Students Gain First-Hand Driver Safety Lessons

July 1, 2011

Local “Share the Road” Truck Visited Driver’s Education Classes

Coon Rapids High School driver’s education students got a first-hand view from behind the wheel of a semi truck recently as part of a program to learn how to safely share the road with trucks. The Minnesota Trucking Association (MTA) sponsored a visit by the “Share the Road” truck and local drivers as part of an ongoing driver and public initiative focused on road safety.

“The Minnesota Trucking Association is focused on safety and education for all ages and types of drivers,” said John Hausladen, President of MTA. “Safety is the trucking industry’s primary concern and we are committed to safer roads and highways. But trucks share the road with other vehicles. We are all responsible for practicing safe driving habits. Sharing a truck driver’s perspective with young drivers will help them make smart decisions behind the wheel. This knowledge is critical since research studies show that when cars and trucks collide, the car driver is most often at fault.”

Coon Rapids High School students will combine hands-on instruction with their classroom knowledge, equipping them with a clearer understanding of the dangers of driving near trucks. Six class periods will participate in the MTA program. Assisted by experienced truck drivers, nearly 200 students will climb into the truck cab and experience how truck drivers see the road, including “blind spots” and other distractions.

“Teens are excited to earn their driver’s license and the privilege of operating a motor vehicle,” said Jeffrey McGonigal, Coon Rapids High School Principal. “But their enthusiasm sometimes outpaces their knowledge of potential dangers, causing trepidation for parents and loved ones. One of those dangers that can be reduced is driving a vehicle close to a tractor-trailer. We are excited to partner with the Minnesota Trucking Association to make our students aware of the strategies that they can use for safe operation around a ‘big rig.’Learning these strategies in a textbook cannot replicate the experience of the real sensations.”

The program is part of an ongoing safety education effort that includes providing driver education instructors with materials to effectively deliver the “Share the Road” message. The MTA is providing the new “Trucks and Teens” digital curriculum to all driver’s education programs in the state, and working to facilitate more “Share the Road” events.