It is very easy to sit around at the truck stop counter and have the conversation of how businesses are managed, regulations/rules are made, how equipment/components are designed, and even how the establishment we are sitting in is improperly operated.

Often these comments, when they are made seem correct on the surface but the problem with these seemingly correct opinions are that all the facts are not all present to complete the conversation. It is much too easy to sit back and criticize until you have had to sit in the positon of responsibility to not only make the decision but to be accountable for the outcome.

Once I was at a carrier to talk with a driver about the characteristics of operating their new trucks. This driver had many complaints on how different parameters where set by management. In this case, this was a very proficient and responsible driver whom could have driven a truck with none of these parameters set and done very well. We could not make any progress in our conversation as the driver could not get past the truck’s specifications. The entire focus was that as set up it did not meet this driver’s expectations. In actuality this driver wanted everything, more power, more RPM’s, and in general an unrestricted truck in any shape, form, or manner. Finally, I said to the driver, let’s put you in charge and you set up the trucks any way you want, how would that be? Next I reminded this person that this decision would come with great deal of accountability, first being if anything went wrong from a safety, profitability, maintenance, driver moral and profitability of the company was all his responsibility. I reminded him that if anything goes wrong it is his neck on the line and these decisions need to be based upon what would work in these regards to every driver in the fleet not just the most proficient. The tone of the conversation changed at this point as he realized that he would not let the other drivers have everything they had currently and now we could move on to getting the maximum performance and efficiency in the truck he was assigned.

Next I want to talk about a speed limit that was baffling, I could not figure out why for the life of me the speed limit was set at 55 MPH. This stretch of road was in a rural area and in any other part of the state would have been 70 MPH. For a seventy to eighty mile stretch this seemed senseless to me until one day at a rest area along this highway there happened to be a state trooper. I made the decision to ask the question of why the speed limit was set at 55 mph as it didn’t seem right. The officer agreed with me it did not seem correct with this lower speed, he went on to explain that the road had been paved improperly and they were having problems in places with pavement being lifted due to improper paving. This problem was even more acute at higher speeds and had caused a fatality accident after a chunk came up and went through a motorist’s windshield. Who would have guessed. But after I had the rest of the story I understood why the speed had been reduced to 55 mph.

The point is it is easy to criticize decisions when we are not the ones responsible for the outcome from said decisions and policies. Monday morning quarterbacking is even easier.

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Henry Albert

Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc., based in Statesville, NC. Before participating in the "Slice of Life" program, Albert drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class S/T™, and will use his Cascadia for general freight and a dry van trailer. Albert, who has been a trucker since 1983, was recognized by Overdrive as its 2007 Trucker of the Year.

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