We have been seeing so many accidents and challenges in the industry from regulations to training enhancements and more over the last few years and I believe much of it comes down to courtesy, respect, and common sense. I wrote about common sense recently hoping schools will add that to their training courses, but why?
When I say the phrase “Jake Brake” what do you think of? Do you think of an engine component built to help a driver slow down on a grade? Do you see it as a way to help reduce brake wear when hauling heavy loads? In North America that is the main use of the Jake Brake or engine brake as it’s known, but how many of us use it properly for those reasons only? This came to mind the other day as my wife and I were sitting in a restaurant on vacation. With 25 years of trucking behind the seat I am not unfamiliar with engine brakes and their use. What brought this to light is that my wife also familiar with engine brakes turned to me and said why is the driver using his Jake Brake? Isn’t it for hills? The only answer I could offer her was “lack of respect!”
We were located on a main street where it is two lane traffic and the speed limit on a good day is maybe 50 kilometres per hour. Add that to the fact that the area has many pedestrians and traffic most of the time traffic is moving at a crawl. Certainly not the conditions for the use of an engine brake. It is obvious that this driver was using his engine brake as more of an attention getter than to safely bring him to a stop.
Here is where the lack of respect comes in. The driver’s truck had a very distinctive sound and we have now heard this driver almost every two hours even during the night in an area with many hotels and people, so he certainly isn’t helping to bring people to the destination. Many people don’t know what an engine brake is so will just complain about the noise and tell their friends. This driver may think it’s cool but he is actually hurting the economy of the area.
So for 2018 let’s make a goal as an industry to make trucking a better place. Let’s try to respect each other, be courteous to other motorists, and most importantly work together to make the name of the trucking industry one that has merit and professionalism. We can add all the regulations on that you want but if each person involved in the industry doesn’t take it upon themselves to add professionalism to the industry no one else will. Will you do you part in 2018?
About the Author
Bruce Outridge has been in the transportation industry for over 30 years. He is an author of the books Driven to Drive and Running By The Mile, and host of The Lead Pedal Podcast. TTSAO also known as the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario has certified member schools in the truck training vocation ensuring quality entry level drivers enter the transportation industry. To learn more about the TTSAO or to find a certified school in your area visit www.ttsao.com