Another One Bites the Dust; an Industry Rant

The recent VW diesel emissions-cheating scandal is an interesting metaphor for our industry. Depending on your political views and/or your views on the automobile industry, the environment, corporate greed, leadership, etc. you may have been outraged or maybe you thought the media was making a mountain out of a molehill. Your opinion was largely dependent upon what “camp” you belonged to. If you liked cars and thought environmental laws have gone overboard recently, maybe you didn’t care much. If you were an environmental activist, then the scandal was evidence that companies simply cannot be trusted.

I highlight this scandal and the inherent publicity today because FMCSA announced a 4th carrier being shut down this year for rules infractions. I am not going to single out the offending company, you can find them easily enough if that is your aim. But I want to talk again about our responsibility to each other. Our responsibility is NOT to hide one another’s infractions, but to self-police. When you see drivers and/or trucks who are doing things illegally or in such a way to put other drivers at risk, report them. Report them to their employer or to the authority. I do not want advocate a Nazi-style watchdog system but if we ignore wrong-doers in our midst we effectively sanction that behavior. And that is not okay.

The general public is clamoring for our industry to improve in both safe-driving and in environmental/emissions standards. The irony, at least with regards to the former, is that industry is remarkably safe. But that is not the perception. And while I will never say that perception is greater than or equal to reality, perception does matter. When a single company flaunts the rules, we, as an industry, will see perceptions worsen. And then we all lose.

Thanks for reading and be safe out there.

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