Truck drivers, as we know, have a unique perspective on the on-highway behaviors of the motoring public, a point hammered home over the weekend by Con-way Freight’s Tom Clark, writing as a guest blogger at New Jersey-based website NJ.com, which aggregates news from several local newspapers. The reason is in some ways simple, akin to Shaquille O’Neal’s advantages over his hoops counterparts of lesser stature. “Their vantage point allows them to take in America’s landscape from another point of view,” Clark writes. “Unfortunately, what that view often includes is motorists doing everything but paying attention to the road.”
While Clark stops short of calling for a nationally legislated solution to distracted driving among motorists, his message is clear, and it reflects what so many commenters on Overdrive‘s coverage of the distracted driving issue have been saying since Obama’s DOT made it priority number one: greater importance needs to be placed on enforcing or really convincing four-wheelers to self-enforce bans on all texting/handheld-cell use, such as they exist, while driving among the general motoring public.
As someone who also gets a unique perspective on the behavior of four-wheelers — given I spend a lot of time traveling around Nashville on this low-speed two-wheeler and, following years of being pulled out in front of by them in Chicago and Birmingham and now here, am well-attuned to just which driver (never, I think I can say with good certainty, a truck driver) up ahead is probably not going to see me before he/she makes a terrible decision to make his/her turn mid-text or ratchet-jawed on the phone — I wholeheartedly concur.
Here’s Clark’s point, ultimately:
Take a lesson from a professional truck driver. When you get behind the wheel, put down the phone. If you have to make or take a call, do it hands-free. Focus on the road. Don’t text. Most of all, don’t become a statistic, or the cause of a tragedy that you’ll regret for the rest of your life.
Remember, truck drivers have a unique point of view. We’re watching, and we will continue to be advocates for safety until distracted driving disappears.
Affected tractors are equipped with an automated Eaton UltraShift Plus or Eaton Advantage Transmission with right hand stalk shifter. In the affected trucks, the display on the instrument panel can indicate “N” when the shifter is set into “D” or “R,” causing the truck not to move.