Road Trips and Truckers
When I was a kid growing up we could never afford to fly anywhere on vacation. There were no cruises. There were no flights to the islands. We did not visit our European Chateau.
Instead, my folks would load up the Caprice Classic Station Wagon with the fake wood paneling and through me in the very back “rumble” seat and we would take off. We would go see relatives, visit the Grand Canyon, see the world’s largest ball of twine or any other roadside attraction that seemed appealing and had a clean rest room.
There was no well thought out plan or motels booked in advance. My father would simply drive until I had asked enough annoying questions for him to strongly consider selling me to science. When he reached that point we would find a motel – hopefully with a pool – and I would redirect all my annoying tendencies on the poor travelers sharing the pool with us.
Those were the days!
Well, it looks like the days of the family road trip are going to make a return. Covid-19 has decimated the airline industry. Nobody I know would consider getting on a cruise ship right now and I have NEVER met anyone who actually had a European Chateau to which they could escape.
Instead, families are going to load up in the old family “truckster” and hit the road. I keep picturing Chevy Chase in the movie Vacation.
So why am I even mentioning family road trips in what is supposed to be a legal column. Good question.
My answer is this….over the past several months the highways have been less congested. To some extent the trucking industry has almost had the road to ourselves. Well this is not going to be the case this summer.
Everyone who has been stuck at home is wanting to load up and go see grandma, Mount Rushmore or the world’s largest ball of twine (which I highly recommend). More traffic on the roads leads to more congestion. More congestions leads to more frustrations behind the wheel. Frustration leads to citations.
Now as you know, I am a lawyer that defends drivers on traffic citations and since the pandemic hit the number of citations being issued dropped DRAMATICALLY. Civilians were staying off the roads and enforcement was looking to assist drivers get their load to where ever it needed to be. It has been awesome.
However, as the economy has begun to reopen and more people have been on the road the number of citations has increased. Trust me. I see the cases. As more folks get out the number of citations will only continue to increase.
So why am I pointing this out to you as if you don’t already understand the ramifications? Well, one of the few good thing to come out of Covid-19 is that truck drivers have been afforded a tremendous amount of good will as an “essential” industry that kept everyone supplied with food, toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Truck drivers are once again being seen as the good guys, the heroes of the highways. We all know that this has always been the case but it has been a long times since our image has been this positive.
Don’t be surprised if you are approached and thanked for your service to the country during this time of need. If that happens, take that time to say, “You’re welcome” or “no problem” or “all in a day’s work”.
I guess I am telling you all this simply so I can also say…….let’s not blow this. Our image is on the upswing and let’s keep it that way.
I know that several of the folks that will be out on the roads were not good drivers three or four months ago and I seriously doubt the pandemic has improved their driving skills.
I still expect the 4-wheelers to cut you off and slam on the brakes for no apparent reason. They will drive 75 then slow back down to 50 and then speed back up again. There will be lane drifting as they text or search for that lost radio signal.
This could cause you to become frustrated and do something silly. However, before you do that I ask that you take a deep breath and think about your actions. We want to continue to improve our image and be seen as the heroes of the road that we are. We also don’t want to do anything that could result in a citation. More citation are being written each week and this will only increase. With more folks on the road there is more opportunity for citations. So don’t do anything that will put your CDL at risk.
The road is long and the miles go on forever. We are all just trying to get to our destination safe, so keep an eye out for your fellow traveler whether he is professional or not and stay safe so we can all get back to our families, keep our jobs and keep this country moving forward. Be safe, and drive carefully!
Brad Klepper, Esq. is President of Interstate Trucker Ltd., a law firm entirely dedicated to legal defense of the nation's commercial drivers. Interstate Trucker represents truck drivers throughout the forty-eight (48) states on both moving and non-moving violations. Brad is also Executive Vice President & General Counsel of Drivers Legal Plan, which allows member drivers access to his firm’s services at greatly discounted rates. Brad spent almost a decade with the largest law firm in Oklahoma where his practice included extensive experience in transactional law, business defense litigation, and intellectual property. In addition, Brad is a licensed architect and serves as General Counsel to the Oklahoma Board of Architects, Landscape Architects and Interior Designers. Brad has dedicated much of his time to DataQs challenges, which are challenges posed to the FMCSA for CSA incidents, to examine data and reports filed by law enforcement.
800-333-DRIVE (3748) or www.interstatetrucker.com
Road Trips , Truckers