Crossing the Line

There is always a line. There will always be a temptation to cross it.There will always be something just on the other side of that line. It does not matter where you put the line. Something will be just out of reach, unless you are willing to cross that line.

Last night was a good example. My clock ran out 17 miles from the terminal. It wasn't woth it to drive recklessly or speed to move the line further ahead. It never is. The temptation is to cross that HOS line. It involves risk. It always has. In the past you probably would have gotten away with it. That is - if nothing went wrong. My kids will always lament my risk - reward lectures. Is the risk worth the reward? They will probably always remember it, and perhaps recite it to their kids.

Sure, it would have been nice to get home. One of the most common anti ELD mandate comments that I see is, "What if I am only X miles from home? I am darn sure not going to let an ELD stop me." I have good news for you. It won't. It doesn't make decisions, or drive the truck. I've had an ELD for half a million miles - not once has it forced me to drive a certain its way. Have I sped it up a notch to get someplace? Yes, I have. Have I driven over the speed limit or recklessly because of an ELD? No. I have not. The line is still in the same place. It is still your decision. The ELD put it in your face.

Last winter a car slid through a red light and hit the side of my trailer near the trailer tandems. I did absolutely nothing wrong. My light was green. Witnesses said that he went through the red light. He admitted that he slid through the red light. We were blessed. He was wearing his seat belt. His airbags deployed. The car did its job. It protected its occupant.

Now, imagine that same accident. This time imagine that the young man was badly injured, or even killed. The police and his lawyers would have been all up in my business. They would have wanted my logs, my engine records, my credit care receipts and my cell phone records. They would be looking for any mistake or violation.

What if I had decided not to stop 17 miles from home? What if that accident occured during those 17 miles. All of us have seen crazy things happen on the road. We have even had incidents of suicide by truck. If that happens to you during those last 17 miles - you could lose your career - even your freedon. So ask yourself - What is that risk - reward ration?

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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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