Trucking social media 101

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The world has become a wide open place, where information of any kind is easily accessible. Even things you may think are private and protected can be found with a few clicks of a button. Controlling the personal information that is available online has become a big business. There are services you can hire to “clean” your cyber reputation, and security programs you can purchase – promising to maintain a level of privacy — are everywhere.

But what about the information you choose to make public? What about your Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram and Vine? Who’s really watching?

Look, ma, no hands.Look, ma, no hands.

Earlier this week, a video of a person (I refuse to use the words “truck driver” for this individual – he is clearly not worthy of the title) who recorded himself sitting in the passenger seat of a ProStar, while having coffee and driving with his left foot made the usual Internet rounds. The images clearly show his truck moving in traffic, with other vehicles in close proximity. He’s laughing and carrying on, happy as a lark, while he endangers the lives of everyone around him.

Now you would think someone doing something so remarkably stupid would try to hide it. You’d think they wouldn’t have allowed anyone to record it, for fear of others seeing it. You’d think that anyone with a sliver of a brain wouldn’t have done it in the first place, but none of these statements are true. This guy not only happily performed the ridiculous act, he posted it to his YouTube account, for the entire world to see. 

The trucking community responded, and by responded I mean they began to hunt this idiot like prey. Within a few short hours, his name, the company he’s leased to and phone number were readily available and turned over to the FMCSA, along with a copy of his video. As of the writing of this post, he’s had the sense to at least close his YouTube account, but it’s way too late for back-pedaling. There’s absolutely no way to know how many hundreds of thousands of people downloaded his self-imposed danger circus, and he can delete until he’s blue in the face, but the video will never, ever go away. Suffice it to say, his driving career is over, and judging from his level of competence, that’s a good thing.

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It doesn’t take a huge amount of common sense to understand what you are and aren’t supposed to be doing while piloting an 80,000-pound vehicle. Almost every company out there has a “zero tolerance” policy for photos and videos taken while in the seat, and they should. Using a headset to make phone calls isn’t for the convenience of having your hands free to play on Facebook, or shoot video of yourself driving with your feet.

This is the second article I’ve written in as many months about what’s being posted online from the driver’s seat. Apparently, there is a growing number of people who either don’t understand or don’t care that it’s fabulously dangerous and stupid to drive a commercial vehicle with your feet, or while eating a watermelon or having a bikini wax. And while I’ve never been one to tattle on people, it gives me a great deal of satisfaction to be able to assist in getting the blatantly foolish people who not only do things like this, but record themselves doing it, off the roads my family and I use on a daily basis.

The argument can be made that the people who worked on finding out who this driver was should mind their own business. Here’s the deal: It’s not cute or funny to endanger the lives of others. No one thinks you’re a bad ass, they just think you’re an ass, and the minute you post something to the internet, no matter what the venue may be, it becomes everyone’s business.

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