Plover, WI (September 28) - Woodbridge, VA: “Enemy” was how Ron Wood viewed every tractor trailer on the road. The massive rigs were a painful reminder of the crash that killed his mother, sister, and three nephews near Sherman, Texas in 2004. The accident was caused by a fatigued driver who crossed the median and struck his family’s SUV head on, killing all five of his loved ones.
Ron became active in the Truck Safety Coalition and C.R.A.S.H. (Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways), a safety advocacy group formed in 1990 and led by Joan Claybrook, a former Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Coalition. “To this day, when I see a semi-trailer truck, I am instantly reminded of the deaths and devastation they have caused (both to my family and to so many others) and of which they are constantly capable,” Wood stated in a Facebook post.
Mr. Wood served on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Entry-Level Driver Training Advisory Committee, where he met Ellen Voie, President and CEO of the Women In Trucking Association, Inc. (WIT). “Ellen suggested that it might be therapeutic for me to take a ride in an actual eighteen-wheeler,” Wood said. “I thought about it. My first internal reaction was, No way. Trucks [are] bad. But, then after I thought more … well, I figured it might be a helpful part of my healing process.”
“When I met Mr. Wood, it was clear that the loss of his family members had motivated him to focus on truck safety,” said Voie, “but I was especially concerned that he didn’t realize that the industry has the same goal. I wanted him to get a true perspective of the use of technology and the practices in place to avoid fatigue.”
Ron Wood, CRASH safety advocate and Carol Nixon, professional driver for Walmart Private Fleet
The ride was scheduled for September 25th, almost eleven years to the day that Ron lost his family members. Carol Nixon, a 25-year professional driver for Walmart’s Private Fleet and a member of the WIT Image Team, was the driver. His two-hour journey started and ended at the Walmart store in Woodbridge, Virginia.
“The ride along on the Walmart truck was highly informative. And an unexpected, important step in my healing process. The safety features, practices and professionalism in the Walmart trucking fleet are amazing, and way beyond what I expected,” said Ron. “I only wish these safety measures were standard across all the trucking companies in the U.S.”
The Women In Trucking Association is a non-profit organization with the mission to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments, and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the industry.