The Professional Driver is Key

“Freightliner trucks recognizes the big influence that drivers have on fuel efficiency. Each driver's style and habits are important factors in lowering Real Cost of Ownership. Reducing speed, keeping RPMs low, cutting idling times, anticipating hills and braking are all things drivers can do that will add up to big fuel savings. In fact, the driver has up to a 30% impact on overall fuel economy, and given today's tight margins, squeezing every last tenth of a mile out of a gallon of fuel makes an impact. That means good driving habits are critical.” YES!

That quote was borrowed by me directly from Freightliner literature. While other OEMs are being quoted as saying things like “We're doing everything that we can to remove the driver from the equation.” Freightliner recognizes the importance of the driver. It does not matter if you are a 1 truck company or a fleet of over 1,000 trucks, the professional driver is key.

Now, I did not write this for Freighliner Trucks. Perhaps, they have read one or two of my blogs. This is essentially what I have been writing for years. THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR THE PROFESSIONAL DRIVER. It feels as if we are banging our heads against the wall out here. In the meantime too many in powerful decision making positions just don't get it.

Freightliner is working at it. After reading this encouraging piece from my Tech Pro brochure I looked back at some of my older brochures. I found one on fuel economy. Good Spec + Good Driving = Great Fuel Economy. In that booklet Freighliner properly states that “Good drivers are hard to find.” Then it goes on to say that “So We'll have to make a few more.” HMM? That could be taken a few ways. Here is where Freightliner is getting it right. “To make sure their performance is as good as it can be, take the time to educate drivers.” All this new technological stuff is pretty cool. It works best when a professional driver is trained specifically to drive this pretty cool highly technological stuff.

Giving a seasoned professional driver the keys to one of these technological marvels is like giving a dirt track racer the key to a Formula 1 car and sending him off to race. It does not mean they can't drive. It means to optimize performance, they need to be trained on the specific equipment. These new trucks aren't cheap. The original purchase price is daunting. It only makes sense to optimize the investment. You must train the professional driver to drive the specific equipment. That is the best way to optimize your profit by lowering the real cost of ownership.

Safety is the most important real cost of ownership. None of us should ever forget that. The best safety device is a well trained professional driver. For ultimate safety train that professional driver on the best safety equipment available. We all need to work together to make the place that we work as safe as possible. A human life is the most valuable thing on the road.

Comments (2)

Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark of Kewaunee, WI has been driving a truck for 24 years. He has been an owner operator for 11 years.

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Technology is constantly evolving. It only makes sense to keep the drivers up to date on the new technology. Truck and driver work best when they work together.

May 01, 2015 9:47:19 AM

So true Jeff. They can make all kinds of technology but in the end it still comes down to the driver. A bad driver can take the most fuel efficient truck and get terrible mileage. As far as safety, all the technology in the world can't replace the human eyes and brain.

May 01, 2015 8:34:46 AM