Guest Opinions

Let’s share the road this Memorial Day weekend and all get home safely

Tim Melody
Tim Melody John Sommers © 2017

Millions of Americans will hit the roads this Memorial Day weekend for beach trips and barbecues with friends and family. I’ll be right there beside them — not for a vacation, but as one of 3.5 million professional truck drivers working to safely deliver the goods that keep our community running.

Driving alongside your family on the highway is a tremendous responsibility that I do not take lightly. It’s my first priority that we all return home safely from our trips — whether it’s a trip to the beach or a delivery to stock the shelves at the local grocery store. As we kick off the busy summer travel season, I hope that you’ll share this goal so that we can successfully share the road.

While driving next to a truck on the highway can seem intimidating, know that I am well-trained and dedicated to ensuring your safety. The trucking industry invests at least $9.5 billion in improving safety every year, and it’s paying off. Our trucks are safer than ever, and I’m trained to drive with the highest level of caution, especially on a busy weekend like this one.

The same things that frustrate you on the road — bad traffic and crumbling infrastructure — frustrate me, too. But with a big rig and a trailer full of freight, the stakes are high. As aggravated as I may get from congestion, it’s my duty to stay calm and operate at safe speeds to ensure the safety of those around me and to make a successful delivery. Millions of drivers will be on the roads this holiday weekend, so you and I may be sitting in some traffic together. I keep my cool by focusing on what lies ahead: The next mile is always the most important.

One way to fix America’s congestion problem is by working to expand and improve our highway system. Like many of you, I’m anxiously waiting for Congress to make a greater investment in infrastructure. Increased funding for America’s roads and bridges will only help to ensure safe, efficient deliveries — something we can all celebrate.

I’m proud to be a professional truck driver, playing such an important role in our country’s economy. Trucks help deliver everything you can see or touch around you, from your picnic supplies at the beach to the fuel that helped you get there. Here in Idaho, trucking delivers 76 percent of all goods in the state. Instead of viewing trucks as something getting in your way this holiday weekend, I hope you’ll view us as keeping your lives supplied and moving.

The summer travel season is one of the busiest times of the year, and I’m proud to share the road with you. I want drivers to know that when they pass me on the highway this weekend, they’re safe.

The most important trip I make is the trip home to see my family, and I know that’s true of everyone I drive alongside. Let’s work together this Memorial Day weekend to keep our roads and highways safe, our shelves stocked and keep Moving America Forward.

Tim Melody, of Payette, is a professional truck driver and member of Trucking Moves America Forward.

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