I have just experienced a bird’s eye view of professional truck driving. It was only a week and a half, so that is why it is a fly-over view only, but it formed some definite opinions within me about driving professionally in general, and federal bureaucrats in particular.
I am a 25 year teaching veteran (MS and HS mostly, domestic and international, all-but-dissertation status on a doctorate in education), and I am a reflective person. This means I tend to ruminate upon my experiences, seeking deeper meaning and thought behind what appears upon the surface of things. Not everybody does that, unfortunately.
What I learned in a week and a half as a passenger in a big rig traveling the roads of America is that our lawmakers are genuine, slobbering, drooling idiots. Don’t get me wrong, I understand why they made the laws that they made that all truck drivers now have to follow. They did it in a pathetic, uneducated attempt to reduce highway fatalities due to truck/car accidents, where, let’s be real, generally the car loses. What lawmakers failed to take into account when they made the new laws about how many hours trained, tested, certified, commercial truck drivers are allowed to drive is that most (80%) of all car/truck accidents are the fault of the car driver. http://www.trucking.org/ATA%20Docs/News%20and%20Information/Reports%20Trends%20and%20Statistics/02%2012%2013%20–%20FINAL%202013%20Car-Truck%20Fault%20Paper.pdf
So, like the morons they ARE (I am a teacher and have had lots of experience with uneducated federal lawmakers trying to “fix” education, too), they added new, restrictive laws to truck drivers, instead of to the people who are causing all the trouble with those truck/car accidents in the first place. JUST LIKE EDUCATION, they played the only string they could see to play. I am a career teacher, and I am good at it. But, you know what? If you (as the student) are not interested in learning what I have to teach you, guess what? I can take you to that water and hold your squirming head under it until you DROWN, and you as the student do not have to drink it. I present it, and give you opportunities to experience it, discover it, and practice it until you learn it – get that? Until YOU LEARN IT. I cannot learn it for you – I already know it, because I paid attention in class, nitwit. The teacher is not entirely responsible because you did not learn. Just like the trucker is not entirely responsible for all your accidents, either. BUT – as a federal lawmaker, you are playing the one string you can play and trying to call it a symphony.
What lawmakers have done with their new driving hours law is tempt normally safe drivers to drive tired (unsafely) because of your new regulations. It used to be when a trucker was tired, he could pull over and sleep, whether he had been driving 11 hours or only four hours. Not anymore. Now, he has to drive, tired or not, because of the allowed hours per day. If he pulls over for safety reasons, he is penalized monetarily for losing some or all of the day’s allotted drive time. How many times do you think his freight company will permit that before he is fired? Thanks, federal lawmakers, for making the roads genuinely less safe because of a few spectacular truck accidents where the driver might actually have been at fault (it does occasionally happen), just exactly like you try to make every safe and legal gun owner pay for the crazy, irresponsible few. Just exactly like you punish every caring, hard-working, skilled teacher for students who choose not to study and do their assignments and homework.
New idea – how about we just get rid of the lawmakers and see how we do all by ourselves?