Elite Truck Drivers Teach PCHS Students Safe Driving

Dunmore, WV – Ten million miles. That’s enough to travel to the moon and back 20 times!

Three truck drivers who visited Pocahontas County High School on Tuesday have a combined miles driven of more than 10,000,000 miles, without any accidents. Clarence Jenkins, Allen Boyd and Kenny Lowry from the American Trucking Associations Share The Road program arrived at the school in a bright, yellow Mack semi-truck.

Share The Road is a highway safety program that informs drivers about the special challenges faced by truck drivers and teaches drivers how to operate safely around trucks. Tuesday’s visit was coordinated by John and Doug Burns, of Burns Motor Freight in Marlinton.
John Burns says the three instructors are a special group.

“This is an elite group – the best of the best as far as talking about drivers,” he said. “We asked them if they would come up here today and present to the students and they agreed to do that and here we are.”

“It’s important for the students so they can educate themselves and get educated on how to drive around trucks, Burns added. “Blind spots, that type of thing is what they’re going to learn today and what the driver experiences when you pass him and pull in front of him. You need to allow a lot of room on each end and they’re going to learn a lot about driving around trucks today.”

The instructors gave a class about blind spots, where a truck driver cannot see a car in close proximity to his rig, even with mirrors. The instructors urged the young drivers to respect themselves and to respect other drivers. Following the class, students climbed into the driver’s seat of the big, yellow truck and were amazed when they could not see two cars, parked on both sides of the truck, in the rearview mirrors.

Share The Road instructor Clarence Jenkins says safe driving around trucks is especially important in The Mountain State.

“One of out of every 14 jobs in West Virginia is in the trucking industry,” he said. “You see, trucking is very, very important in West Virginia, so it’s important that we try to keep each and every one safe out there.”

Senior Curtis Pyles gives his impression of the class.

“I believe the most helpful part was learning about the respect that you need to know, on the road, and the respect that you need to show others,” he said.

Sophomore Wes Felton says extra training on interstate highway driving is helpful to rural students.

“It’s a great help,” he said. “It helps everybody know the blind spots of trucks. Kids driving on the interstate, it’s not a big thing around here, so you need to know before you do it. Knowing not to linger and just go past them because you really don’t know how much they can and can’t see.”

“You can watch videos on it, but you don’t completely understand the blind spots until you’re actually in the truck,” Felton added.

Jenkins thanked Burns Motor Freight for arranging the visit and praises the company’s emphasis on safe driving.

Burns provides a lot of good West Virginia jobs,” he said. “They’re a good, reputable company. Mr. Burns started this company many, many years ago and he’s really involved in the safety out here on the highways. He preaches safety to his drivers. They practice safety. He’s very involved in this. In fact, they were instrumental in getting us here today to do this program.”

John Burns says truck driving is a great career choice for a young person.

“We, in the trucking business, need drivers badly,” he said. “Hopefully, we can interest some kids. It’s a very good career. They can earn a good living and see a lot of country.”

Sophomore Shannon McClure said she doesn’t think she could drive a big truck. But she says she enjoyed the class.

“I learned that there’s different blind spots on tractor-trailers and trucks, so that, the driver’s of cars don’t really notice,” she said. “You’ve got to watch out for them and be respectful to the people that are driving trucks.”

“I liked sitting in the truck,” McClure added. “It was really fun and the seats are very comfortable.”

For more information on the Share The Road program, see www.atastr.org.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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