Rulers of the Road
Summary: The "Super Bowl of the Trucking Industry" comes to Pittsburgh. Reporter: Michelle Wright, WTAE Channel 4 Airtime: 1 minute, 50 seconds on Aug. 18 Visuals: * Wright climbing aboard a bright yellow tractor-trailer, and the camera following her as she maneuvers it less-than-gracefully through a tight indoor obstacle course at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Highlights: * When Wright reveals, "I drove a tractor-trailer -- a five-axle sleeper, to be exact. I can't even drive a stick shift, so it was interesting. The National Truck Driving [Championship] is in Pittsburgh right now, and I learned a few things." * As Wright climbs into the cab of the truck, she says, "There's an awful lot to learn up here. They invited me to come try out the obstacle course with the help of a driving coach, Eddie. Four hundred of the nation's best [truck drivers] are here to compete, and to spread the word of how to share the road safely." * When professional driver Eddie Hosegood explains, "You gotta realize what this tractor-trailer is: It is 80,000 pounds rolling down the road. It takes 300 feet for me to come to a stop, OK? That is the length of a football field, plus both end zones." * When Wright explains, "Eddie says there are three things you need to remember when sharing the road with a tractor-trailer: First, don't linger in a tractor-trailer's blind spot; always pass on the left; and finally, when you do merge back over in front of a truck, maintain your speed. Many people slow down. I learned first-hand truckers have enough to worry about." * When Wright hoots and hollers under the tutelage of Eddie, who keeps telling her, "Go back that way! Go back that way!" At one point, she admits, "I ran over some cones that time ..." * When Wright adds, "The pros here are hoping to win the championship belt-buckle prize." * When another professional driver in the competition says, "The hardest part [of competing] is probably the driving. There's so many good drivers ... and it's a game of inches." * When Wright ends, "Hope he has better luck than I did." What We Learned: After watching Wright's efforts, we should hope every professional truck driver has better luck than she did. Unanswered Question: Do truckers have a position on the wisdom of slowing down for tunnels? News Value: 5. Though much of this advice was straight out of Driver's Ed, it was kinda fun to watch Wright at the wheel of the truck and hear her scream -- while at the same time showcasing another big event that decided to bring itself to our city.