George & Wendy Show

Wendy Parker

Livin’ on potato time

One of the biggest motivators for human beings is fear. You get someone good and scared of something and they’re a lot less likely to be curious about it and spend most of their time and energy either trying to get away from it, or containing it, but not a whole lot learning about it.

This seems to be the modis operandi for anything having to do with trucking, which is how potatoes get laws passed to keep clocks in the cab in the name of safety, and call it something that will save lives.

That’s about the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard, but fear is a terrible master, and the potatoes have managed to convince everyone that if we know how long someone has been driving, lives will be saved.

I guess the theory is that ducks wear purple hats, but that’s about the closest correlation I can find to the statement that a clock is a life-saving safety device. I also wonder if anyone on the potato farm has sat down and considered how blatantly stupid the idea actually is. Has your watch ever physically kept you from hurting yourself? If it has, you’ve either got a magic watch or need to quit licking sinks at the TA.

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Fact of the matter is, you could put 40 clocks and 25 cameras inside of every single commercial vehicle on the road, and those items would not prevent accidents. Because those items do not drive the truck. Hell, you could have a cab made of clocks and cameras, a band of heavenly hosts in the bunk, and your sainted momma in the shotgun seat, and it still wouldn’t prevent accidents. It would be a doozy to drive it, and there lies the operative verb, drive, which requires the noun, driver, to complete the action. And as long as the clocks and cameras are ancillary objects in the driver’s world, they will have an extremely minimal effect on safety.

A clock is to safety like a band-aid is to an emergency room. If you’re going to put all your safety eggs in the clock basket, there’s not a band-aid big enough to save you from bleeding out. There never has been. Stop with the geegaws and gadgets and train your drivers. After you invest in training them, pay them accordingly, so they have something to lose. Does the ATA and The Alliance really think someone who knows they can bop from one 28-cpm to another with a wake of terror and crushed-up equipment behind them gives a crap about safety? Then stop perpetuating an industry that not only allows this behavior, but encourages it. Stop screaming “driver shortage,” stop pinning all your safety hopes and desires on electronics and stop telling people clocks are safety devices.

You sound crazy. Cut it out. I mean it this time. (I’m sorry, I couldn’t help it.)

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