"No-Zone" campaign takes a little punch out with its message. Increasingly image-savvy companies are taking their marketing message to the streets. Later in this issue, FLEET OWNER pays tribute to some of the most vivid and creative vehicle graphics campaigns.
In this rolling showcase, one effort bears special mention. That is the No-Zone trailer now running on 50 fleet trailers throughout the country. Conceived of three years ago by the Dept. of Transportation, the safety campaign is designed to educate motorists about sharing the road with commercial vehicles, and to graphically display a tractor-trailer's blind spots -- the No-Zone -- where cars vanish from a truck driver's field of vision. The campaign is backed by public service announcements, as well as creative radio and print advertisements.
Every year, large trucks and passenger vehicles are involved in more than 250,000 crashes. These accidents result in nearly 5,000 deaths. Although the fatal accident rate involving trucks has dropped by 39% over the last 10 years (even as the number of miles driven rose 41%), more can be done.
Many of these accidents happen out of ignorance. The motoring public simply is unaware of a tractor-trailer's limitations. That's nobody's fault. But it's everybody's responsibility.
That's the beauty of the DOT campaign. It does not advocate; rather, it educates.
"The reason I like the program is that it focuses on an area where accidents occur," says Pat Sheridan, safety director at Heartland Express. "When I look at accidents involving high frequency and high costs, blind spots around the trailer are high up on the list." While it's too early to point to any tangible benefits, Sheridan reports a drop in accidents involving lane changes, merging, and rear-end crashes -- all areas addressed by the No-Zone campaign.
King Soopers, a grocery store chain in Colorado, uses its No-Zone trailer for schools and parades. "When we go into high schools, we park cars in the blind spots," says safety supervisor Howard Adams. "It leaves a huge impression. The kids go home and tell their parents."
So effective is the public education component of the program that Burlington Motor Carriers has outfitted its No-Zone trailer as a traveling classroom. The custom-built unit comes equipped with everything from the latest in electronics to a small auditorium designed to take training and education on the road.
That speaks to the versatility of the program. Fleets can get involved in many ways -- by using educational materials or through decaling options that involve a full wrap, a back panel, or a 42x17-in. decal.
At first, the $10,000 it costs to do a full wrap of the trailer seems like a stiff price to pay. But fleets report that investment is returned many times over -- in terms of reduced accidents, community goodwill, and employee morale.
"I've found the trailer to be a great awareness tool for my own drivers," agrees Heartland's Sheridan. "The program makes them feel better about the industry and our company."
DOT has hit the mark with this program. It's time you consider joining the team.