Here at the MLN Law blog we often talk about the dangers posed by large tractor trailer trucks on the road. We have brought you news of truck drivers operating with fraudulent inspection stickers, tired truck drivers, improperly loaded trucks, unsafe logging trucks, and sobering trucking accident statistics among many other items. In fact, if you read the MLN Law blog on a daily basis, you have probably come away with a pretty poor picture of the trucking industry and truckers in general. But, as with everything in life, there is another side to the story. One of the groups fighting the good fight on that other side is America’s Road Team
America’s Road Team is made up of a group of truck drivers with stellar reputations and driving records who are dedicated to road safety. According to their site, the America’s Road Team program “is a national public outreach program led by a small group of professional truck drivers who share superior driving skills, remarkable safety records and a strong desire to spread the word about safety on the highway.”
And America’s Road Team accomplishes that lofty goal in a common sense style apropos to the salt of the earth image of truck drivers we often seen depicted in television and film – they get hands on.
At an event at Skyview High School in Billings, Montana last month, members of America’s Road Team brought their convoy to show new teen drivers what to do to avoid a mix up with a tractor trailer truck. One of the best ways to learn is by doing, and teens were invited to climb up into the cab of a big rig and see the world as a truck driver sees it. They were probably quite surprised at the number of blind spots truck drivers have to contend with.
“It’s important to show where not to be as a driver for a big truck because that car is actually in what they call a “no zone” which is a blind zone,” said Ken Gray, trucker with Hanser’s Automotive and Wrecker, when pointing out the blind spots to a student. “We can’t see that car and if we turned right right now we’d actually drive over that car.”
As the America’s Road Team members told the students, the three blind spots on a tractor trailer are on its sides and directly behind it. The biggest is on the right-hand side.
“So pass on the left side and do it as quickly as possible,” said Wayne Staley, a Billings driver’s education student attending the event.
For more on the good work that America’s Road Team is performing, visit their website and that of their parent organization, the American Trucking Association (ATA). Safe Summer Driving Tips from America’s Top Truck Drivers is a must read for anyone who shares the road with trucks or drives frequently.
We here at the MLN Law blog are grateful that America’s Road Team for serving as role models to truckers and educators to the public. Drive safely out there.