Driver training classes that might actually help

January 27, 2020

Wendy Parker

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Another two years with no driver training rule means another two years of listening to eggheads who have never driven a truck blather on about how more regulations (that don’t include driver training) will make trucking safer.

Maybe instead of banging a gong for more regulations, they should take this time to develop and implement curriculum into the MIA training program that might actually help new drivers.

For instance, “Broker-Dispatcher Baloney 101”

This class will familiarize new drivers with phrases to be alert for when accepting and planning for loads. Things like, “Florida is beautiful this time of year,” which actually means, “I’ve got a hot load that needs to get to Ocala but I have no turnaround. You’ll sit until the tires rot off waiting for a decent paying load out, but Florida is beautiful this time of year.”

The training course will also instruct newbies on verbal promises, such as, “I don’t have a plan yet, but if you take this load to Golden, Colo., I’ll find you something decent out of there before you deliver.” Students will learn this statement translates as, “You’ll go in making just enough money to break even when you come out with a heavy-as-hell beer load paying cracker-crumb rates.” It could also mean the driver will take the load in and never hear from the broker again, unless they have a hot load to Ocala to offer.

Emphasis will be placed on the dangerous nature of the phrases, “I need a favor,” and “If you take this one I’ll get you home with the next one,” especially when coming from a dispatcher.

Another helpful addition to the driver training syllabus might be a quick primer on regional wildlife and its effects on the flow of traffic.

“An Introduction to Things that Stand in the Road” will give a brief overview of animals that unexpectedly stand in, run across and fall into the flow of traffic. Subtopics might include, “Everything in Texas Wants to Kill You,” and “The Skunks in Ohio are Large Enough to Total a Freightliner,” as well as “Turkeys Can Fly and Do So at CMV Windshield-Level in Tennessee.”

Information regarding the dangers of falling frozen iguanas in Florida will be imparted, along with cautionary measures to avoid pesky bat-infestations of the truck while parking overnight in New Mexico.

When it comes to driver training, the subject of personal health and safety is often disregarded. Required learning should also prepare drivers to take care of themselves on the road. Discussions might include knowledge and proper use of shower shoes as well as the benefits of being fully vaccinated for rabies, trench foot, distemper and rubella before exiting the cab anywhere in or around the vicinity of West Memphis, Ark.

It should also be noted that sleeping with the windows cracked in Alzeda, Mont., during the summer will result in either death from blood loss related to mosquito bites or contracting yellow fever from aforementioned mosquito bites. Actually, it should just be noted that doing anything outside in Alzeda during the summertime (which lasts approximately six hours and usually occurs right before a giant snow storm in the month of August) requires marinating yourself in DDT.

And finally, although weather is an ever-evolving beast, a few pointers about the general conditions new drivers might expect during their cross-country travels will certainly help them prepare for a safer trip.

Being advised that the wind never drops below 20 miles-per-hour in Wyoming or the Dakotas and that the humidity in Louisiana can melt titanium could certainly be helpful. Also, the knowledge that it doesn’t matter if it’s July Fourth and the outside temperature in the valley is 106 degrees, the fact that you’re probably going to need chains going over Donner Pass still comes as a surprise to some.

Being prepared for as many situations as possible makes for safer drivers. Not regulations.

It’s also called “training,” and almost every single licensed profession in the U.S. requires a standard, set amount of hours-in-training to test for these licenses.

Why not trucking?

 

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Wendy Parker

Wendy Parker has covered the trucking industry since 2012 after she says she “lost my mind and decided to climb inside my husband’s big truck to travel with him as an over-the road, long-haul trucker.” Her unique writing style that ranges from biting satire to investigative journalism coupled with her unbridled passion for fighting round out a wildly talented stable of writers.