It seems more laws are being passed in an attempt to curtail the growing problem of distracted drivers. With so much going on around them, drivers’ focus on the road and other drivers is vital, yet technology often pulls that focus elsewhere causing accidents and injuries that often can be prevented.
Keith Fielding, a Huber Heights resident for nearly 57 years and a professional truck driver for 29, knows first-hand about the dangers distracted driving can cause and about how important it is to focus on the road and on other drivers.
“I’ve seen it all since I’ve been driving up and down the highways,” Fielding said. “From drivers looking at phones and knocking over orange barrels as they go, to people watching movies on laptops on their dashboards. I have just learned to be alert and be patient.”
And those two traits have paid off because in early June of this year, Fielding reached a milestone of driving three million miles accident free and was recognized by his employer, Holland, with a police escort into the Holland facility in Dayton and a celebratory gathering of family, friends and co-workers.
“We’re tremendously proud of the three million mile safe driving record Keith has achieved,” said Scott Ware, president of Holland. “Keith and all of our Holland drivers know that we need every shipment to arrive safely and on time to every single customer. His constant attention to safety combined with a continuous focus on top-notch customer service helps create the Holland difference that sets us apart from other carriers.”
Fielding started his professional driving career at the age of 18 and first drove to Cleveland by himself when he was 21 years old. “Back then you just needed a chauffeur’s license in addition to your regular driver’s license,” he said. He already had 1.3 million accident free miles under his belt after driving 12 years before beginning his career with Holland in 1984.
Since starting with Holland, Fielding said getting used to driving at night never gets easier and of course, with the advent of mobile technology and its proliferation, distracted drivers are becoming more and more problematic.
“It’s a challenge every night staying out of the way of other drivers and staying safe,” he said. “You have to watch what everyone else is doing and avoid other people all while driving at night. I’ve been doing this for 29 years and I’m still trying to get used to that part of it. It’s still a challenge to sleep all day and I don’t know that anyone ever gets used to that – no matter how long you do it.”
Fielding said he is proud of his career and continues to love what he does, even with the challenges he would recommend it to anyone who loves the excitement of the open road and the idea of exploring new places. Today he averages approximately 12,000 miles a month driving between Dayton and Joliet, Illinois, but said he appreciates being home every day and spending time with his wife Nancy, his two sons and his grandson.
“I figured out long ago that it is important to be safe at what you do,” said Fielding. “It doesn’t matter how many laws they pass because it doesn’t seem to stop people from texting and talking on their phones. They don’t realize how their speed is fluctuating or they are slowly moving out of their lanes. Any driver can be accident-free. You just have to be a bit more patient and more observant.”
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