George & Wendy Show

Wendy Parker

Safety will be the death of us

| March 26, 2014

useyourbrain-signI heard a rumor today that one of the big three in the mega-fleet business is mandating all company drivers remove CB’s from the cab of their trucks, citing safety concerns and distracted driving. I’m not going to mention which one, because I haven’t been able to get anyone in management to confirm the rumor. They also won’t deny it.

Citing safety concerns is the new way to completely control any environment someone chooses to control completely. We see it every single day in the trucking industry. It bleeds into our lives like an insidious poison every time the government removes another of our civil liberties in the name of protecting us from ourselves. Apparently no one has the sense to realize the safest a human body can be is dead and buried in the ground, and I doubt very seriously the good Lord intended us to come here to achieve only that.

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Life is dangerous from conception. The new womb is a maelstrom of hormonal imbalance, and I think everyone pretty much knows how unpleasant hormonal imbalances can be. The minute you hit the ground running, it’s a race between this side of the dirt and a check for your loved ones from State Farm. Life is a dangerous and messy affair — you get dirty, you fall down, things get broken and you learn valuable lessons. And that’s just in one Saturday night at the Dew Drop Inn.

It’s our responsibility to protect future generations by passing these valuable lessons on to them. Progress of the species is retarded when there is no failure. You can’t keep someone safe from themselves: no matter how many rules you impose, there are human beings out there who will continue to test the limits. Some of them will kill innocent people in the process, some will discover new ways to improve the human race as a whole.

I realize rules and regulations are necessary. I’m by no means an advocate of frenzied anarchy, but we’ve taken it too far when we take the CB out of trucking. Seriously. That’s like taking the athletic cup out of baseball. Not everyone chooses to use one, but it’s a safety call the officials allow the players to make on their own.

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I’d venture to say those who choose not to use one probably change their minds after they get nailed in the beans a couple of times, just like a driver who runs without a CB may choose to use one after they’re stuck in an avoidable traffic jam (which is the equivalent of being nailed in the beans to a trucker). The point is they have a choice.

We’ll be at MATS the rest of the week. I’ve got my ears peeled and I’ll be listening. See you in Louisville!

  • James Shores

    If they are concerned with there drivers safety They will not make their drivers remove their CB’s. There is so much noise and profanity on the CB that I have mine off most of the time but there are times I need it: I need it for safety reasons. There are times you can’t get the information on a cell phone. I really think most drivers do the same. As much as I dislike the CB, I think drivers should have access to it. It could be the difference of being stuck in a back up for valuable hours and hours( making your driver late or having to stop because of the unreasonable hours rules or being involved in a wreck even death to the driver or someone else by missing a warning. Most drivers know by the traffic and other indicators when we need to get information and use the CB. That’s right DEATH! James Shores.

  • g

    No way to communicate with other trucks is actually quite dangerous.

  • http://thedotdoctor.com/ Andrea Sitler PhD DsC

    The CB can be annoying but it can also be a useful tool. Just like any tool, you have know how to use it properly. Shippers and receivers use it to notify the driver their slot is ready. Truckers info each other of highway situations. Many a night, a trucker has talked another one to a safe location because they were sick or tired but had to go on. It can be a lifesaver or a distraction. It all about how you use it.

    We all wonder when the DOT is going to make it illegal to use just like a cell phone has multiple limitations. Until then, learn how to your CB to your benefit and safe travels.

  • jim stewart

    Hess gasoline transport used to have company policy of no CB radios allowed in their trucks. I my self haven’t had a CB in my truck in over ten years. I never realized how much “I wouldn’t miss it” until I bought another truck and never installed mine back. Now if only somehow I can do the same with cell phones! What a much quieter, less stressful, peaceful life I could totally experience. How many still out here today remember the old pay phones we used to have to search for so as to call in on. I bet most dispatch would go insane now without their instant response communication. Doesn’t bother me in the least.. Sorry but I call only when I’m stopped and ignore the phone or just plain turn it off while driving. I’ve found that works very well for me but not so well for those type who feel you should be on their 24/7 call list..
    I’ve reached the point in my life where I feel I should be able to tune out the world until I’m ready to drop back in. If anyone wants me just leave a message and I’ll get back to you during my next break.. Until then enjoy your day because I certainly will without any pesky electronics attached to my body..

