Mercedes-Benz and Alabama State Troopers join forces to promote seat belt safety
The Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa County is teaming up with Alabama State Troopers to promote seatbelt safety awareness. On Monday morning, ALEA used a special rollover simulator at the Vance Mercedes Plant to kick off the annual Safety Awareness Week. Trooper Reginald King says that using the simulator as a visual aide is important to show how deadly it can be when motorists don’t buckle up behind the wheel. “Well, hopefully, it will remind people to buckle up each and every time no matter how short the distance you travel. You want to take that extra 2 to 3 seconds to properly buckle that seatbelt,” King said. Troopers from the Marine Patrol Division were also on hand to display a jet ski simulator for waterway safety demonstrations. Rolf Wrona, Vice President of Human Resources at Mercedes-Benz United States International, says that the partnership with ALEA is good for the community. Thousands of his employees travel local Tuscaloosa County roads each day. Wrona says Mercedes wants to do everything possible to help promote seatbelt safety. “Well, it clearly shows how critical it is for everybody to wearing their seatbelts on the highway,” Wrona said. “It is so important for their safety”. ALEA says 301 people have been killed on Alabama roads this year. 52 percent of the victims who lost their lives were not wearing seatbelts. That is 83 more fatalities then this time last year.
Fill the Truck! West Virginia State Troopers collect items for residents
A local state trooper has organized a “Fill the Truck for West Virginia” drive, in hopes to collect items for residents affected by floods. Over 20 people died in the floods and thousands have lost everything in the natural disaster. Trooper Angela Shaffier may live and work in Central Virginia, but Greenbrier County, West Virginia, is her hometown. “Many people have lost everything they had and are living in shelters,” Shaffier said. “Those who were able to return home have no power, have lost so much and are cleaning up layers of mud after throwing out all of the furniture and appliance [s] that cannot be salvaged.” Shaffier plans to deliver the supplies to West Virginia on Friday, July 1.Cox Transportation donated a truck to haul the items. It is currently set up at 17347 Pouncey Tract Road in Rockville. Donations will be accepted beginning Tuesday morning. People wishing to contact Shaffier can send a message through the Facebook page: Fill the Truck for West Virginia. Shaffier said that any donation will be appreciated, and specific requests are needed for the following items:push brooms, powder lime, large trash bags, large trash cans, gloves, cleaning supplies, bleach, shop vacs, extension cords, shovels, Non-perishable food items, Diapers, wipes, baby formula, personal hygiene products, dog & cat food, coloring books & crayons, kids toys, furniture, blankets, fans, bed linens, towels, flashlights, batteries, cell phone chargers, bottled water, Gatorade, coolers.
South Carolina Highway Patrol Using Emojis to Curb...
South Carolina Highway Patrol Sgt. Bob Beres speaks in a language perhaps best understood by young people but nonetheless universal. His mom is Hungarian, and she speaks little English but she can understand. Spanish speakers can pick it up, so can foreign tourists and people who can't even read, Beres said. About 130 billboards inspired by Beres' language of choice have popped up across the state. He speaks fluent emoji. Those are the little graphic icons used in text messages and on social media. Think a cartoony thumbs-up and various smiley faces. The billboards show emojis representing an alcoholic drink, the plus sign and a car with an equal sign leading to a police car. The message is drinking and driving equals arrest. "It makes you stop and think about the message, which makes you remember it," said Cpl. Bill Rhyne, a spokesman for the Highway Patrol in Greenville. The emoji-based ad campaign will be spreading to iceboxes outside of convenience stores and gas pump handles this summer and will be on high school sports tickets starting with football games in August. There's not a whole lot new about the campaign, or even emojis, but it should prove effective, said Tharon Howard, a Clemson University professor who is director of the master's degree program in professional communications and whose research includes digital publishing. Howard said he was involved in a multimillion-dollar campaign with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in the 1990s using the same basic technology, called emoticons at the time. Graphic symbols supplementing the written word have a long heritage and have been called emoticons, Wingdings, dingbats and printer's ornaments, and way before that, cave