The trucking industry is very much about decisions and your truck training is part of that decision making process. Good training, a good carrier, and strong supportive culture are all important to ensure you make the right decisions going down the road. Too many times we have seen the wrong decision turn into horrific crashes and ruin a driver’s life when they are just getting started. So what type of decisions could possibly ruin the life of a new driver? It may surprise you but the mistakes many drivers make may seem small on their own, yet collectively add up to great damage and loss of life resulting in the driver losing their freedom.
The latest example of this was the recent crash in 2019 in Colorado of a twenty six year old truck driver that ignored a number of issues resulting in a horrific crash. This driver drove down a mountain pass too fast and his brakes began to over-heat allowing the truck to become out of control. He decided not to use the truck emergency ramp resulting in a crash killing several people and injuring many others. What brought the case to light was the driver was sentenced to 110 years in prison. It has since been reduced to ten years in prison due to community pressures but this young driver still sits in jail because of decisions he made good or bad. You can read the article here.
In Canada back in 2016 we had a similar situation where a driver that had insufficient training, worked for a questionable carrier, and made some bad decisions that resulted in a horrific crash that killed sixteen members of a hockey team travelling by bus. The driver was driving equipment that he hadn’t been trained properly on and his inexperience, high rate of speed, and incorrect focus on his load all contributed to the crash after he went through a stop sign. The driver has been sentenced in jail for 8 years and is facing deportation due to the crash.
What does this mean for you the new driver? I can tell you from an industry perspective both incidents spurred changes in training and safety. These two incidents are the big ones that got lots of media attention and noticed by the public and industry alike, but what about the other incidents? What about the incidents that you don’t hear about that didn’t kill anyone? We see many incidents like these on social media where drivers are cutoff or a trailer is stuck under a bridge. These are all decisions one way or another that depending on the driver’s training, experience, and the support of the company could have had different outcomes. As a driver your decisions are the most important action and many are required in just seconds. Do you have the experience to make the right decision? Are you taking your training seriously so that you know what to do when a situation arises?
What if the driver in Colorado had obeyed the speed limit and did his checks when required, would he have made it safely to the bottom? What if he had used the runaway ramp for the truck would he have saved the many lives that were taken that day?
What if the Humboldt driver had the experience for the equipment he was driving, would he have stopped at the stop sign? What if the carrier was upstanding and had proper training, he may not even have been on the road, saving many lives? Everything comes down to the decision and actions at that moment in time. Will you know to make the right one?
About the Author
Bruce Outridge is a veteran in the transportation industry with over 40 years in the industry in a variety of roles from driver to fleet supervisor and more. Today he is a media specialist in the industry producing a number of programs for the trucking industry such as his trucking podcast The Lead Pedal Podcast for Truck Drivers at www.theleadpedalpodcast.com or his radio station Lead Pedal Radio at www.leadpedalradio.com
Disclaimer: This article is written and based on the opinion of the author and is for general information only