The two words, trucking and responsibility have not always gone together well. There have been times in our wilder periods of the past where the sense of a duty of responsibility was lost among many other priorities which either we or others imposed on ourselves.
It was not so long ago that the trucking industry and the trucks speeding up and down our highways loaded with vital freight were pretty much unregulated. Yes, there were rules and the operators did their best to give the appearance of complying, but the way the industry was policed was totally inadequate.
Compare that to the current situation where trucking are the responsible people in the room. The latest crisis has seen the normally invisible trucking industry become an ‘essential service’. Trucking is now seen as a vital part of the economy by those who only months ago looked down at us and complained about trucks causing congestion and polluting our environment.
Now, three months plus into the variable lock down situations, the humble truckie is a bit of a hero and deserving of the country’s gratitude. Congestion has gone away as the rest of the economy worked from home and, importantly, the environment has improved even though all of those ‘dirty’ trucks continue pretty much unabated in many areas.
One thing we must remember is how short the memories are that belong to our politicians and the general public. A couple of weeks of complete normality, and many of the bad attitudes towards the trucking community will return and we will be back to square one.
This is our chance to make a genuine change in sentiment stick. We need to remind people a bit more often about how vital we are to their home comforts and the little things that make their life more pleasant.
The latte-sipping city dweller needs to appreciate that the quality of the coffee they are sipping at, while they sit at their street-side trendy café is dependent on truckies, as well as a good barista with a substantial beard.
That street they watch (unfortunately not in Melbourne at the moment) is going to have to have a truck run along it in order for the food and drink to be delivered in its raw form before entering the creative processes behind the café counter.
There are thousands of scenarios like this happening around Australia, where it would be constructive for those involved to put trucking and responsibility together in their heads and grasp just how vital transport is in the process of getting the little things in life that make our existence both interesting and pleasant.
I am not sure what form any kind of campaign should take, I am only part of the media after all! However, this is the time, this is our moment to strike while the iron is hot and engage with winning the hearts and minds of the city dwellers (country people know it all came by truck) to get a longer term positive rating from the public for trucking.
The two words trucking and responsibility do go together now and we are a responsible industry determined to do the right thing and provide the kind of service needed to help pull this economy out of the doldrums it is entering during this crisis, and we need to shout this from the rooftops, while they’re still listening.