Posts tagged #highway

Safety Starts with the Individual Not the Government

Safety Starts with the Individual Not the Government

"You drive your truck and I'll drive mine!"  

Oh if I had a nickel for every time I heard that phrase in my career. Back in "The Good Ole Days", drivers communicated via CB radio. When I was a rookie, if I did something stupid, I got immediate feedback.  "Hey! What the hell is wrong with you?!" Then, whether or not I was listening, I got the advice I needed. There were also lots of times that I learned things "the hard way" - through experience. I made mistakes and was able to learn from them. That isn't as easy in today's over-regulated, hyper-sensitive environment. In many cases, one mistake and you're done. Your driving career is over. 

There has never been a time where personal responsibility is more important, and yet most lacking. In every vehicle on the road, there is only one driver. There is only one person who can make the decisions that factor life and death or serious injury. It's also more important today because there are cameras everywhere. Information moves at the speed of light. Even after 20 years, I still don't know if there are really more serious truck crashes or if the fact that social media can spread the coverage of the ones that happens makes it look  like there are more and that they are more frequent. I've done a LOT of stupid things that I'm glad someone's dashcam wasn't able to record. If you're driving a big truck, you must understand that you are living under a microscope. That isn't going away, and it's likely to only increase. 

The "Concrete Cowboy" days are over. There is no going back. Bragging or even joking about how many logbooks you have can land you in a lot of hot water. You won't be impressing anyone if you post online that you broke the Hours of Service regulations. You will be impressing upon people that you're an idiot, not a hero. 

This isn't the 1970's anymore and you aren't the Snowman from Smokey and the Bandit. Yes, you do have "a long way to go and a short time to get there", but the thin margins and tight deadlines of you run don't give you any right or pass to make bad decisions and place others in harm's way. The economy, lanes, and customers are bigger than us. And yes, the customers' needs come before our own. This certainly doesn't mean customers are allowed to cheat us, abuse us, or treat us with disrespect, but it does mean that we need to get the job done safely and on time.

Trip planning is the key to operating in this new economy. It's never been easier to avoid traffic using Google Maps Traffic, find a place to park with a phone app, or even use Google Maps satellite images and Street View to research a customer's location so you can know what you're driving into before you even cross the state line. The great sales teacher and motivator, Zig Ziglar said, "If you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time." Remember that saying you've seen posted in someone's office or cubicle? "Lack or preparation on you part does not constitute an emergency on mine." Professional drivers must be prepared to adjust for changing conditions and communicate any delay to the carrier and customer. We don't live or operate in a static 9 to 5 environment. Our day can be turned upside down in an instant. That is the nature of the business. Nothing will ever change that.

The Trucking Industry is safer and more efficient than it ever has been, regardless of what professional lobbyists like CRASH, Road Safe America, or the Truck Safety Coalition say or thing. What we can't do is give them more ammunition to take to the government to use to further regulate and cost us time and money. No great law or safety campaign can do what a patient, responsible, courteous driver can. As individuals, we must be able to step back or stop when things are starting to escalate. We must be ready to knock the cruise control off and fall back away from that erratic four wheeler. You'll be ready to pop a blood vessel and they'll have absolutely no clue that they're even doing anything wrong. Drivers of cars are the most under-trained and unprepared people you can come in contact with. That is just a fact of life. YOU have to be the professional that is the one that offers grace.

Patience, courtesy, respect. These should be our focus if we want to make safer highways for everyone. It's us to us.

Posted on December 7, 2016 and filed under Trucking.

GOVERNMENT-SANCTIONED EXTORTION

I'm done with the extortionists in this culture that label themselves as "safety advocates." PATT (Parents Against Tired Truckers), CRASH (Citizens for Reliable And Safe Highways), and Road Safe America. These so-called advocate are nothing more than extortionists and charlatans who seek power in the name of safety.

In the wake of the terrible accident that injured Comedian Tracy Morgan, Henry Jasny, vice president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety said, "This is part of a systemic problem of having tired people driving at night and driving large trucks." Systematic problem? The clueless idiots that run these organizations have no clue what all the trucking industry, or the broader economy for that matter, entails. So, we're supposed to shut the highways down at night? That will work well in a 24 hour economy. Think gridlock is bad now? Wait until these goofballs get their way.

NOTHING MORE THAN SLANDER

These organizations do nothing more than slander drivers. They make assumptions, and propagate bad information and stereotypes; most of which is based suspicious data. They count on casual observers and drive-by media to garner sympathy for their "cause" in order to further their agenda. No matter how much you try to counter their arguments with experience and verified data, they continue their assault on the trucking industry.

WHAT IS THE REAL STORY?

According to the NHTSA, between 1998-2008 annual deaths in truck-related crashes decreased from 4,955 to 4,066 while the millions of miles traveled by trucks INCREASED from 7,732,270 to 9,027,624! The amount of miles went UP by nearly TWO MILLION while fatalities decreased. What is not included here are the studies by UMTRI (University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute), NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, and the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) all showed that 75-90% of the car/truck crashes were the fault of the CARS

In the same 1998-2008 time frame, there were 460,984 people killed in automobile crashes. FOUR HUNDRED SIXTY THOUSAND! Where is the outcry for speed limiters and driving restrictions for cars? There is none. 

 

I'm tired of being slandered by these groups. They have no clue what they're talking about. What they don't know, they make up in order to produce the necessary emotional reaction from the public. These people are morally reprehensible. Driving is dangerous. We've been driving for so long that we discount the danger of traveling at high speed in a metal container. No one can make you safe except yourself. Put down the phone and drive.