  • jojo

    Step by step, under the guise of Safety, they are taking over every minute of the Drivers Time without paying for it.
    Pat Hockaday jojo859585@gmail.com

  • Thompson Pass Trucker

    You’ve gotta be kidding! I wonder when the government guidance is going to regulate our thoughts! A ‘No Daydreaming’ rule might be appropriate; or regulate the glances we take with our eyes! A ‘No looking at the scenery – don’t you dare look at the sky for pending weather’ rule might be next; or how about the thinking that goes into the next few miles of travel! A ‘Keep you mind on the next hundred feet – don’t you dare think about the next five miles (because it’s too far ahead)’ rule.

    Dammit. I’m not advocating a town hall meeting in the cab, and fully recognize that the middle of New York City is not the place to be distracted from the path of travel. But there are many miles that are the same, unchanging miles that are traveled every day. Keeping focus when you’re crossing the same black path time, after time, after time, after time can be a losing proposition. I think in the old days they called it ‘white line fever’ – was that the desire to drive? Or was it the blank, mindless state that you reach after 100 miles straight ahead in the middle of the desert? Either way I don’t know of a driver who doesn’t succumb to that blank stare through the windshield without some stimulation to keep awake.

    More than once the radio has been the one thing that kept me on-task and/or gave me critical information about ‘unanticipated’ changes ahead. Sure, I’d come up on them and respond accordingly – but with advance notice it’s far easier to plan for the full scope of the problem. And having just slightly lost traction at a curve on the top of a hill due to surface traction changes (icing, polished snow) and passing that information back to the driver behind me…has made both of our jobs safer.

    Only those who have never had unexpected road or traffic conditions to contend with would advocate taking out a universal means of getting from or giving fellow drivers advance warning. I had an event occur some years back that was literally life-threatening for more than a few drivers. It was not a unique problem in Alaska but might be for many others. I was climbing a 3/4 mile, twisting hill in winter with a set of doubles. Traction got worse as I progressed – to the point that I spun out and came to a stop about 3/4 of the way up; another set was 1/4 mile behind me. I was able to let him know that I had stopped moving (I was out of his view at the time around the next bend). He was able to plan his way around me without any surprises and continue forward. He made it about 200 yards past me and spun out too. Now there are two sets stuck in the literal middle of the road, middle of a hill, in the middle of the night and the amidst a series of ‘can’t see around’ corners. Both of us passed word – via CB and VHF (the more common comm up here) to other trucks in the area that there was a road hazard ahead. Stopping within sight of us either coming down from the top, or up from the bottom was literally suicidal – if a rig could come to a stop without folding up coming downhill, or without spinning out and becoming a road hazard themselves coming uphill. Normally, if you don’t have to ‘break pace,’ especially under typical winter driving conditions up here, you can drive up the hills without issue. Miss a gear, blow a corner, have a too-light load on the fifth wheel with too much drag from the tail trailer…and you might end up stopped. Oh, to finish the story, one tractor-single-trailer blew past us on the outside of the corner while we were hanging iron because he was one of those ‘no radio,’ hence no forewarning drivers. He made it up but certainly was cutting things close by going around us; another driver heard our notice and stopped short of the bottom until we radioed that the hill was open again. He made it all the way up in one shot.

    The most critical link in communications is the driver themselves. If I’m in a potentially compromising situation NO ONE could get me to be distracted by the radio. And I’ve ceased more than one discussion because the mike was left hanging in the air as I grabbed the wheel. I’m responsible enough to make a few decisions on my own – and when it is or is not safe enough to talk is one that I’ll reserve for myself. I’ll be danged if I’ll cede that to you or anyone else.

    If anyone has only enough brain cells to keep them between the white lines without being overtaxed then I’ll have them drive for you – I want someone with enough mind to think beyond the bumper.

