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Sunday, June 23, 2024

North America Wide Safety Blitz

North America Wide Safety Blitz.

By G. Ray Gompf, CD

The truck drivers of North America have just been through a safety blitz where virtually every truck that was possible to examine on the road, was examined.

The question isn’t: are these blitzes successful but why are these blitzes even conducted.

It is common knowledge that by using the blitz method, the public has a better chance of seeing and hearing how well the government does it’s job in protecting the public. The truth is that everyday of the year, trucks are noticed by authorities and Level One inspections are performed, so why is there a need for a blitz to do exactly the same thing as is done every single day of the year.

Every truck driver in North America is asking himself or herself the same question. “Who is protecting me from the general public of unskilled drivers who constantly cause truck drivers great consternation?”

Sure, the police in various jurisdictions will do a “seat belt blitz”; a “drunk driver blitz”; a “cell phone blitz”; even on occasion a “speeding blitz”. But between blitzes, it seems there is little or no police action with respect to highway safety. Why, after decades of making drunk driving not just socially unacceptable but criminal, do we still have drunk drivers on the road at all? Why are there still those people out there who think that speed limit laws are an option whether or not to follow? Why, after all the words spoken and written about the dangers of cell phone use, either for voice or text, do we have even one person who thinks they’re exempt, or so important, that the law was written for those other people. You know — the ones who are skilled enough to multitask.

There shouldn’t be any blitzes for any purpose. There should be a presence of authority constantly and consistently that at least attempts to maintain a modicum of sanity on the roads to keep everyone safe and, at least in Canada, I feel that’s just not happening. Sure, in and around the major centres, there is a larger police presence but so few of them are assigned to traffic.

Why does every truck driver who drives Highway 11 in Northern Ontario shudder when life happens and he has to be on the highway any Friday night? I won’t mention the Opaz Hotel out in the middle of nowhere that any Friday or Saturday night, for the fifty kilometres surrounding the hotel, every car is suspect for drunk driving and many are. The Opaz isn’t the only “watering” hole. Truck drivers find out quickly where the local watering holes are, not to stop and partake, but to be more on guard when there’s the possibility of a drunk driver being in close proximity. Surely, it should be as well known to police as to truckers that drunks are driving everywhere and not just around Christmas and New Years time.

Seriously, Blitzes only make a big show about things that should be on authority radar every second of every minute of every day of every month of every year. On the trucking side of highway use, everything IS on the radar at all times. Trucks have to stop for scrutiny every day. Truckers don’t escape scrutiny. The scales houses aren’t there just to ensure weights are in compliance. There isn’t a truck out there on the road that hasn’t been examined at least on a cursory level every two hours — that’s the law. How many BMWs even get a cursory look every month? How many cars have proper tire pressure? How many cars have unfunctioning headlights for weeks on end? How many cars have cracked windshields for months on end? How many cars even get their fluid levels checked every six months? Now, ask those same questions of trucks. The answer is at the very least twice a day. Add to this, every scaler examines those self same trucks at every scale when trucks are required to go into the scale.

How many car drivers have to “pee” in a bottle at the whim of an authority? NONE. How many truckers have to “pee” in a bottle regularly and randomly? All of them. This IS one of those things that truckers accept in order to keep the roads safe, not just for the general public, but for themselves too. If the general public were ordered to do the same thing, there would be rioting in the streets. The general public already think they’re so much better than mere truck drivers who are only truck drivers because they can’t do anything else. That’s not right of course, but it doesn’t stop an overwhelmingly large portion of the general public from thinking and acting as such.

Even shippers and receivers must think truck drivers are most contemptible less than human beings when they make washrooms out of bounds for those truck drivers who are serving them.

Now it could be said that truck drivers have done themselves no favours in the way they are considered by the general public. Because truck drivers have done themselves no favours, then it must be within the truck drivers ability to change that thinking and regain the esteemed position they once held in the eyes of the general public. Thankfully, most trucks now, at the truck driver’s choice, are equipped with dash cams recording the stupidity being created out there on the road.

It isn’t even a stretch, regardless of the numbers from the recent truck blitz, that trucks are the safest vehicles on the road driven by the safest, most skilled of drivers. The same can not be said about cars or their drivers.