scouts-l Mail Archive for August of 2000: Re: walkie talkie
NOL - Jack (jdfscout@NOL.NET
Mon Aug 28 2000 - 19:00:45 CDT
Mr. Meyers wrote, in response to my E-mail on this topic :
>This demonstrates exactly why National has rightly banned the practice of
>convoying. I don't think these small radios will be of great assistance
>when determining if we "had enough time to brake." Personally, I am
>strongly in favor of National BSA's policy on convoying.
Mr. Myers made certain assumptions regarding my statements that I wish to
rectify, just so no one forms the wrong opinion. I too agree with the
National policy on convoying and discourage it when traveling. But I
believe the Unit needs to travel as a team and should have real-time
communications options. I recognize there are alternatives and hope we all
learn from the options being presented in these E-mails.
There were 2 vehicles travelling together on this trip, not a convoy. That
was one of the factors that made it easier for us to travel independant of
the Troop. I too am Safety and Health trained and know the BSA guidelines
regarding convoying, number of hours on the road, etc...
At highway speeds, 65-70 mph, the more advance notice you have of changing
road conditions, the better off you can be. We ran into road construction,
reasonably well marked mind you ("Road Ends" were the signs, no joke!),
where the state highway literally disappeared and turned to gravel road bed
for several miles at a time. The extra braking time saved the trailing
vehicles (there were other vehicles not associated with us who benefited
from the advanced warning) possible rocks in the window from my van spitting
rocks (new tires for the trip) while I was slowing from the posted speed to
below the posted limit.
Turns occur for various reasons that simply cannot be planned. Emergency
bathroom breaks can require the lead vehicle make a quick decision, safe
enough for 1, and allow for the trailing vehicle, which in this case was out
of sight in traffic, time to locate landmarks and make the turn with less
alarcity. Notification of the turn was more than timely, hence the words in
the quote should read "as they had enough time". How many times has one of
your Scouts said "Hey, isn't that Mr. Soandso's car in that parking lot?" as
you sail by? They helped keep us traveling as a team, not a convoy.
The radio's, while not strictly needed for 2 vehicles, made planning rest
stops and meals much easier. Without them, we would probably have been
tempted to convoy so we could exchange traditional hand signals, flash signs
or use flashing lights. While I don't necessarily agree with some of the
"hardcore" Scouters who think that electronics have limited or no value to
Scouting in the field, I do respect their opinion and will listen politely
and attentively. Sometimes, I learn from them so I can pass it to others.
I would like the same consideration in return. FYI - the radios stayed in
the vehicles except to change batteries and were never toys for the Scouts.
Lastly, I have no doubt that careless use of any CB, walkie-talkie or cell
phone can pose a threat to others on the road. Anyone living in a metro
area has seen or heard of numerous accidents caused by cell phones in use
while driving (not an opinion, statistical fact). As a primary driver, I
did not use the radio when we were in traffic, only on the open road with
good vehicle spacing. I do not recommend anyone driving be distracted in a
traffic situation by these devices. My alternate driver took this
responsibility while I drove and I took it for her when she drove. I will
continue to promote responsible use of all communications devices while
driving. For the driver that usually means hands off or let someone else do
it while you focus on the road.
Nowhere in the 1999 revision to the BSA Safety and Health Guidelines does it
prohibit use of CB's, walkie-talkie or other personal communications
devices, on the road, for the purpose of making the trip safer. Perhaps a
future release will address this sometimes thorny issue.
Troop and Crew 41
Sam Houston Area Council