Program focuses on road safetyWritten by Krista Hovis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Each year more than 1,200 people are killed on Ohio highways. Last holiday season in Ohio, 37 people died in highway accidents. The American Trucking Association (ATA) recently did its part to increase highway safety in the Toledo area through its Share The Road tour. More than 50 people visited Nagle Companies in Walbridge on Dec. 11 to learn how they can safely “share the road” with tractor-trailers every day.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the U.S. Department of Transportation, nearly 75 percent of truck-involved fatalities are unintentionally initiated by car drivers. Of those accidents, 35 percent occur in a truck’s blind spot. Most motorists are unaware of a truck’s blind spots and don’t know how to avoid them. They also may not know to pass a truck on the left side, not the right, or not to linger alongside a truck.
In its 19th year, Share The Road travels to various locations around the country sharing its message. The Arlington, Va.-based ATA works in tandem with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission to develop the program. It consists of speakers who are professional truck drivers with exemplary safety records and on-site demonstrations. Speakers are chosen based on their experience and driving records.
Larry Davis, president of the Ohio Trucking Association, requested the Toledo event.
“I felt we had some negative press in a local Toledo newspaper in August that made it seem as though we didn’t support safety in Ohio,” he said. “I wanted the ATA to bring the program here to show what the trucking industry does to improve safety and to send a positive message.”
The speakers for the Toledo event were drivers Albert Adams, Randy Broderick, David May and Rich Scholl. Together, they have more than 112 years of experience and more than 9 million accident-free miles behind the wheel.
The second part of the program involves a demonstration with a tractor-trailer and cars parked in the blind spots — to the left of the truck, behind the truck out of mirror range, and to the right of the truck extending the length of the trailer and out three lanes. Attendees are invited to climb into the cab and see for themselves the visibility limitations. They can then go for a ride with the professional drivers for real road experience.
To make this portion of the program easier, Mack Trucks Inc., which has sponsored Share The Road for seven years, donated a Mack tractor-trailer in 2005. Three-year sponsor Michelin North America Inc. donated tires.
The program has traveled to 12 stops this year. It goes to a wide range of places suggested by state trucking associations. Edwin Nagle III of Nagle Companies, Keith Tuttle, Motor Carrier Service Inc. in Northwood, and Dean Kaplan, K-Ltd. Carriers, Toledo, were also instrumental in bringing the program to the area, with Nagle offering his business as the location.
“Every one of our employees is like family,” he said. “It’s critical that they arrive home safely to their families and we feel the same way about the public. This is an excellent program that states we care about the safety of motorists. It’s money well spent by the ATA,” said Nagle, who has been involved with safety education for the last 15 years.
Many local government, fire and law enforcement officials attended the event. Some of the materials shown there will be used by fire officials to help train city workers. According to Nagle, the Toledo Trucking Association is working with local Catholic high schools to bring the program back to the area to help instill safe driving habits and awareness in teens.