Mike’s Law – Creating the Legacy of trucker Michael Boeglin

Michael Boeglin On behalf of the new Small Business in Transportation Coalition (“SBTC”), I am honored to have been asked by NATA to serve as a “contributor” to the NATA website. I respectfully offer this article for publication, in accordance with NATA’s mission of bringing about “Awareness, Accountability and Action…”

By way of introduction, the SBTC is a 1,430-member network of transportation professionals, associations, and industry suppliers that is on the front lines when it comes to issues that affect transportation professionals in small business. We seek to promote and protect the interests of all small business players in the transportation industry. We support teamwork, cooperation, transparency, and partnerships among truckers, carriers, brokers, and shippers; we seek to promote ethical business practices among the players and do business with the utmost integrity.

Although the SBTC is involved in a multitude of issues, I thought it would be best to start with perhaps our most exciting campaign: the quest to pass “Mike’s Law…”

Last summer, a trucker named Michael Boeglin (pronounced Bay-glin) was murdered in Detroit while he waited for the gates of the ThyssenKrupp plant to open so he could complete his delivery (they had a policy of not granting access to truckers overnight, a policy we hope they have since reconsidered). As a result of parking outside the gate in a dimly lit, desolate area, Mr. Boeglin was gunned down by one or more assailants in the middle of the night while he was inside his truck and then the truck was set ablaze to cover up the crime. His attackers are still on the run and Detroit police are still investigating.

When NATA’s trucker advocate Allen Smith attempted to tell this trucker’s story to mainstream media, his article was denied publication on the basis that the item was “not newsworthy…” presumably because Mike was “just a trucker”. It was at that time that the new SBTC realized it was time to take action. And act, we did.

We began our journey into the world of trucker safety by speaking with Mike’s family. We first met Mike’s father-in-law David Clark, offering our assistance to help with fundraising for Mike’s wife Ashley and her baby on the way (“Baby Boeglin”).

Next, we requested and attended a meeting with FMCSA and FHWA in Washington, DC asking for the creation of a dual agency “Safe Truck Parking Task Force,” making recommendations on who might be worthy of service from the industry. We asked for the task force to be “tasked” with creating a safe parking best practices guide, along with the directory of safe parking locations nationwide first recommended by NTSB in 2000. We also asked for Federal assistance on the area of implementation of Jason’s Law in terms of encouraging the states soon to be identified by FHWA as deficient in the area of safe truck parking to actually use funds available for this purpose in the spirit of “Jason’s Law,” which was part of the 2012 MAP-21 Highway Bill.

We then examined the issue of truckers’ ability to defend themselves given the current system of state firearms licensing and reciprocity when operating in interstate commerce. We quickly concluded a new law was needed desperately to preempt the gun unfriendly states from continuing to interfere with interstate commerce in this fashion, one that would assist OTR truckers in avoiding a similar fate as the late Mike Boeglin and Jason Rivenburg, killed in 2009 in a similar scenario, for whom “Jason’s Law” was named.

So we launched a petition to Congress calling for truckers to have the right to carry firearms nationwide to defend and protect themselves while they sleep on the job like any other American. That petition can be found at www.interstaterighttocarry.org. More than 7,700 of you have signed this petition so far and dozens of you sign daily. And for that, I thank you. We recently filed the petition with the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate and Congressional leaders and their staffers continue to watch it grow online.

I am proud to announce that our voices have been heard and one U.S. Senator, The Honorable Marco Rubio (R-FL), appears to be taking the lead. It looks like our gun bill named “Mike’s Law” after Mike Boeglin (with Ashley’s seal of approval, of course) appears to be on the way to the Senate floor in the near future. You can read the text of the bill at: >www.MikesGunLaw.org.

Over the past six weeks, Mike’s Law has made the front page of “The Trucker” and our campaign was featured in Overdrive Online http://www.smalllinks.com/49Y3, on LiveTrucking.com: http://www.smalllinks.com/49Y0, Sirius XM’s Rod Dog Trucking Radio and multiple blog talk radio shows, including Allen and Donna Smith’s “Truth About Trucking “Live”.”

We are proud to have made it this far and we thank all of our supporters who got us here. But there will be much work ahead to fight the antigun lobby who will not heed this demand for trucker justice. SBTC is on the front lines fighting for the little guys in this industry and we invite you all to visit our website to learn more about SBTC: www.smalltransportation.org.

I never met Mike Boeglin while he was alive… and let’s face it, I probably never would have gotten to know his wife and family, but not for this horribly tragic incident that cost him his life. I believe each of us has a purpose in this life and we all leave a legacy, good or bad. Although we didn’t know him in life, and of course we can’t bring him back, we can and will help create Mike’s legacy.

We will do this for Mike, his family, and the countless other truckers who have lost their lives on the job. And we will do this on behalf of all the future truckers out there who will avoid a similar fate because they will have been able to protect themselves… if we succeed.

If you have yet to sign the petition, please do so at this time. We want to show STRONG SUPPORT for this legislation. And when the bill gets introduced, I will be calling upon you all once again to contact your representatives in Congress to make Mike’s Bill actually become… Mike’s Law.

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James P. Lamb is a former New York State Dept. of Transportation Motor Carrier Investigator. He is a Transportation Practitioner authorized to appear and represent client companies before various Federal (U.S. Surface Transportation Board & Federal Maritime Commission) and state transportation regulatory agencies in licensing, tariff and adjudicatory (violation) matters. Mr. Lamb holds an MA Degree and specializes in Interstate Authority (ICC Authority) application filings for motor carriers and freight (property) brokers, USDOT Number registrations and various trucking permits. Mr. Lamb’s business experience in the Industry includes operating as a licensed property and household goods broker. In 2007, he produced and managed the Orlando Truckers' Conference, an educational Industry trade show. Mr. Lamb is scheduled to release “The Secret to Starting and Operating a Freight Brokerage” in 2015 and is working on "The Secret to Making Big Money in Trucking.” Mr. Lamb is the CEO of DOTAuthority.com, an Internet-based consulting firm, and is the founder and president of the Association of Independent Property Brokers and Agents (AIPBA”). He is taking the lead on the AIPBA's fight to keep the property broker bond reasonable. Mr. Lamb is also the founder and chairman of the Small Business in Transportation Coalition ("SBTC"), which seeks to foster partnerships among the players in the industry and between industry and government. The SBTC seeks to protect and promote the interests of all small players in transportation. The SBTC is tackling industry issues like driver pay, safe truck parking, right to carry, and sleep interference, and other injustices. You can contact Mr. Lamb via the SBTC email address: membership@smalltransportation.org.