paintings. Howard said he saw one of the Highway Patrol's billboards recently and it stuck with him. "I looked at it and tried to figure out the equation," he said. What makes the emojis stick is that they are little puzzles, Howard said. "People pause and try to figure out what they are saying, they decode the emojis and that's fun." It's a form of gamification, the idea that people will want to learn more and naturally retain more when something like advertising borrows the emotional payoffs people get from playing games, Howard said. "It's that impulse to solve problems and play games that really helps emojis reach across cultures," he said. Beres' Twitter posts regularly have detailed puzzles with dozens of emojis. Beres goes all in on the emojis, said Rhyne. "I can send a few emojis here and there," Rhyne said, "but not like the entire sentences using nothing but emojis that Bob can do with his creativity. At the end of the day, we all want to save lives. I don't care how we do it, whether it's through emojis, Facebook, Twitter or talking to people. This is just one of those things that makes you stop and think." As recently as nine months ago Beres had never used an emoji and now he is sought after by national advertising executives for his emoji skills. His first emojis were sent from his Twitter account (@TrooperBob_SCHP) shortly after the state's historic flooding in October, when Beres and other public safety officials were trying to make sure their messages got out. Beres said he found his emojis warning people about the flooding were being shared, and reaching more people, than pictures of trucks falling into sinkholes and getting far more traction than words alone. As he got deeper and deeper into emojis, the calls started pouring in from TV news stations from Connecticut and throughout the country. His emojis have been shared by tens of thousands of people and he was part of an emoji-based advertising campaign featuring State Farm's "Jake" spokesman. Beres said the emojis aren't going anywhere, he still gets hundreds of people interacting with him because he is speaking their language. "We want zero fatalities in South Carolina," Beres said. "Emojis have became a big hit and we didn't expect it." A new batch of 72 emojis was recently announced and should be available for use in the fall, featuring an avocado and icons for "rolling on the floor laughing" as well as clowns, whiskey glasses and stop signs. It'll give puzzlemaster Beres a few new pieces to put together.
Hundreds of Missouri Students say Thank you to the Missouri State Highway Patrol
More than 400 students from the Iberia School District descended upon Missouri State Highway Patrol's (MSHP) Troop I headquarters earlier this month to say thank you to dozens of troopers from across the state. "We got a call from the school district and they said that the students wanted to thank us for our service," said Public Information Officer, Sgt. Cody Fulkerson, of Troop I. The field trip was part of Iberia's summer school program. Kids from pre-K to seventh grade participated along with 30 school staff membes. Thanks to some quick thinking from state troopers from around the state, the visit turned into not only a tour of Troop I's headquarters, but also a look at a number of activities and unique assignments that the highway patrol handles. "We had our canine unit here from Willow Springs, our helicopter unit flew in from Springfield and our local dive team was here," Fulkerson explained. Troop I serves six counties in South Central Missouri. They have 67 uniformed officers. "The kids really enjoyed stepping into the helicopter and checking out our scuba gear and of course enjoyed Trooper Mike Greenan and his dog Dake. The students didn't get back on their buses until they had a good old-fashion lunch of hot dogs, chips and sodas courtesy of some generous donations by local businesses. While the visit was certainly a great experience for the Iberia students, it was an equally touching moment for the state troopers. "This was the first time that we've ever had this large of a group come to our headquarter buildings. It made all of the troopers feel extremely humbled and blessed," Fulkerson said. "We were absolutely amazed at the thoughtfulness and the kindness of all of the students." In fact, Fulkerson said that before they students got back on their buses, a seventh grader asked if he could pray for the safety of the officers. "We were blown away," he noted. "All of the students created a circle around us troopers and held hands while this seventh grader prayed over us." Fulkerson added that in a day and age when so much negativity makes headline news, it was a real inspiration to see these students take their time to show their respect. He concluded," We are all so thankful from the bottom of our hearts."