By Sandi Soendker
Some time back a letter was sent to me by a trucker whose quick actions behind the wheel had prevented a woman in a car from being smashed to smithereens. She was multitasking – handing off soft drinks and straws to her kids in the back seat – and never even saw the danger. And she never saw the move by the trucker, a defensive move that came natural to him, but one that saved lives. The driver titled his letter. He called it “Lady, you’ll never know.”
Thinking about this puts me in mind of the defensive moves being made by other truckers, in a different way, but similar in principle. Those moves come through the volunteer efforts of truckers participating in something called First Observer.
First Observer is a national safety and security program that uses the skill, experience and “domain knowledge” of the nation’s professional truckers. Domain, as in the world of trucking – a world that nobody knows like truckers.
The program uses trucker savvy to guard our critical transportation system. First Observers keep an eye on the roads, bridges, docks and dark alleyways to make sure attacks like the one on Oklahoma City in 1995 and the one on Sept. 11, 2001, never happen again. If we see something that doesn’t look right, we report it to a call center that knows what to do with that report.
First Observer is operated by Team HMS under a cooperative agreement with the Department of Homeland Security’s Trucking Security program. OOIDA is a partner in this program that looks after Lady Liberty as she multitasks her way through each day. We’re not in it for the red, white and blue publicity, or how many certificates are handed out, or the pats on the back we get from the talking heads.
We’re in it because we can’t let “Lest we forget” become a stale phrase that suddenly becomes urgent on the one day a year we commemorate and honor what we lost when those terrorist bastards attacked us eight years ago.
So, if you’re not a part of this yet, what are you waiting for?