Who is Commercial Vehicle Training Association?
The Commercial Vehicle Training Association (CVTA) is the largest association representing commercial truck driver training programs in the United States. CVTA members represent over 225 schools in 43 states and collectively train nearly 60,000 commercial drivers annually. CVTA’s primary mission is to advance and support the commercial driver training industry through advocacy, education programs, and certification programs to help members produce the safest drivers possible. Founded in 1996, CVTA advocates for policies that enhance safety through commercial driver training, reduce barriers for those seeking entry into the trucking and bus industries, and further advance overall driver professionalism.
CVTA Found a Need…
The commercial driving industry been suffering from growing deficit of commercial drivers, adding to the problem of transporting vital goods across the country, and threatening the national supply chain. The advent of COVID-19 further hampered efforts to recruit new drivers as the federal and states mandated, for safety reasons, that commercial driving schools shut down their training programs and licensing facilities. The shutdowns only further exacerbated a growing problem – existing drivers were further stretched but could only be on the road for a limited time, per regulation. New drivers who may have even neared or completed training could not take their driving tests nor be issued their commercial driver license (CDL).
…While They Faced Challenges
CVTA needed to communicate to governing bodies that the dire need to move essential goods, especially mid-COVID-19 was being severely hampered by lack of open CDL facilities in numerous states. The groups with decision-making power, including United States Senators and the National Association of Governors, needed to become intimately aware that regulations in their own respective states were causing real harm not only to the industry, but efforts to combat the effect of COVID-19 on their residents’ needs.
…A National Crisis…
Just to the advent of the pandemic, the situation was becoming urgent – the nation was experiencing a shortage of 60,000 CDL truck drivers and 40,000 new CDLs were being issued monthly, falling short of the needs at the time. One month into the crisis, the nation and already experiencing supply shortages: home goods, food, technology product for remote workforces, and other life essentials. The shortage of CDL drivers shot up to 100,000 per month – placing an immense strain on the national supply chain. The situation quickly went from serious to dire. On behalf of the CVTA, we forged alliances with organizations that were directly impacted by the ensuing shutdowns, preventing them from issuing CDLs. Some of these many institutions included the Boyd Driving Academy, California Truck Driving Academy in Santa Ana, Future Truck Drivers of America in Ashboro, Roadmaster Drivers School, the Agribusiness Council of Indiana, the American Bus Association, the MN Crop Production Retailers, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, The Fertilizer Association, Vocational Recovery Solutions, and many more.
…We Provided Disruptive Solutions.
As part of CVTA’s mission was as an advocacy group for the commercial driver industry, we capitalized on that strength. We placed their awareness campaign that concentrated on placements in numerous television and radio stations, as well as industry-specific publications, highlighting their thought leadership on the state to the industry to convince the public of the need to reopen state driver licensing agencies (SDLAs) to alleviate the growing strain on the supply chain and put convince federal legislators and governors to relax regulation and reopen facilities, respectively.
Media Exposure Metrics
During their highly aggressive two-month long campaign, CVTA achieved a total of 36 placements in highly targeted media outlets such as local television and radio shows, industry websites and popular internet news outlets.
This amounted to an exposure aggregate of nearly 175 million potential views from television news and radio shows, trucking industry websites and popular finance news sites. Based on that aggregate and the expected industry standard of 2.5% for actual views, about 4.4 million of CVTA’s targeted audience (i.e., the public and government decision-makers) watched, listened, or read these news stories.
Don Lefeve, president of the CVTA, was featured in a radio interview for NPR’s Marketplace radio show (which receives an average of 1,640,000 visitors monthly) to discuss the already existing backup of new drivers and the need to train new drivers, which take up to three months to fully train. His concerns about the troubles within the industry help establish his thought leadership and expertise to a business-minded audience.
FOX Business.com, which receives about 42 million unique visits every month, discussed with Mr. Lefeve about his concerns over the rate of professional driver retirements versus the influx of new drivers to replace and them not being nearly enough to make up for the attrition. This placement alone was massive exposure to share his expert knowledge of the pressing issue.
Lefeve also provided details to Yahoo! Finance on how the CVTA was contributing a solution to the commercial driver shortage problem – projecting that schools would be producing about 60% of drivers as compared to normal (i.e., pre-COVID-19) circumstances. The website receives an average of about 15 million unique visits every month.
Don Lefeve and CVTA were also featured in a number of other specifically targeted media outlets:
The Center Square: DMV shutdown in Virginia could cause trucker shortage, harm economic recovery
WSLS 10 News: Trucking industry looking for training restrictions for licenses to be lifted
ABC10 News San Diego: Student truck drivers in limbo despite surge in shipping demands
KTNV Las Vegas: Nevada trucker trouble: COVID-19 closure halts commercial license process
CDL Life: With DMVs closed, group calls for DOT or trucking schools to issue CDLs
Manufacturing Business Technology: DMV Closings Could Escalate Supply Chain Challenges
Yahoo! Finance: As Online Orders Soar, Driver Shortage Stalls Supply Chain
Fleet Owner: Supply chain threatened by lack of new truck drivers
Freight Waves: Driving schools seek DOT authority for CDL testing
Transport Topics: Iowa Driver Among First in US to Use Technology for CDL Skills Test
For each interview and article placement, we positioned Don Lefeve as the industry thought leader for the commercial driver education and training industry. He used his numerous media opportunities to spread the message about the severe driver shortage and need for driver licensing facilities to resume operations. His efforts have paid off in letter writing campaigns to federal legislators’ and governors’ offices urging relaxation of regulations and facility closures, establishing his reputation via third-party validation.
…and CVTA Responded!
“When COVID-19 hit the United States, CVTA needed help communicating the impact of 27 state agency shutdowns was having on training truck drivers. JOTO PR Disruptors delivered and CVTA was able to elevate our message. They helped in getting the right media channels to pay attention, educated reporters about the impact these shutdowns had on students, and helped a larger audience understand how critical commercial driver’s licenses issuance is to our economy and supply chain during the pandemic. We were published in well over 30 media stories in a two-month span, which circulated to millions of people. This helped garnered a new level of attention from CVTA members and non-members alike, galvanizing them toward a common goal.” ~Don Lefeve, President, Commercial Vehicle Training Association