July 24, 2023
Scott Tidwell is among the longest-termed VTTI employees, having worked at the Institute for 21+ years, the past 17 years as a senior field research technician in the Division of Freight, Transit, & Heavy Vehicle Safety. His main responsibilities include managing and coordinating the day-to-day activities of the Sharing the Road with Trucks program and overseeing VTTI’s tractor-trailer simulator. He also serves as the project manager on various studies, which includes assisting with methodology and protocol development, data collection, conducting analyses, report writing, and managing budgets.
Scott holds a Class A Commercial Driver’s License with N, T, & P Endorsements, which means that he can operate a tank vehicle, a vehicle towing a double or triple trailer, and passenger-carrying vehicles. These certifications have given him a key role in many of VTTI’s heavy-vehicle research studies in addition to the light-vehicle studies in which he has taken part.
He says, “I am proud of a lot of things that VTTI does, such as making vehicles safer and informing regulations and policies, but probably most proud of our Sharing the Road with Trucks program. We have now reached over 21,000 high school driver education students across four states [Virginia, Delaware, West Virginia, and Maryland]. It is very rewarding for me to take the knowledge we have learned from our research and apply it firsthand and personally pass along safe driving tips to these soon-to-be drivers that hopefully make a difference. In turn, these teens can pass along the safe driving tips to their parents, siblings, and friends to expand our reach.”
Sharing the Road with Trucks is an education and outreach program designed to educate the motoring public how to safely interact with heavy vehicles when encountering them on our roadways by teaching the five key strategies that will help them stay safe. Scott and his colleagues were recognized with Virginia Tech’s Alumni Excellence in Team Outreach Award for this program earlier this year.
Scott and his wife Colleen love being outdoors ─ spending as much time on the beach as possible ─ and traveling with their three children, ages 15, 7, and 5. He says, “We also really enjoy Virginia Tech football games and tailgating. In my free time I love to stand-up paddle, surf, and skateboard. Maintaining fish aquariums from African and New World Cichlids to my saltwater reef tank is a fun hobby that also occupies my time.”
Echoing what others who have been profiled in the Driving Forces series have noted, Scott says: “One of the best things at VTTI are the people. I enjoy working with all of my colleagues and it is a great atmosphere with a lot of flexibility. You can really create your own career path.”