles on the highway.

A common concern in the industry is safety. It keeps us all up at night. The best accident is an accident that never happens, and that has been my focus for more than ten years.

In just a few weeks I will be entering my fourth year of fighting for an Intellistop exemption that does what agencies have already spent millions of taxpayer dollars and over twenty years to prove: pulsing brake lamps reduce accidents, injuries, and death. Yet no one has incorporated this fact into policy.

Regardless of what your biggest concerns are, as a trucking stakeholder, you can no longer afford to sit back and be silent. We need agency appointments with transportation experience in order to create regulations and requirements that work. Make sure your congressmen know you, your business and what is important to you.

If you get the chance to join the ATA Call on Washington, take it. It’s a very powerful feeling to be a member of such a respected association, surrounded by your peers, sitting across the table from Arkansas’ elected officials.

Their job is to legislate. Our job is to make sure they legislate for what’s best for our communities, our companies and our nation.

Michelle Hanby is the CEO of Intellistop.

Contact Us

Arkansas Trucking Association
PO Box 3476 (72203)
1401 West Capitol Ave.
Suite 185
Little Rock, AR 72201

(501) 372-3462 | Phone
(501) 376-1810 | Fax

Our Mission

  • PROTECT the collective interests of trucking companies in the political and regulatory arenas.
  • PROMOTE the dynamics of trucking so that people have a better understanding of the link between America's primary freight delivery system and the standard of living they enjoy.
  • SERVE our members to help them to grow their business and their profits
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