Who Do You Trust?
Recently I was traveling along an interstate within a construction area and realized I was merely inches from a driver pulling a set of doubles next to me. As I watched those huge tires alongside my convertible, I recalled an elementary school class about trust.
Our teacher asked us to define the word trust and how it related to our own young lives. She pointed to the chairs we were sitting on and asked us if the act of sitting involved trust. In other words, did we trust the legs of the chair to hold us up? Did we trust the chair to give us the accommodations we expected?
Until that point I hadn’t thought about trust in that way but as I slowed through the construction zone, with a combination tractor-trailer next to me, it became more than clear.
I looked at that rig and realized I had placed my trust (and my life) in the care of the driver, the carrier and the equipment.
One dictionary’s definition of trust as a verb was: “believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of.” This was exactly the thought I had as I shared the (narrow) roadway with a commercial truck and driver.
I had to trust that the driver was well rested and physically fit to drive the tractor-trailer. Since I am well aware of the regulations affecting the industry, I knew the driver had to hold a current commercial driver’s license and had to have a current DOT medical certificate. I also knew the operator was subject to random drug and alcohol checks through the carrier.
My thoughts turned to training and the amount of education and instruction the driver had completed to understand highway rules and those regulations pertaining to the trucking industry such as parking restrictions, weigh stations and idling laws.
In reality, I felt confident the person operating the combination tractor-trailer which was only inches away from my vehicle was qualified and skilled in the role.
I also trusted the driver would refrain from texting while driving and to not be using a hand held mobile phone on the road. Although we’ve all heard horror stories of drivers who watch videos or other instances of distracted driving, I felt confident the person next to me was focused on driving.
I also knew that he or she was in compliance with the hours of service and their logbooks were up-to-date, factual and in compliance. I didn’t notice if there was a sticker showing that the driver was using e-logs but I felt assured there were no violations because I trusted the driver and the carrier.
Remember, trust means to believe in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of something.
As I noticed the name on the tractor and trailers, I felt confident the carrier had ensured the safety of the vehicle. I trusted that the company had made sure the tires were safe and the equipment was checked and rechecked for any defects or adjustments. I trusted that the brakes were operable and the lights would be working and compliant.
Even the manufacturer of the tractor and the trailer had to be trusted to design and build equipment that would allow me to travel on a very narrow lane in a construction zone in a low convertible and feel safe. Truly, sitting in a car next to a combination vehicle while moving through a close passageway could be intimidating for anyone, but I felt a level of trust most drivers might not experience.
Since I work in the trucking industry, I have a realistic view of the skills and expertise drivers need to share the road with four wheelers (including convertibles!). I actually feel safer alongside a professional driver than I do with other automobiles since I don’t have trust in knowing the person behind the wheel is rested, focused and qualified to drive.
The next time you are on the road, consider your level of trust for the truck and driver alongside your car. Compare the safety data of the trucking industry and then look at the qualifications needed to operate a commercial vehicle on the road.
Who do you trust?
Women In Trucking, Inc.
Women In Trucking Association, Inc. is a nonprofit association established to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry. Membership is not limited to women, as 17 percent of its members are men who support the mission. Women In Trucking is supported by its members and the generosity of Gold Level Partners: Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, Daimler Trucks North America, BMO Transportation Finance, Great Dane, J.B. Hunt Transport, Ryder System, Inc., U.S. Xpress, and Walmart. Follow WIT on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. For more information, visit http://www.womenintrucking.org
Ellen Voie founded the Women In Trucking Association in March of 2007, and currently serves as the nonprofit organization’s President/CEO.