This meme was posted on the Facebook page for a Texas trucking company, Stevens Transport, last week.
Is this the message that trucking companies send to tired truck drivers?
Don’t comply with federal laws.
Don’t concern yourself with anyone’s safety.
Due to the controversy—many truck drivers joined safety advocates in expressing concern—the company pulled the Facebook post.
In a statement, a trucking company representative blamed “an intern who has been with Stevens Transport for only a few weeks and whose inexperience led him to include a message that was both tone deaf and wrong.”
Yes, Stevens Transport posted a “tone deaf ” message. It was “wrong”. It was absurd.
But it was not an anomaly.
Bill Graves is the president of the American Trucking Associations; he is a lead spokesperson for the trucking industry. In 2014, he stated:
“Many of the anti-truck groups have mischaracterized the extent to which fatigue is a part of our traffic problem.
I don’t know how the federal government polices sleep.”
So, an intern at Stevens Transport isn’t the only one underestimating the danger of sleepy truck drivers.
Driver fatigue is a real safety problem.
Here’s a sample of the truck crashes caused by sleepy drivers just in the last couple of days, since Stevens Transport removed their Facebook post:
- A “rookie” trucker fell asleep behind the wheel and hit twelve cars;
- Six people were seriously injured—including 2 children—after a tired truck driver fell asleep and struck their vehicle head-on; and
- A truck crossed a highway guardrail and crashed into another semi-truck after the driver fell asleep; at least five people were injured.
Tired truck drivers in charge of 80,000 tractor-trailers put everyone on the road at risk.
The trucking industry, from lead lobbyist down to intern, doesn’t seem to understand this danger, and that is alarming.