By Carol Fowler
As a fleet professional for more than two decades, one of the things that has always impressed me about the space is the universal recognition that nothing is more important than traffic safety. It speaks to the nature of the people in our industry and has always been a true reminder to me that our profession is about a much higher calling than vehicles or transportation, something that was more than evident to me at the 2022 American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) conference in Tampa last week.
Themed a “Reunion for Roadway Safety,” this year’s conference was a surprisingly well-attended event with a robust crowd and conference floor that seemed to snap back to near pre-pandemic numbers. While not an official account, I was excited to see somewhere in the neighborhood of two hundred different exhibitors. The show floor was also very active, with a bustling crowd of what seemed to be a diverse group of safety professionals from across the country, most eager to enjoy Tampa’s temperate – though ultimately rainy – weather.
Being my fourth conference, I was impressed with not just the number of attendees but the active nature of the interactions. The show floor seemed crowded, especially the first two days, and it was obvious people were anxious to catch up with friends they hadn’t seen in a couple of years (something I enjoyed as well.) There certainly was the usual focus on the latest and newest equipment, and, at least in my opinion, there seemed to be an even bigger focus on innovation than in years past.
One of the things that interested me most in that vein was how the safety space is embracing the eventual advent of self-driving cars. I even saw a display for road safety tape that had been developed to better interact with self-driving cars, so it was obvious the right people are giving serious thought to the safety impact of the next generation of vehicles, even if it could be a few years until they become commonplace.
I was also touched, as I usually am every year, by the professionals who attend this event and the many interesting products and services the industry develops to keep people safe. Always something ingenious, and this year was no exception. It’s also impressive to see the complete dedication and passion attendees have for safety. Especially when it comes to protecting the brave men and women who work on our roadways.
As a fleet veteran, ATSSA is always one of my favorite events of the year. Somehow, I just feel better knowing an organization like this, and its members are working hard every day to make our roads safer. The same roads all of our families and loved ones drive on every day, and that’s pretty important when you think about it. To be able to experience it firsthand is always a privilege.
Carol Fowler is a Director of Business Development at FLD Remarketing in Boynton Beach, Florida. You can reach her at email@example.com.