Elora trucker named to safety team

Professional truck driver Paul Martin has accumulated 1.6 million colli­sion free kilometers during 14 years of driving.

Martin has been named to the 2009-2010 Ontario Truck­ing Association Road Knights Team, an elite team of truck drivers who serve as road safe­ty ambassadors.  Martin, who drives for MacKinnon Trans­port in Guelph, hauls flatbed freight to points in Ontario, Que­­bec, and Michigan with a B-train. 

Martin is known for his caring, confident, and positive attitude which he extends to his career on the road. The father of eight and grandfather of two lives near Elora with his wife, Sharon, and in his spare time is an amateur historian who con­tri­butes to a historical News­letter.

He can also feel for people who have lost family members because he lost an 18-year-old son, who died in an ATV accident in 2008 while camp­ing up north.

The Road Knights are a group of seven men and one woman all of whom are pro­fessional truck drivers com­mitted to enhancing road safety on our highways. Their mission is to raise awareness about how all road users can more safely share the road with transport trucks and about the trucking industry.

 "These professional drivers combine impressive safety rec­ords with the desire to share their dedication and passion for safety," said OTA commu­ni­cations director, Rebecka Torn. “They want to show children what it’s like to sit behind the wheel of a big rig. They want to educate drivers about blind spots around tractor-trailers. Most of all, the eight truck drivers selected for the team want to save lives.”

This is the eighth team the OTA has assembled since the program was launched in 1995. To date, a total of 83 pro­fes­sional truck drivers have parti­cipated.

Over the next two years, the Road Knights will present road sharing tips to motorists, raise awareness of the vital role trucking plays in the economy, talk to young people about careers in the trucking industry, and represent the trucking in­dustry at community events, business club meetings, driver education classes, public schools, truck driving schools and to the media.

Collectively, members of OTA’s eight teams have ap­peared on hundreds of local, national, and international News programs and met with hundreds of thousands of community residents.

To be considered for the team, candidates had to be short-listed for the program and appear before the selection committee.

OTA brought 15 Road Knight finalists to its head office in Toronto for one day in February, during which a panel of seven industry and govern­ment leaders evaluated them on topics such as safety, commu­nication, and community ser­vice before making their final selection.

This year’s selection panel included representatives from: Ministry of Transportation, On­tario Provincial Police, Truck News magazine, 680 News Radio, CP24, Trans­portation Health and Safety Association of Ontario, a member of the previous Road Knights Team and OTA staff.

Each of the finalists were required to deliver a well orga­nized and clearly presented speech before the panel of judges; undergo a screening of their safety records; submit a detailed application outlining why they want to become a team member and then parti­cipate in a rigorous interview by the selection panel.

The Road Knights formally prepare for their new role as industry spokespersons by un­dergoing media and public speaking training.

They are outfitted in a suit bearing the Road Knights crest which they will wear while attending en­gage­ments.