& Hopes For '99
VAN NUYS, CA...Well, here we are at the start
of another new year already! Last year was great for Ol' Blue,
USA (United Safety Alliance, Inc.). During the course of the last
12 months we traveled 10,500 miles putting on 11 safety demonstrations,
appearing at 3 trade shows, and presenting 14 "Big Wheel, Little
Kids" programs for a total of 28 safety events featuring the Ol'
Blue, USA safety message. We reached 15 million people by all
accounts. Not bad for a Non-Profit Charitable Organization that
lost a couple of Sponsors due to budget cuts and no Federal Grant
last year. Many thanks to Michelin Tire, Shell Oil, Alcoa Wheel,
Wilshire Insurance, Webb Wheel Products, Mid-America and International
Trucking Shows for sticking with us, and displaying a true concern
for highway safety.
Blue, USA is not going to let the loss of Sponsorship get us down
or detract from our mission of educating all drivers and keeping
the roads safer for all of us. Our message and lessons are of
vital importance; it's just hard to convince folks that it costs
money! With more Sponsors we have more money, and with more money
we can make more appearances and educate more people. Seems simple,
doesn't? At this writing, 87 requests have been made of Ol' Blue,
USA to attend events in 1999 as far afield as Georgia, Massachusetts,
Ohio and Washington. So far, due to the "cut-backs", we have only
been able to commit to attending the '99 Mid-America Trucking
Show (Louisville, KY, March 25-27), North American Truck Show
(Boston, MA, May 6- 8), International Trucking Show (Las Vegas,
NV, June 9-11), and the Great American Trucking Show (Dallas,
TX, Sept. 9-11), along with 10 other radio show spots, school,
rest area, and truck stop visits.
are working hard to encourage additional Sponsorships for Ol'
Blue, USA so we can fulfill all the requests for appearances,
continue to grow, and spread our safety message for as long as
it is needed. If you know of any reputable, safety conscious company
that might be interested, please contact us or ask them to do
so at P.O. Box 2401, Van Nuys, CA 91404-2401, FAX at (775) 514-1930
or visit our Website at www.olblueusa.org.
saw the birth of plans to create a big truck simulator to further
spread the message of safety around large vehicles. Engineering
complications have caused Ol' Blue, USA to look at a longer time-line
before this project can become a reality. By "engineering complications"
we mean that, so far, we have not been able to find a company
who produces a realistic, true-to- life simulator. No contributions
are being sought at this time and folks who have already contributed
will have their money returned until formal plans can be announced
for the official start of the simulator project. Ol' Blue, USA
deeply appreciates each and every dollar that was contributed
to this project, and is sorry for the delay.
the new year always means to Ol' Blue, USA is getting ready for
the start of the truck show season which commences with the Mid-America
Trucking Show in March, 1999. Thanks to the generous efforts of
that show and its management, Ol' Blue, USA has a standing date
at the Mid-America show through the year 2010. By that time Ol'
Blue®will be almost 60 years old and still hard at work.
Ol' Blue, USA wants to
wish everyone a safe and happy 1999 and wants to again thank
all of the wonderful people who helped out Ol' Blue, USA in
1998. The time, energy and enthusiasm so generously given, makes
it all possible and a big pleasure. And a special thanks to
all those organizations who granted us radio time and newsprint
space. That important contribution keeps the message of Ol'
Blue, USA in the public eye. We sure appreciate that too. May
1999 bring everyone a prosperous and healthy and, most of all,
a "Safe New Year."
This article appeared in the Jan 1999 issue of "Movin Out",
courtesy of Steve and Pam Pollock.
The Ol' Blue, USA Way
In a classic Kenworth, RJ Taylor
wages a one-man campaign for safety and trucking's public image.
"Oh my gosh!" RJ Taylor moans as he sees
a photo of a big truck at a grade-school show-and-tell. Kids
sit in the cab, stand on the steps, bumper and fenders, hang
off the grab bars. "He could lose his truck if one of those
kids fell," he sighs.
Taylor is better known to countless truck
show visitors as Ol' Blue, USA (United Safety Alliance , the
name of the non-profit organization (http://www.olblueusa.org).
For years, he has led a campaign to educate the public, especially
impressionable children, about trucks and highway safety.
At the same time, he campaigns against scenes
like that described above, because of the potential for injury
to the children and the risk at which it puts the truck operator.
"Ol' Blue, USA has an insurance policy about
a half-inch thick for our school visits and shows. About two
pages of that tells us what we can do; the rest says what we
can't do and what we must do to protect ourselves," Taylor says.
Draping children, or "civilians" of any age, all over a rig
for a photo session heads the no-no list, RJ says.
Taylor's devotion to caution makes product
watchdogs like Ralph Nader look like daredevils. He points to
the daily news as proof that such caution is warranted. "Anybody
can file a suit against you for anything. In some ways, it doesn't
matter whether they can win or not," he says.
When he visits a school or other event,
such as the recent Antique Gas and Steam Engine rally in Vista,
Calif., he tries to keep audiences at least 10 feet from the
beautifully restored and maintained 1951 Kenworth. He always
has at least one person help guide him onto playgrounds and
other display areas, with his escort looking sharp for anyone
headed toward the rig.
Only one person — a teacher or adult volunteer,
sometimes a child — is allowed to sit in the cab; that person
describes the blind spots around the big truck and other safety
items to the audience. If it's a child, a teacher must help
the student get into and out of the cab, under RJ's step-by-step
He urges drivers who want to make school
visits to check with their insurance carriers before doing so;
neither a basic truckman's policy nor bobtail insurance is generally
sufficient, he says.
Taylor more or less stumbled into becoming
a safety advocate. When he moved into the neighborhood back
in the 1960s, local kids begged to help him clean the truck
(and to ride in it).
In 1964, he had acquired the KW from a guy
who owed him money but had only the truck as an asset. "It was
'Ol' Junk' then, not 'Ol' Blue.' I tried to sell it but nobody
would buy it. Eventually I just decided to fix it up and run
Over the years, he decided to try to improve
the image of trucking and also educate children about highway
safety. "I figure if they learn it, they will teach their parents
while they're driving down the road, because nobody can nag
you like a kid in the backseat," he laughs.
With his sensitivity to potential problems, Taylor could have
made a great lawyer. Instead, though he says he's still pushing
on doors marked "Pull," Taylor and Ol' Blue, USA make a difference,
one kid at a time.
This article appeared in the Jan/Feb issue of "Road King",
courtesy of Bill Hudgins.
Ol' Blue, USA Way" Contents Copyright, 1999 Road King On Ramp
USA's News Editor Gary