Scouts-L Mail Archive for August of 1999: 85 mph/135 kph Troop Trailer
85 mph/135 kph Troop Trailer
Sat, 21 Aug 1999 12:41:39 -0400
Scouting - Safety - Successful Programs
Nothing beats getting outdoors for a great activity -- that really helps
keep the outing in Scouting. Just getting outdoors isn't enough. We need
to always be mindful of safety whether at the campsite or on the road.
Yesterday I was driving North on I-81 in Virginia where the legal speed
limit is 65 mph. The sky was overcast to the point that most people were
driving with their headlights on. In my rear-view mirror I noticed a white
pick-up truck with a red trailer coming up from behind pretty fast. About
that point it also started to rain. My immediate thought was what kind of
idiot would be driving that fast with a trailer in this kind of weather as I
watched the trailer moving side to side as it got closer. Well I didn't
have to wait more than a few seconds to find out. On the side of the
trailer was a huge three foot oval shaped wooden sign that proclaimed Boy
Scout Troop 248, Norcross, GA.
Woooom! With a spray of water on the windshield the truck and trailer flew
on by and soon disappeared out of sight. On the CB radio I heard a trucker
make a few choice remarks about the ancestory of the driver and his lack of
intelligence. Then of all things the trucker stated that he was doing 85
mph downhill when the trailer hauler flashed by him. Another chimed in to
say that he sure wouldn't want his kids doing Scouting stuff - idiots like
(more choice words) would end up getting them killed.
There is no Scouting activity where it is necessary for a leader to drive
above the legal speed limit and certainly no reason ever to drive at speeds
that exceed what is safe for road conditions. Not only does such behavior
endanger everyone in the vehicle, it provides a very poor image of the
quality of Boy Scout leaders and their judgment.
The two adults in the pick-up truck were lucky not to have an accident,
assuming that didn't have one later on. Worse they could also have caused
an accident that would have harmed other people. All it would have taken is
one car to pull out in front of them or a deer to jump in the road (there
were deer along the sides).
Among the goals of Scouting are character development and citizenship.
Along with those we have a Scouting method of adult association. For the
adults this means helping shape character development and citizenship by
setting an example. Part of setting that example includes respect for and
Any time that you display a Scouting symbol on your vehicle or trailer you
can also be sure that other folks are going to see it. When you drive in a
discourteous way, cut someone off, speed, etc. other people on the road are
going to notice both the Scouting symbol and inappropriate conduct and as a
result the public image of Scouting is going to be tarnished or diminished
just a bit more each time. When you choose to put a Scouting bumper sticker
on your car, a logo on your trailer, etc., you have to always bear in mind
that you are now identifying yourself as a Scouter and need to act
accordingly - that means a higher standard of conduct.
As a long time Scouter what I saw on the road made my blood boil. Here were
two people endangering themselves and other people on the road driving well
above the posted speed limit in rain with other road hazards hauling a
trailer advertising Scouting. I am thankful that there weren't any youth
members in the truck, though I wonder what kind of example this would set
I hope that by relating this story many Scouters will reflect on it and
perhaps be just a little more careful to make sure safety comes first and to
also be mindful of the messages our conduct can send.
Mike Bowman, Vice President
U.S. Scouting Service Project, Inc.