Aug. 24, 2016




Hook Up The Plows!

BALTIMORE, MD - Today, truck drivers and mechanics from the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) will hone their respective skills at the sixth annual "Truck Roadeo" training exercise in Baltimore. The training prepares vehicle operators and mechanics for the hustle and bustle of winter before the first snowflakes fall.

"The Truck Roadeo helps MDTA ensure safe, effective and efficient winter operations and the highest service for our customers," said MDTA Executive Director Milt Chaffee. "In the dog days of summer, the MDTA is thinking snow."

The training is designed to test the knowledge, skills and abilities of vehicle operators and help identify an individual's operating strengths and weaknesses and knowledge of applicable laws, salting procedures and equipment safety and maintenance.

The Truck Roadeo includes a series of obstacle courses for plow drivers that challenge skills for backing up, maneuvering in tight spaces and accurate plowing on outside and inside curves or near vehicles. If the operator should bump or knock down any barriers or cones, or exceed boundary lines in the obstacle course, penalty points are deducted from the total score. The top two winners will go to the national training event, the APWA Western Snow & Ice Conference and Roadeo, in Colorado next month.

This is the first year where MDTA's tow truck drivers, the Vehicle Recovery Technicians (VRTs), will compete. Challenges include vehicle hook-up/towing and tire changing, two skills that are important for removing stuck or disabled vehicles from the roads during snowstorms. In addition, mechanics will undergo a two-part challenge involving a written test and hands-on troubleshooting of a dump truck.

Sixteen plow drivers, 10 mechanics and six VRTs are competing in today's event, representing all of MDTA's toll facilities. The MDTA has approximately 350 personnel on hand during winter snowstorms, including office staff, mechanics and operators, with approximately 265 pieces of heavy equipment, including dump trucks, loaders and snow blowers.

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