Editor’s note: During June 2003, thousands of our Web site readers followed the June Safety Month “diary” of OOIDA members Mark (“Uglypuppy”) and Renee Taylor, Warren, AR. We won’t have road stories from the Taylors this year. June Safety Month has taken on an entirely new meaning for them. Here’s a special message from Renee Taylor.
Last year, we entertained and informed OOIDA members with tales of running compliant in our daily diaries. This meant making sure our logs were correct, running the speed limit, conforming 100 percent to the hours-of-service rules. Our battles were with shippers, receivers and the DOT. Our freight – produce, chicken and the occasional frozen burrito.
This year, however, June Safety Month finds Lee and me at home and Mark in the most dangerous place on Earth – Baghdad, Iraq. Early in the morning, he awakens to work in APO with other KBR drivers and the brave men of the 1544th Transportation Company, Illinois National Guard. It is their job to ensure our troops get their cards, letters and packages from home. The mail trucks’ arrival is the highlight of the day for those far away from family and friends.
Instead of speeding four wheelers, it's camels roaming across the road in the desert. Instead of shippers and receivers, it's the enemy determined to take them out. It's IEDs, mortars and small arms fire.
We were proud last year to boldly proclaim our dedication to OOIDA and June Safety Month. We are proud, this year, to boldly proclaim our dedication to our country and the mission in Iraq.
In Mark's situation, safety requires giving 100 percent for survival. In the trucking industry, without across the board cooperation with running compliant and taking a stand, nothing will change. I encourage everyone to participate this year in June Safety Month. There is strength in numbers, but only if those numbers are willing to do what is necessary to bring about the desired result.