December 10, 2013
Truck Centers, Inc., along with one if its customers – E.L. Henderson Trucking – joined with llinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), Illinois State Police, State Farm Insurance Company and Grey Eagle Distributors to launch the “Drive for Tomorrow” program at the Collinsville Gateway Center.
“Drive for Tomorrow” is geared toward saving lives on Illinois roads and provides important hands-on safety activities for area high school driver’s education students.
The goal of the four-day event, involving more than 1,400 students from 10 Metro East high schools, was to teach students about the hazards of impaired and distracted driving, excessive speed, “no zone” safety awareness for tractor trailers and motorcycles, and the importance of seat belt use, all of which affect teen drivers who often do not recognize the hazards or full consequences due to lack of experience. The training was structured like a typical school day, dividing students into six groups that rotate and attend various safety sessions throughout the day.
“IDOT and our many partners on this initiative recognize the importance of teaching our driver’s education students strong safe driving lessons that will follow them throughout their lives,” says Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. “Crash data confirms early hands-on education for student drivers leads to fewer accidents and injuries in the future. We are confident the simulated road hazard experiences at this event will help more young drivers understand the dangers and practice their reactions in simulations to prevent an unfortunate crash and save lives.”
Students learned about work zone safety, motorcycle awareness, “no zones” and stopping requirements for tractor trailers as well as the dangers of distracted driving. Industry professionals utilized hands-on activities such as the “Seat Belt Convincer” and “Roll-Over Simulator” to enforce the lessons in simulated environments.
The teens also climbed into the cab of Freightliner Cascadia big rigs provided by E.L. Henderson Trucking and experienced the blindspots in semis and the difficulty viewing passenger vehicles behind, beside or just in front of the truck. They also put on Fatal Vision Goggles that simulated the effects of alcohol impairment and drove through a golf cart course.
“Drive for Tomorrow” is provided at no cost to participating schools as a result of sponsorship from local business and corporate sponsors, including: State Farm Insurance Company, Grey Eagle Distributing, Gateway Center, Jack Schmitt Ford, Henderson Trucking, Truck Centers, Inc., Freightliner Trucks, Petroff Towing, Terminal RailroadPolice, Great West Casualty Company, and Frieze Harley Davidson.