FIRST OBSERVER REINCARNATED – A contract has been awarded to Triumph-Enterprises, Inc. http://www.triumph-enterprises.com/ to breathe life back into the First Observer highway security program. Readers may remember that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) established First Observer as a successor after terminating the contract with the American Trucking Associations which conducted the successful Highway Watch program. First Observer never had much chance of success in the trucking industry as one of its four partners was a poison-pill known as the International Brotherhood of the Teamsters. Something about Teamsters and lists of drivers had a bad ring.
NTTC is an active member of the TSA’s Highway and Motor Carrier Sector Coordinating Council (HMC-SCC) and has expressed our willingness to, as Herblock said of Richard Nixon in 1969, “give the new program a clean shave.” (Look it up young’uns.) The new program will not involve any other organizations in its management and will focus on training development, website development for housing training modules, and industry outreach. Triumph-Enterprises worked with TSA on development of the First Observer hazardous materials module.
One of the key elements from previous programs that will not be part of the new First Observer is the #800 call-in service to report suspicious activities. TSA hopes to develop an approach, perhaps partnering with the trucking industry, to develop such a call-in service and Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC). The Association of American Railroads (AAR) currently funds the railroad ISAC and TSA funds a commercial bus ISAC through a grant. NTTC has offered to work with the new contractor to develop a Trucking 101 presentation and we will keep you advised of future developments.