Oct. 01–With the number of traffic fatalities in Midland County exceeding 30 this year, road safety is a growing concern among residents.
McAnally Wilkins Inc., a Midland agency that insures a number of oil and gas service companies, hopes to instill safety consciousness from the top down to those actually driving the big rigs.
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“At the end of the day, the folks we insure want their employees to make it home safely, and to protect the general public,” John Wilkins Jr., president and partner, told the Reporter-Telegram on Wednesday in a phone interview from the Grand Texan Hotel/Convention Center, where his agency was sponsoring DOT Compliance Training.
Noting that from January to June, there have been 49 traffic fatalities in Midland and Odessa, “that’s a pretty scary statistic,” he said.
Wilkins described the event as an upper-level course targeting business owners and those charged with managing Department of Transportation programs. He estimated there were 233 attending the seminar.
“That’s pretty substantial when you take into account the number of drivers they employ,” Wilkins said.
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“We want to teach the finer points for them to relay to their drivers,” he said. “We want to interact with the owners, the DOT managers, the drivers — to see what they can do to make the programs more effective and get folks home safely.”
With state and federal requirements seeming to change quickly and frequently, Wilkins said sometimes those responsible for compliance aren’t as well-versed as they could be. The course is designed to relay those requirements to the owners and managers to be passed on to the drivers.
Representatives of the Midland Police Department’s team for DOT compliance offered details on what common violations they see on the road and what they see that causes wrecks, Wilkins said.
“It’s always nice to put people who are on the firing line, who see this day in and day out, in a position to relate to business owners, to DOT managers what they see going on,” he said.
The top two causes of wrecks are driver fatigue and vehicle maintenance, which are compounded by the area’s congested roads, Wilkins said.
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“The more knowledge you have, the more power you have to make it safer for your employees and the general public,” he said.
As the largest insurer of oilfield service companies in West Texas and southeastern New Mexico, he said it was “somewhat of an obligation” for his agency.
“We want to give all the tools possible. The more education, the more tools we can give; it’s our obligation to our clients and to the Midland-Odessa general public,” Wilkins said.
If at the end of the day, “the education we’ve shared here at this seminar saves one life, it will be worth all the effort,” he said.
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