Oct. 1, 2012
ODOT crews in eastern Oregon spent part of the summer talking to kids about the importance of keeping safety in mind at all times. On July 11, the District 13 Elgin Maintenance crew hosted a visit from more than two dozen youngsters on a field trip from the Elgin Library. On Sept. 11, District 14 John Day Maintenance employees drove one of their big snowplows to Ontario for a Teen Safety Awareness Event.
Elgin crew hosts young visitors
“We had 25 or 26 young children, ages 4 to 12, from the Elgin Library visit us at the Elgin Maintenance yard,” said Transportation Maintenance Specialist Kent Bomberger. “I explained to them what we do and how we use the equipment for removing snow from the roads.”
Transportation Maintenance Coordinator Bill Ficken demonstrated the front and wing plows of one of the V-cars used for snow removal. To the delight of the kids, he also blasted the rather noisy horn.
“They were all very surprised when it went off,” Bomberger said. “Bill then started one of the snow blowers and they were amazed at how loud it was when the rotary started moving.”
The Elgin crew also shared handouts showing the three point method to safely get in and out of the equipment.
“They all seemed to enjoy the presentation and they had lots of good questions,” said Bomberger. “The adults that were along had many questions as well.”
Ontario Teens get safe driving tips
In Ontario on Sept. 11, John Day Maintenance crew members Roger Derrick and Kellie Voigt drove an oversized snowplow to the annual Teen Safety Awareness Event, where local high school students learned about several facets of driver safety.
“The goal is to help get teenagers up to speed and help them make better choices behind the wheel,” said Malheur County Traffic Safety Commission Coordinator David Stiefvater, who is a retired ODOT employee.
For new teen drivers, the first year on the road represents the greatest chance of being involved in a fatal crash.
“We had a good program this year with over 170 high school students attending,” said Stiefvater. “Various presenters demonstrated what to do when you have a dead battery, how to install chains and what to do when your vehicle overheats. ODOT also brought one of its huge trucks and did a great job. Most kids don’t realize how big these snow plows are, so it was an eye-opener when they stood next to one.”
The students also got a chance to climb into the cab of the plow and hear Derrick and Voigt explain why it’s important for other motorists to keep their distance when the massive machines are pushing snow off the roadway.
John Day Transportation Maintenance Manager Shane Giffin was thankful for Voigt and Derrick’s participation.
“It gives young adults a first hand look at the equipment our folks operate, diversity with our employees and possibly recruitment of future highway maintenance workers,” Giffin said.