I am more than a little dismayed at the demise of the quality of the
professional truck driver.  not long ago, the big rig driver would often be
an exemplar for safe and courteous driving.  today, trucks scare me more
than drunks.

On 2/1/06, Robert M Doran <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> I just had to say something here because, besides presently owning and
> driving a 115 and a 107 (...and the old 123--gone but not forgotten), I
> drive an 18-wheeler for a living most of the time and have done so for
> over 30 years.
> Foremost in my mind when I am approaching any situation on the road is
> the anticipation of what would be the most inappropriate (read: "stupid")
> thing that another driver could do and then plan what my reaction would
> be to it. I doubt if any of you guys on the list would believe me if I
> told you how often that's exactly what does happen. I'm not trying to say
> that truck drivers are blameless--in fact I've seen some real boneheads
> that should have not been allowed behind the wheel of any vehicle, let
> alone a truck--but some of the things I've seen 4-wheeler drivers do
> would simply blow you away! And I have to concede that it is probable
> that the sheer numbers of 4-wheelers in comparison to the numbers of
> trucks on the road blow what I've observed out of proportion somewhat.
> But still.......
> In my years of operating these monsters my experiences have taught me to
> be a defensive driver above all else and, even though I am confident
> enough of my own driving abilities, I know that the beast I am herding
> down the road is much more difficult to maneuver than is my 115, for
> example, so I drive with that thought in mind and try to compensate in
> advance for upcoming traffic situations. Unfortunately, many (most?)
> 4-wheeler drivers do not exhibit that concept and they drive as if these
> trucks were as manageable as what they are driving and that's not the way
> it is at all.  It appears from Tom Scordato's post that he was well aware
> of a possible upcoming hazarous event and he acted appropriately. That
> action may well have saved his life. If more people would similarly try
> to be more aware and prepared, many injuries and lives lost might be
> prevented. I don't know what the truck driver in question was doing when
> he should have been paying attention, but he obviously was driving beyond
> his capacity to control his vehicle. There could have been extenuating
> circumstances, but he was obviously not in control and that's a bad
> thing.
> Just as in any group of people, there are those over-the-road drivers who
> do their jobs efficiently and exhibit a high level of expertise--and
> there are those at the other end of the scale as well. Unfortunately,
> it's the ones at the lower end of the scale that often get the attention
> and therefore cause some folks to generalize and form opinions based on
> their (re: "all Indians walk single file--at least the one that I saw
> did") personal experiences which are often very limited in scope. It's
> too bad but that's how it is.
> Since I'm not aware of the safety standards of the aerospace or maritime
> industries, I'm unable to make any informed comments, but I do know that
> both the federal government as well as the individual states have the
> Department of Transportation regulations which do much to enforce
> compliance with safety standards.  The demise of the old Interstate
> Commerce Commission left a little to be desired in as far as enforcement
> of a multitude of confusing rules, but it was a step in the right
> direction and all good things seem to take some time before they mature
> to their fruition (is that even a word?). Unfortunately, it's not there
> yet, but I have observed much progress (notice I didn't say
> improvement-some of the new rules are absolutely assinine!) in this area
> over the past 30 years. But they are working on it.
> Anyway, I got that off my chest. I'm glad nobody was injured or
> killed--that's the main thing--and one more of these amazing MBz's (with
> a driver a cut above the average driver) continues to roll on it's way
> and that's a good thing.
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