Friday, November 09, 2007

A Reduction Of Civility

"For every action there is an equal and opposite government program." ~ Bob Wells

I am going to need Tug's help on this one. Perhaps Tug will correct me if I'm wrong.

As someone who has to drive to make a living, I have become increasingly aware of a shift in the attitudes of professional truck drivers. They used to be courteous and polite. They were the drivers one could depend upon to help out in emergency situations on the highways. They were quick to back off and let aggressive drivers bully their way between vehicles in search of that added two or three car lengths for the sake of every other driver's safety.

Not anymore. Today, they are the aggressive drivers. They are the bullies. What has happened?

I am not a truck driver so I am unfamiliar with the ICC regulations, but I am fairly sure the growing problem of aggressive truck driving is directly linked to over regulation of the trucking industry.

In this morning's Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, a report of a singular aggressive driving incident has illuminated this problem.

Here is a snippet:

"Sgt. F.L. Tyler of the state police said the driver, Van Kimball Lewis, 35, was charged with driving under the influence of drugs, namely PCP, after he fought rescue workers and police officers who tried to get him out of the cab, where he was pinned in the overturned truck.

He was also charged with possession of a controlled substance, three counts of assault on a police officer and one count of aggressive driving."

I have been offered some encapsulated insights from some drivers as to what is causing this phenomena in America. I was told this trend is a direct result of the regulation of the truck driving industry. Truck drivers are now required to rest after a set period of time driving, whether they are tired or not. At the same time, trucking companies are becoming more and more insistent that drivers reach their destinations in time.

This forces truck drivers to exceed the speed limits in order to drop their loads on time. Trucking companies are having to impose strict time frames on their drivers in order to stay competitive in the marketplace. The aggressive driving is a direct consequence of the drivers doing whatever they have to do to complete their runs to the satisfaction of their bosses.

Just last night, I was driving interstate 95 myself. I was driving 5 miles per hour over the speed limit, which is as fast as I dare to drive. After over 35 years driving, one thing I have realized. If I ever even unknowingly accidentally creep more than 5 miles per hour over the limit, I will be caught. Every time.

But I digress. As I was speeding along the interstate, a semi-trailer truck rolled up behind me probably going at least 15 miles an hour more than I was, and proceeded to almost park his cab on top of my back bumper. This was, of course, because other traffic prevented him from passing me at that time. Maybe I am just a scaredy-cat, but this kind of driving frightens me. What happens if my car suddenly blows a tire or drops it's drive shaft, or a deer darts out in front of me at this speed? Will the aggressive truck driver who is tailgating me be able to stop before he creams me?

Of course not. He knows that but yet, his fear of losing his job outweighs his fear of killing another motorist. And I fear my self preservation instincts will not help me one bit in that sort of situation.

This is yet another example of how Government over regulation and meddling into the rights of businesses for the sake of traffic safety has had the opposite effect. It hasn't created less traffic fatalities and less accidents. It has created more.

Maybe I'm all wrong about this, but I remember when truck drivers were the courteous and polite drivers.

All three entities are culpable for the reduction of civility on our nations highways. The Government, the Trucking companies, and the individual drivers.

Government regulations notwithstanding, I think it goes without saying that truck drivers are directly responsible for any actions that cause injury and death on our nations highways. I am not saying truck drivers are justified in abdicating their own culpability and responsibility in causing these accidents.

Whatever the law requires, they are nevertheless responsible for their own actions, but I believe there should be some sort of investigation into the responsibility of the trucking companies and the government.


Abouna said...

Mark, there is much to what you say about the over regulation of the trucking industry. However, how does that explain all the loss of civility and common sense all across the board in every area of life?

I have seen rudeness and total disrespect in store employees, restaurant employees, banks workers, school teachers, and even from other priests and ministers, as well as every other area of our public and private lives.

There is no denying it, there has been a real coarsening of our society.

tugboatcapn said...

I guess that stricter regulations might have something to do with it...

The more likely explanation is that there are a couple of generations of Americans on the roads now who have been raised their whole lives with absolutely no concept of courtesy or manners.

It stands to reason that some of these people would become truck drivers...

I think that we as a society waste way too much time trying to understand why people act like @$$h*le$, and not enough time pointing out the fact that they actually are @$$h*le$, and treating them accordingly.

I operate under the same regulations as everybody else,(and I run legal...), but I still find a way to do my job without running little old ladies off the highway.

And I have absolutely no patience with other truck drivers who drive like idiots, no matter what regulations they are required to follow.

There is no excuse.

Trader Rick said...

"There's a diesel on my tail a-making ninety miles an hour
My reflection in my mirror is mighty pale
I can hear St.Peter calling I can almost smell the flowers
Can this compact take the impact there's a diesel on my tail"

Remember that song???

Trader Rick said...

Thanks for your Service to all Veterans who visit here!! HAPPY VETERANS DAY

Mark said...

Rick, despite an extensive musical library in my mind, I must confess, I've never heard that song. I probably know tghousands of songs you never heard of, but I never heard that one as far as i know. Is it post 1985? If it is, that would explain why I don't know it. My mind's library doesn't go much past the mid 80's.

tugboatcapn said...

A Milli Vanilli fan, are you?

They got robbed, by the way...