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OSHP solicits aid of commercial truckers to improve road safety

Officials from the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) and other state law-enforcement agencies duly note that they are always seeking to improve road safety in the state by reducing car accidents and other motor vehicle crashes and collisions.

They are currently focused on a new effort to achieve that aim, as well as to deter non-traffic-related crime that occurs on state highways and roads.

Enter the state's commercial truckers, who OSHP and other officials view as potentially being a huge asset in helping them advance that goal. Truckers, they say, are in a unique position to identify and quickly report problematic motorists and driving behaviors and suspicious behavior.

"We see that stuff all day long, it's just sometimes you end up overlooking it," says one commercial trucker working for Wal-Mart commenting on erratic driving, suspicious activities at waysides and other potential safety problems.

Col. John Born, the OSHP superintendent, cites his agency's desire to "multiply what we do" by routinely enlisting the aid of the thousands of commercial truckers who it thinks have a singular ability among motorists to really note what is going on along state roads.

With that in mind, the OSHP inaugurated last month its "Truck Shield" program, an effort to educate commercial truckers about how to identify and report drunk and reckless drivers, suspected drug activity, human trafficking and other illegal activity.

Truckers say they want to help.

"That's my office space," says one driver in referring to the state's roads and highways.

"I want it to be as safe as possible."

Source: Chillicothe Gazette, "Ohio truck drivers train to look for crime," Kantele Franko, June 5, 2012

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