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Sharing the road with commercial vehicles: What driver education should teach

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How many people in Madison and beyond use the interstate highway system to go to work? Shopping? Visiting? Interstate highways such as 90 and 94 that cut through Madison is just a few examples of the hundreds of miles of interstate highway systems that run throughout the United States. However, today’s use of the interstate was not its original intent.

The interstate highway system was a project started by the Dwight Eisenhower Administration. Its purpose was to create a way for the departments of defense and transportation to get to all points of the United States. This purpose reigns true to this day. A look at the number of freight that travels from place to place on semi-trucks provides a good example of how everything we use, wear or sit on gets here.

If the large commercial motor vehicles are a normal routine on our interstate highway system, why is there little mention of them in driver education classes? As part of the professional truck driver relations effort, it is important to provide a realistic view of the men and women who are providing this service. It is equally important to educate drivers about how to approach, pass and merge with these movers of commerce on our roadways. The best way to do this is to start with our driver education courses.

When asked what the number one issue that truck drivers wanted the general motoring public to know, the most responses given was education. One driver stated that some trucking associations, such as In Tennessee, have educational programs for this purpose. Public service announcements geared towards educating the public on highway safety where big commercial trucks were also offered. One effort that is in its early stages of development is ‘Sharing the Road’, pioneered by Kari Fisher of Denver, CO. Through social media campaigns, Ms. Fisher has aspirations of providing young driving students the tools of success when driving around commercial vehicles. If you would like to learn more about Kari’s efforts, she can be found on Facebook.

In addition to Ms. Fisher’s work on getting driver education programs revamped, truck driver services such as OOIDA (Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association), Keystruckers by Jan and James McCarter, and Ask the Trucker, by Allen and Donna Smith are just a few examples of a wide array of support systems who have been working hard to educate both the trucking community and general public about who and what the trucking community are about. Stay tuned for more information on these great contributors!

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