A Truck Driver’s Story
Rickey Oliver, a Walmart truck driver who has logged millions of safe miles in 18-wheelers, is an Operation Lifesaver volunteer.
This Walmart truck driver volunteers to teach other drivers to stay safe around tracks.
Every Sunday, Rickey Oliver drives 129 miles from his home in Delhi, LA to his job as a Walmart truck driver in Brookhaven, MS. Selecting a freshly laundered white shirt and dark pants from his locker, he climbs into his newly clean 18 wheeler, ready to hit the road for the next five days. As usual, safety is his top priority. In 12 years Oliver has logged more than 1.5 million safe miles driving for Walmart; before that, he accumulated 3.5 million safe miles trucking for a Burlington Northern affiliate. “Operation Lifesaver is part of what I've been doing for years,” Oliver says. “It's just a great rail safety program that has to be included if I want to be the top driver I aim to be.”
When he began volunteering for OL in 2006, Oliver offered rail safety education programs to other truckers, updating them on the latest laws and best practices critical for safe driving around highway-rail grade crossings. At Walmart's Brookhaven facility, where they incorporate Operation Lifesaver into their honor roll driver education program, he and his team have given over 200 OL presentations, reaching almost 900 students in 2010 alone. “Some of the stuff about rail grade crossings they've never heard before so they're the ones who really want to know about this,” Oliver says of new drivers. “You can see they're listening, and it makes you proud.”
Hailing Walmart – which pays drivers to take OL's training course – as a top company to drive for, Oliver is hoping other trucking companies will see the value in spreading OL's rail safety education messages to their employees. “Operation Lifesaver is a program that can save your job, save your family and save other peoples' lives as well as your own,” says Oliver, a father of three who's been happily married for 26 years. “That's something that can't be underestimated.”
Decline in collisions
We’ve helped to reduce the number of train/motor vehicle collisions from a 1972 high of roughly 12,000 annual incidents to approximately 2,100 incidents in 2017.
(Source: FRA preliminary 2017 statistics).