Missouri Dump Truckers Association emphasizes safety at show

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COLUMBIA - The Missouri Dump Truckers Association emphasized safety and new technology at its annual convention and trade show Saturday.

The convention featured experts on industry trends, vendors, truck sellers and enthusiasts. A main topic of the convention was driver safety.

"We've always been on the safety side, it's just becoming more prone now with more vehicles being out there and a dark light being shined on the trucking industry for not being safe in other cases," Mark Engemann, MDTA president said. "We're just really making that point go to home with everybody on the safety side."

Engemann said it would be easier if drivers paid more attention to trucks. Some dump trucks are only set for a certain speed, but they still have to switch lanes. He said drivers also have to be sure there is enough distance between the dump trucks and other cars.

"There's always the issues of safety and public perception," Richard McIntosh, MDTA executive director, said. "It's just simply a matter of physics that a dump truck can not stop in as short a distance as a car. It's just carrying more weight. Technology hasn't advanced to the point where we can stop and overcome the laws of physics. So we need people to realize that when you slam on your brakes right in front of a truck, it's a problem for that truck driver."

Dozens of vendors showed new technologies available to dump truck drivers. One vendor debuted technology that filters oil as it is used. The Premo-Plus vendors said the system extends oil and engine life, saves money and is good for the environment. Convention attendees were able to ask questions about new systems and take a look at new trucks available.

The convention also featured classes on driver safety. McIntosh said having good equipment is important along with drivers being safe.

"We have a term in our industry that we don't support people who have run 'old junk trucks,'" McIntosh said. "They deteriorate from the safety of the road. They deteriorate from the professionalism of our industry. We want safe, professional trucking firms on the roads, not those who are not, because they deteriorate from our industry and they cause enforcement problems for those people that we try to work with."

McIntosh said another benefit of the convention is allowing interested truckers to see available trucks in a warm environment during winter. Families also attended to learn more about the industry.