The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) started this idea by making more cyclists aware of the dangers of large goods vehicles on the road; to do this they created an event called ‘Exchanging Places’ where cyclists and pedestrians were able to sit in the lorries and get a better understanding of what the driver can see, can’t see and where the blind spots are. These events happened all over London and were open to all the public with many large goods vehicles provided to be used for demonstration purposes.
PCSO Rob Jones heard of this idea and wanted to bring it to his area of the Midlands, to make more people aware of traffic safety. His target audience children, which led him to start taking trucks to schools to show children the key points about traffic safety around large goods vehicles.
He shows children where to stand when crossing the road, making them aware of the fact that “if you cannot see the driver, the driver cannot see you”. This scheme is targeted at children between the ages of 4 to 11 and has become popular with primary schools.
The vehicle used for the event on this day belongs to West Midlands Scania truck dealer Keltruck Ltd. The vehicle, a Scania Topline tractor unit, spends its life collecting and delivering abnormal loads on a low-loader trailer – a job for a well seasoned driver. The driver of this vehicle, John Maiden, joined the event along with Ria Kelly who works in Keltruck’s marketing team who thought the event was a great success and found the school very welcoming to all who attended on the day.
Rob commented; “I was pleased to see the Keltruck vehicle, along with Ria and John. The enthusiasm from the children was not dampened by the bad weather one bit and the day was a great day for the children to learn about road/truck safety. Head teacher, Mrs Wilson, was very grateful for our efforts in such bad weather. I believe that these types of days are of great benefit to the children in keeping them safe on the roads. If we can save one life it will have been worth it.”
Rob was very keen to get this programme started, he is driven by a past experience of witnessing a child involved in an accident with a large goods vehicle and he has also seen many similar incidents in his working life.