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|April 7-22, 2004
ďOlí Blue can teach the rest of us a thing or twoĒ
Itís all about understanding.† Thatís what driver education and share the road programs are
all about.† Unfortunately, there just isnít
much information in many programs about
how to drive around tractor-trailers.
But that isnít the case with Olí Blue,
Iíve spent time with RJ Taylor at a variety
of truck shows.† In that time Iíve grown
to respect his desire to provide a resource
for truckers to learn more about the ins
and outs of safe driver, DOT compliance,
etc.† His ďIím here when youíre ready to
ask the questionsĒ type approach at the
shows has always been met with great response.
He has various law enforcement officials who will
talk candidly about those pesky log-book rules,
scenarios that led to violations ó you name it,
they are there for you.
Recently, I spent the day with RJ at my sonsí elementary
school.† He was heading through the area toward
Louisville for the Mid-America Trucking Show.† Weíd
talked about getting him in the central Arkansas
area for some time to give one of his ďBig Wheels,
Little KidsĒ Safety Program presentations,
and it finally happened.
My kids are real fans of trucking.† Of course, they
get that from home, like most of your kids do.†
So, I wasnít thinking there was too much RJ could
tell them I hadnít already talked about.
RJ hammed it up for the kids and presented a great
message.† But by far the most fascinating part was
listening to the teachers and their collective reactions
to various parts of RJís message.
Every driver knows about blind spots.† But for
some reason most donít realize just how huge a
truckís blind spot can be.† Fortunately, some
trailers point this out with stickers and such
on the back or on mud flaps, but that doesnít
mean the point sinks in.
As RJ was demonstrating the vastness of a truckís
blind spot, I heard one teacher whisper to another,
ďThatís why I speed around them and hurry up and
get back over in front of them so they can see
No sooner than that was out of her mouth, did
RJ launch into the lecture about how far in front
of the tractor a car has to be before a trucker
can see tail lights.† That set her back a step
I seized the opportunity to step over and explain
the big picture.
Being scared of 18-wheelers isnít the answer.†
Understanding is the answer.† Knowledge is the
best asset for everyone on the road.† As much
as we take time to understand threats and potential
dangers around our homes and such, we should spend
the same amount of time learning about the ones
that lurk on the highways.
The smarter our driving habits are and the more
we give way to the limitations of others, the
safer everyone will be.
The message is simple.† A lot of you donít get
the opportunity to talk this up with people who
simply have never been told.† But try to make
it a point to share your knowledge, not to breed
fear but understanding.
Thatís what RJ does and it really works.
Jami Jones can be reached at (800) 666-2770, ext.
28, e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing
her at P.O. Box 3413, Little Rock, AR 72203.