There was a time that professional truck drivers where consider to be the knights of the highway. Many still are. What makes a professional driver, A professional? Anyone can learn to shift gears on some of these trucks today, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out how to fill out all the forms.
A professional knows their limits. A doctor, knows when a problem is beyond them and asks for help. A quarterback knows when to pass, hand-off, or sit out the game. A professional driver knows when stop and take a break, when they can turn on the radio listen to some noise, and when to turn it off and pay attention to the traffic around them.
However it only takes a few unprofessional drivers to spoil the entire profession.
WASHINGTON ?After a Kentucky truck crash that killed 11 people, top federal safety investigators vastly broadened their recommendations on cellphones on Tuesday and said all commercial drivers should be forbidden to use them, whether hand-held or not, except in emergencies.
This is a typical governmental reaction:
The recommendation by the National Transportation Safety Board, which is an advisory body, represents an evolving understanding of the hazards of cellphone use by drivers. After an accident in 2002, the board recommended banning cellphone use by rookie drivers, and after a bus crash in 2004, by bus drivers. And because of a 2010 accident in Philadelphia involving a barge and an amphibious vessel carrying tourists, and a 2008 collision between two trains in Chatsworth, Calif., the board recommended banning the use of cellphones for commercial operators of railroad and marine transportation.
As a former professional truck driver I can speak with some authority on this. I have seen some people do some things while driving, that are totaly insane; and make using a cell phone seem minor. There are some drivers, of trucks, cars, motorcycles, and even bicycles, that should not be on the road. The operators can be too distracted to operate that equipment safely.
Time to go back to driving 101:
Before getting behind the wheel, you have to manage distractions, internal and external.
Some internal distractions can include your personal health and state of mind, If you are ill, in pain, or just experienced a life altering event (Death, divorce, lottery winning, etc.) you might not be in the best shape to drive. We should add to the list drugs and alertness. The most dangerous of these is alertness. If you just worked for eight hours, then plan to drive across the state, you could be inviting trouble. I know there are some people who will drink coffee, or Jolt cola or take some pills to help stay alert. I dare say, this could be even more dangerous.
You also have to manage external distractions, some examples are items in the vehicle, the radio, food, paper work, maps, electronic devices, other people, and other loose items that seem to slide around. At the same time you have manage some of the distractions that happen on the outside of the vehicle, moving/flashing signs, people waving on the side of the road, events happen inside other vehicles as well as activities that happen far enough from the road they don’t affect your immediate driving.
Today, cars and trucks have become much easier to drive, they have automatic transmissions, electric windshield wipers, air conditioning , CD changers, built in GPS, some even come with a night vision.
Some of these devices can be helpful, for example a GPS and radio. Part of the learning the art of driving, we have to know when to turn these devices off, and when we can / should use them.
This may come a serious shock to some of you, so brace yourself.
Everyone is different. Some people can drive safely down the road, with the kids fighting in the back seat, others can’t drive when it is dark outside. Some can drive on snow and ice, and others can’t drive when the radio is on. Knowing when you should/can drive and when you should stop is a personal responsibility.
Somewhere we got this crazy idea, that everyone is the same. If one person can drive across I-90 and chat on the cell phone between Chamberlain and Murdo, then everyone can, right? Wrong. The fact is not everyone has the skills to accomplish this feat.
With most laws and regulations, they don’t affect the majority of professionals, because they are doing the right thing anyway. This regulation is different. Many professional drivers use cells phone regularly. Some use cellphones while driving to conduct business, and do so safely. Why should they be punished or handicapped because of a small number who don’t know when to turn the phone off?
Here it is boil down, because of a few individuals who did not exercise some personal responsibility, the government is going to invoke rules that ensure everyone acts responsible.