Teaching others to share the road

By Mark Reddig
Host Land Line Now


Here’s a statistic we quote often: In 75 percent of truck-car collisions, the truck is not at fault.

It’s why we think so many enforcement efforts are mistargeted. Why keep pounding away at 25 percent of the problem, while doing nothing about 75 percent of the problem?

Most folks in trucking have good ideas about how to solve the 75 percent.

One is that we need to teach drivers, before they receive their first license, how to share the road with trucks.

I agree with that idea, and I always have. Of course, first, we might actually want to train new drivers. But most states don’t offer driver’s education as a regular class … if they offer it at all.

Others say truckers need to step forward, that we need a program to help match truckers with schools to provide this educational necessity, since schools seem unable or unwilling.

But the fact is, we don’t need a program.

Truckers already have a lot of opportunities to do this. I’ve heard of truckers who work with their local schools, showing up for a driver’s ed class to explain to students how they should interact with truckers and what the dangers are.

I know folks who bring their trucks to a school where they’re a Trucker Buddy and show kids how hard it is to see other vehicles.

OOIDA member Sue Lynch put kids in her Trucker Buddy class into the driver’s seat, and then went outside the truck, standing at various points around the truck and then asking the student inside, “Can you see me?”

I’ve also talked with truckers who did a similar demonstration and invited the parents to do the same thing.

I should probably point out now that I recently joined the Trucker Buddy board. But I did that because I’ve seen the difference that program makes, and I really think it can help the trucking industry by improving our image with the next generation.

But this doesn’t have to be something done with a Trucker Buddy class. Another trucker I spoke with ages ago did roughly the same thing for his kids’ class. You know your kids’ teachers, you know the other parents. Offer to do a demonstration sometime.

There’s lots of opportunities. Let the folks outside the industry see what truckers are like.

Once they see how interested in safety you are, and how four-wheelers can create such enormous problems, you might be surprised at how many eyes have opened. LL