Safe driving campaign kicks off in Victoria

Jessica  Rodrigo By Jessica Rodrigo

June 12, 2014 at 1:12 a.m.

Woody Hill, vice president of the safety services for Texas Mutual Insurance Company

Woody Hill, vice president of the safety services for Texas Mutual Insurance Company

No employer wants to receive a call that one of their drivers has been in an accident.

Unfortunately, with the increased traffic from the growing oil and gas industries, accidents will happen, said Woody Hill, vice president of the safety services department of Texas Mutual Insurance Co. In Texas alone, 18 percent of all injuries with policyholders were related to the oil and gas industries, he said.

The insurance company was in Victoria to launch its Give Safety a Hand campaign public safety initiative Thursday. The campaign shares ways to reduce the risk of driver-related accidents.

To kick off the campaign, which will run statewide, representatives from the community and Texas Mutual Insurance Co. shared thoughts on how important it is that all drivers drive defensively.

"A lot of the time, it's because they're not getting enough rest or are distracted," Hill said.

Employers need to train their employees to practice safe driving by staying off the phone and radio and learning to share the road with other drivers, he said.

"It's important to focus and put all our attention on the road," he said.

Two years ago, David Ainsworth received a call from one of his drivers that there was an accident.

Ainsworth, the president of Ainsworth Trucking based of out Corpus Christi, said his driver was driving a tractor-trailer with cargo and was following a convoy of other tractor-trailers when he was hit by a train while attempting to cross the train tracks.

Luckily for his driver, the train was traveling at 25 mph in a 65 mph zone because of recent construction on the tracks.

"The most dangerous thing they do every day is pull out on the highway," he said. "As an employer, it's your duty to make sure your employees go home the same way they came in."

He brings the totaled tractor-trailer across the state to show employers the kind of damage that can happen in just seconds.

The twisted metal is a reminder for drivers to share the road and be respectful of each other, he said.

"It takes time for them (tractor-trailers) to slow down," Ainsworth said. "Give them space on the road and drive defensively."

Ronnie Morris of 2M Road Bore attended the launch event of the Texas Mutual Insurance Co. campaign and said he's constantly working with his drivers to make sure they're being safe on the road.

The business employs about 50 people in the field and operates a fleet of about 20 vehicles, he said.

"If they're driving distracted, not only can they hurt other drivers, but they can hurt someone in the cab," he said.

In his eight years of operation, he said they've only seen minor accidents. Driver safety awareness is the most important part of the training, Morris said.



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