  • James

    Jim,I guess you’re one of those who don’t mind being stuck in traffic for a couple of hours when you could have been notified miles before on the CB and grabbed a different of-ramp to avoid the blockage. Doesn’t bother you when you’re late enough to miss your shot at unloading until the next morning. Must be nice to never have had another driver save your bacon by letting you know a herd of cattle is on the road just around the next corner. You’ve probably never had another driver buy you a meal at the next stop for being able to provide a ratchet strap to replace one lost on the road. Oh-well;ignorance is bliss,right? You’re the kind of driver every other driver ends up having to watch scuffing guardrails from not getting word that the next corner is REALLY slick. Driver to driver Communication is a GOOD thing.

  • Mike George

    I hate the CB. Never use it. No need for it. I wouldn’t mind at all not having one. I’m with Jim Stewart. There’s no need to be available 24/7. And if there’s a backup, just enjoy the slow down and relax a bit.

  • Coffeeclue

    Yes, I had drivers like this working for me. They didn’t last long though. Customers want to know where their load is and if the driver chooses to ignore customer’s request, it makes the customer very upset. Remember, you’re in the truck to serve the customer, not to take a pleasure trip. No customers means no job.

  • Mike Smith

    They already regulate the thoughts of many by way of television, and reps legalizing criminal behavior, supporting illegal aliens, homosexual marriages, and making idotic statements, IE. Peilosi, “we have to pass the bill to know whats in it”, and sending our jobs to China & Mexico.

  • Mike Smith

    Not often we get a hard hitting article. Usually we get wishy wash, namby pamby stuff.

  • jim stewart

    i do quite well serving my customers thank you. They all continue to request my services although my rates are on the high side. I didn’t say take away your CB or that from anyone else, I said I haven’t had any use myself for one in years. I also don’t need the radio to spot a driver that needs help nor to keep off any guard rails, been doing a fine job of that for many, many years now.. I also don’t see why I have to wear the cell phone around my head like a piece of jewelry but everyone to their own. Maybe your drivers text also but that’s your decision and their decision just like it’s mine to not use the phone nor text while driving. I find checking messages works out fine every couple hours and gives me the opportunity to check my equipment out same time. If your customers demand that you answer the phone 24/7 or while driving in traffic or bad weather conditions maybe you should look for a better class shipper or receiver to deal with. That sounds more like total control of you not service!

  • Will Smith

    So Mike, are your thoughts turning to marrying your best buddy? Actually, I thought the article said that a private corporation, not the government, may ban CBs from their trucks.

  • crazycat

    Tell that to the driver I tried to warn OVER THE CB one early morning in Alabama that was heading south on I -85 that a car was approaching him, coming the wrong way,and because he didn’t want to bother with having his CB on ,he lost his life when the car came over the rise and hit him head on.The drivers that had their CB’s ON got the warning and pulled over to the side,but he just kept right on going and then tragedy struck.It was a helpless feeling knowing what was probably going to happen and not being able to help him.

  • crazycat

    It never occurred to you that you have a responsibility out there to help other drivers be safe and having a CB IS a SAFETY TOOL when used as such.Read my above post to see why I feel this way.Remember,you are not out here by yourself and thinking of others should be part of your mindset and not an “annoyance” you don’t want to be “bothered” with.If you think like that maybe you should do something else for a living and leave the trucking to the unselfish professional.

  • Lisa Answeeney

    When they finish inventing the drive less trucks….. to answer your question Thompson Pass, great article, but I just don’t see it happening, it would be like a truck with no wheels.

  • Sam

    The article never mentions the government .
    (one of the big three in the mega-fleet business is mandating all company drivers remove CB’s from the cab of their trucks,)

  • RACER

    I can’t count the numbers of times I wanted to either chuck my radio out the window or turn it off due to all of the krap & garbage that is on the air, BUT, it has saved my bacon several times, like getting stuck in a grove miles off the highway and getting someone who was just listening in to get me a wrecker.Cell phones are nice, but you can chase after someone using a payphone with a pre-paid card. Use your imagineation on that one.

  • localnet

    Well stated, and spot on.

  • Brad Kayganich

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