The past few weeks have seen a number of events to make us feel good and paint the trucking industry in a positive light. The Scania Truck Driver Competition rewards drivers who do the right thing in a professional and skillful manner. The Apprentice of the Year is another young professional making their way in the industry.
Meanwhile, Toll put, what they call, the safest tanker set on the road in South Australia, being the responsible professional operation they clearly are. Other operations and organisations take a positive view and work to improve safety, efficiency and the trucking industry’s image to the general public.
Then some cowboy comes along and ruins the whole image. It’s not just the accidents where a truck is involved and poor maintenance, breaking fatigue laws or taking drugs is involved. There are also the daily smaller events with a truckie showing unnecessary aggression towards a car driver, abusing some poor schmuck who is just doing their job in the supply chain or just being inconsiderate to the rest of society.
The trucking industry is its own worse enemy. The problem is in our midst yet we tolerate others in the industry who are making us, as a whole, look bad. The worst offenders are known to everyone but we turn a blind eye to the major issues. The wrongdoers can get away with behaviour which makes us all look worse, because we do not fight against it at every opportunity.
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing,” is a quote from Edmund Burke, an Irish politician from the 18th century. However, it rings very true for a modern trucking industry on the other side of the world.
There is a strong community spirit within trucking and this stops us from dobbing in the worst offenders. A shortage of drivers who are good operators means we make allowances for unsavoury behaviour in the workforce.
Every gathering of trucking folk ends up with people telling war stories of getting away with bad behaviour, but we cannot afford to tolerate it any longer. The world has changed and our ability to monitor safety and behaviours has now reached a point where we have no excuse. With GPS monitoring and text alerts of incidents, we cannot claim a lack of knowledge.
Perhaps it’s time for the trucking industry, as a whole, to man up and take a stand against the cowboys.