Truckers have always been the “knights of the highway”, well known for helping motorists in trouble as well as helping each other. As crime on the highway increases and our law enforcement officers are stretched thin, truckers are needed more than ever before to use their eyes and ears to help those in distress.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol launched a new program in May of 2012 called Truck Shield. It was conceived as a way to help stem the tide of highway deaths caused by impaired drivers, but also seeks to curtail crimes of every kind on the highways. On Memorial Day weekend 2011, five of the 14 highway fatalities in Ohio involved alcohol—that’s nearly 30% of the total death rate that can be contributed to impaired drivers that could possibly have been stopped before someone died!
Highway patrol officers statewide are involved in the training and instruction to enable truckers to detect impaired drivers, criminals, homeland security threats, and human traffickers. Colonel John Born, the Patrol superintendent, remarked, “Once trained, these drivers have the ability to help law enforcement keep Ohio roadways safe, whether from impaired drivers or terrorist activity. We are very excited to have the help of these drivers – not only Memorial Day weekend – but for years to come.”
Truckers are recognized almost on a daily basis across the country for their heroism and bravery. Most recently, Mike Schiotis of Tennessee was honored for his role in what he first thought was an accident. As he slowed his rig to see if two cars needed help he heard a woman scream for help and managed to get her into the cab of his truck. Her attacker, an ex-boyfriend, followed them but Mike and another driver formed a moving roadblock until state trooper could apprehend the man.
You won’t always have to get directly involved in order to save a life or make a difference. Trucking companies are asked to contact their local Ohio Patrol Post if they or their drivers are interested in participating in the program. If drivers see criminal activity or impaired driving they are asked to call #677 to report it so an officer can investigate.