Truth Before Dishonor

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Archive for July 5th, 2011

There Oughtta Be A Law…

Posted by John Hitchcock on 2011/07/05

**Note** I do not support any of these law suggestions because I believe too strongly in Constitutional Principles.

There oughtta be a law requiring all who want a Driver’s License to spend 6,000 miles in the passenger seat of an Over-The-Road Semi.
Four-wheelers and two-wheelers have no respect for truckers and no understanding of the lack of ability of trucks. Too often, a car will fly past a truck, dive in front of it, slam on its brakes and dive off the interstate, saving 2 seconds time. Or a car will move into the trucker’s lane, not giving the trucker the proper assured clear distance between himself and the four-wheeler. The minimum stopping distance for a trucker is three times that of a car, and since truck brakes are air brakes instead of fluid brakes, there is lag time between hitting the pedal and brake action.

As I said, the minimum stopping distance is three times that of a car, but that depends on the load weight. I would personally prefer about 12,000 lbs in the dry box. My own opinion, more weight would create more mass and greater inertia, requiring greater stopping distance. Less weight in the dry box would not put enough weight on the trailer tires, causing them to bounce, losing stopping power. And driving without a trailer, the 8 rear tractor tires would bounce all over the place if the tractor didn’t flip over nose-first.

If you wonder why so often trucks don’t move left to let you down the ramp and onto the highway, you can thank your fellow four-wheelers. Too often, a four-wheeler will move into the right lane and then sit there beside the truck, not letting the truck move back into the right lane where it wants to be. Getting stranded in the passing lane in a truck with a governor on it and in traffic is not good for anyone.

With a lot of trucks, if a car is sitting right beside the passenger-side fuel tank, the trucker cannot see the car or SUV. Over time, the trucker could lose track of the four-wheeler who isn’t paying attention to his surroundings and the trucker could decide the four-wheeler got out of the way. Merging right. Oops for the four-wheeler.

If a truck is sitting at a stop sign, it could shift five times before the back of the trailer finally passed the stop sign. It takes a lot of time to get 40 tons rolling, and sometimes the spread of the traffic is such that the trucker has to force his way through as big a gap as he can reasonably find, causing the cars to slow down as he gets through the intersection. Or the truck could wait at the stop sign for a couple hours. Not gonna happen.

And this split speed limit stuff has got to go. 55 for the Professionals, 65 or 70 for the Amateurs. It’s nonsensical. The average four-wheeler will drive 15-20,000 miles a year, rarely going more than 60 miles away from home, while the OTR trucker is driving 12,000 miles or more per month, and has had more training than the four-wheeler. A car going 5 miles over the 70 mph speed limit will very quickly catch a truck going the 55 mph speed limit. A truck is big. Its size messes up speed perception, especially for someone who doesn’t do much driving and “knows the road like the back of his hand.” A 20 mph difference in speed and the car is under the trailer in no time.

I actually saw the results of a car traveling highway speeds that slammed into the back of a stopped semi (because it was required to exit onto the fully packed weigh station scales). While that’s a different situation, it just amplifies the difference between someone with lots of experience and training and someone who merely has 20 years of driving between a couple towns.

There oughtta be a law requiring everyone under 20 to do 8 months of Marine Corps training, to include Basic Training and Infantry Training.
22-year-old kids are too immature, irresponsible, self-centered. A great many adults much older than 22 are in the same boat. There is something to be said for military bearing. The training would force a rapid maturation and cause responsibility and some respect for others.

My daughter’s Basic Training unit held their graduation indoors due to the weather conditions. After completion of the ceremony, her unit needed to form up outside to march over to the reception hall. The civilians, the parents and siblings of the newly-graduated soldiers, were milling about and preventing the soldiers from being able to form up outside. The Major got on the PA and requested the families move out of the way of the aisles so the soldiers could get through. The families ignored the Major entirely.

There oughtta be a law requiring every manager or supervisor do a year of grunt work in the job that he’ll be managing or supervising.
Too many people come straight out of college and go straight into mid-management not knowing a thing and incapable of understanding a thing. And not a few of them arrogantly think they have nothing to learn from the grunts, due to that college sheepskin. Even the ones that realize they don’t know anything need that time in the dirt, because “hearing” and “doing” are totally different. There’s an entire perspective missing in addition to the knowledge the college graduate has no knowledge. The year of grunt work will produce an entirely different understanding, empathy (not sympathy), and team cohesiveness.

I suppose three will do. Feel free to add your own.

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