Do you ever wonder why we always hear about the bad things in the Trucking Industry? I would have to say the majority of the stories published today are on the negative side. Yes, a truck accident is a big story for the media. Even a minor accident can tie up traffic for hours and a bad wreck can tie things up for a day or two, maybe longer if a Big Rig runs into a bridge or wrecks in a tunnel. This is what I call Sensationalist Journalism, it’s what gets people in front of the TV at night, or sells newspapers. In some cases, I would guess, there is a hidden agenda, depending on what news outlet is doing the story or where they are located.
Trucker News Today
A day does not go by where you hear about a truck accident. You all out there driving hear about it every day on the CB or Facebook. Every morning in larger cities around the country the traffic reports are full of news about traffic jams and accidents. If a truck is involved in any of these, it will be the first one talked about. That’s what gets everyone attention right away! Just the other day the top headline on one of the news organizations in Dallas “Hundreds of gallons of milk spilled onto U.S. 75 when a tractor-trailer jackknifed and crashed”.
What’s so frustrating about all this, and it has been going on since I can remember, truck wrecks go right to the top. Most times the initial reaction of the reader is, the truck created the whole mess. It is all in the way the reporting is done, all in the way the content is worded. Sometimes you’ll find a sensationalized headline, TRUCK CREATES MAJOR TRAFFIC JAM, and you read a little down the article you find out it was a large pick up causing all the mess.
It has been talked about a lot. The many ways for a four-wheeler to create an accident. Cars running thru stop signs and end up under a trailer, changing lanes too soon and take out your left fender, or following too close and running up under the rear of your trailer, just some problems we have. We also have a lot of people out there driving large pick-ups or a large RV’s, and they don’t have a clue about the type of vehicle they have.The Media never talks about this! Stopping distance, the weight of the vehicle, or the height of their vehicle, all things a person should take into consideration when they get behind the wheel of one of these vehicles.
To be fair about things, ask yourself, How many accidents are caused by Big Trucks? You all know the government keeps getting into our life anytime they can find fault with a truck accident. A lot of drivers today have driven many, many miles without an incident. You see things, probably every day, when you ask yourself, what did this guy do to cause that debacle? We have to be honest, there are a lot of accidents, caused by being in a hurry, because you overslept, stayed in the Truck Stop too long, telling your latest story, or even had a long argument with your spouse before you left the house.
There are also incidents of poor equipment, not getting the proper maintenance when it’s needed and running down the road when you know you should be getting something repaired. I know, I’ve done it myself, more than once. Companies will put a delivery schedule for you, that may be impossible to do. Need to let your college educated dispatcher know it can’t be done, but tell him in a nice, civil way. One thing to remember, if you have lost the time it is just about impossible to make up!!
Drivers need to be aware of some of these numbers:
- There are 15.5 million trucks in the U.S. 13% are semis or 18 a four wheeler
- About 98% of all semi accidents result in at least one fatality
- Fatal tractor-trailer accidents cost Americans more the $20 billion per year $13.1 billion is the cost associated with loss of quality of life
- The average cost of a commercial truck accident is about $59,000
- About 90% of commercial truck accidents are caused or worsened by human error – either the truck driver or passenger vehicle
- About 75% of commercial accidents are caused by drivers of other smaller passenger vehicles, rather than that of the truck driver.
- Around 130,000 individuals are injured each year in truck collisions
- In most truck accidents (about 70%) there are no injuries or deaths – only property damage
This creates what I call “yellow journalism,” where a reporter or journalist gets a hold of some of these incidents and sensationalizes it. This story is not about an accident but was reported in The State Journal-Register, in Illinois: Police seize $5 million in pot at Morgan Co truck stop, Check this link and you can read the whole article, you will find out, the men involved were apparently Middle Eastern and were driving an RV. Let me know your thoughts on this kind of reporting http://www.sj-r.com/news/20180…It is unfortunate but this type of reporting goes on every-day!
Truck drivers will never be able to prevent every accident. There are a lot more people driving today and a lot more trucks on the road than there were twenty years ago. Eighteen Wheelers have become traveling warehouses. Companies and people are learning they can order any product, anywhere in the U.S. and can have it delivered in two or three days, depending on where it’s ordered or where it’s delivered. This alone puts pressure on drivers and makes them get in a hurry, stressed out, and nervous about getting things delivered on time. This is especially true of younger drivers.
We can probably agree the new ELD mandate is just about impossible to work with, but it’s just like the CDL that came about years ago. It forced a lot of older driver to leave the industry, created a lot of fraud, and did not prevent any accidents, as you can see from the numbers above. The government and major companies think this will eliminate most accidents, and are enthusiastically adopting this regulation. In the end, one has to ask is it going to prevent accidents or create more confusion. I can picture a lot of Big Rig parked on the shoulders because they can’t drive any further, because their ELD told them they were out of hours, or I have heard of some cases where it will shut your truck down. I know if I am thirty minutes from my house or terminal, I am not stopping for ten hours.
Then, we have all this conversation about Electric Trucks. Elon Musk, who has received millions of dollars from you and me, was promoting his electric Big Rig, last month. I know we all have a lot of questions for Mr. Musk, such as distance we can travel, weight of all those batteries, and where are you going to recharge this thing. Maybe all the shippers and receivers will install charging systems at all their docks for our trucks, and I heard the other day, someone was asking where are we going to dispose those batteries when they are worn out. Then, they will collect a fee for you to charge it up or a disposal fee, like you get with your car batteries. We have enough problems disposing of our Nuclear Waste!
The Media, when they embrace sensationalist journalism, are only trying to push an agenda. For whatever reason, big corporations, the government, and unions think the ELD mandate and Electric Trucks are going to improve our safety record and the environment. The CDL did not lessen the accident rate, and when you talk about disposing of batteries, what is that going to do for the environment? We have created one of the best transportation systems, and our energy sector is one of the most efficient and productive in the world. Already a lot has been done to improve our trucking industry and energy sector. Why not continue improving them, instead of spending a lot of our money on somebodies new brainstorm? I look forward to hearing from you!! Post Your Comments Below!!