How many of us have seen a topic of discussion become nothing more than personal arguments between drivers? We have seen everything from Owner/Operators attacking company drivers, company drivers attacking Owner/Operators, newer drivers and older drivers engaged in dialogue that far exceeds the realm of a heated debate and becomes nothing more than CB radio garbage that made it onto the internet. How many professional drivers out there really think that will help the situation in any way?
So many of us have seen comments like “I have been doing this for 30 years” or “I don’t care because I won’t be driving much longer” and let’s not forget some from the other end of the spectrum such as “I’m only doing this to make money fast and then move to another job” and “Why should I listen to you just because you have been driving longer”. Well the truth of the matter is that everyone is entitled to their opinion and freedom of speech is one of the few freedoms we seem to have left these days. Freedom of speech is a wonderful tool when used properly and it is also a dangerous weapon when used improperly and it seems that people overlook that fact frequently in the trucking industry today.
One of the biggest problems in the industry is the lack of unity of the drivers and these types of attacks on one another do absolutely nothing to help bridge the gaps between the different groups of drivers. Many people wonder why it is so hard to accomplish changing the industry for the better and the answer is simple. “The Divide and Conquer” method of accomplishing a task has been in use for thousands of years, Genghis Khan, Hitler, and the Roman Empire are past examples of society’s that were able to use it effectively. They did this by dividing a society and creating infighting in that society and then later absorbed parts of that society that would declare loyalty to the new rule or simply bought out the allegiance with money, gifts, or favors.
How does this apply to the trucking industry today? The governing bodies are fully aware that drivers and organizations within the industry that are divided will not have enough support to challenge any changes effectively. They are also aware that some entities within the industry are only there for personal gain and therefore can be easily manipulated and used against others.
Where does this apply to opinions and freedom of speech? The statements listed above provide a good indicator of where to target the industry, keeping the infighting alive between new drivers and more experienced drivers is a very simple thing to do when all you have to do is enhance the ability to blame another group of drivers for the problems we have today. Keep in mind that that is just one simple cross section of drivers, the arguments exist from company driver vs. O/O, large company vs. small, and the list goes on.
Does the brand of truck you drive make you a better driver or put you higher up on the food chain? Does the length of time you have been driving make you more of an authority on every topic in the industry? If you really don’t care what happens in the industry should you really be attacking those who do? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you could very well be part of the problem yourself, because you effectively become a tool used by those who want to divide and conquer the industry. You help to promote infighting and aid in keeping the drivers divided just by using freedom of speech.
Many of these things can stem from passion about your career, but misguided passion can often lead to problems, you can be passionate about your views and still be heard without trying to attack anyone in the process. Showing common respect for another person who doesn’t share your view can often lead to a good debate which can often expose other avenues of remediation that neither side could clearly see before that point.
The choice of how you approach the issues is solely up to you, however the actions that you choose to utilize can have repercussions that go far beyond just your personal preferences as they can cast a bad light and create further damage to the reputation of all professional drivers on our highways today, which in turn divides the drivers and makes it easier to subject them to more changes that are unfair to all of us involved.