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Travels of a Trucker Teaching a New Generation

May 4, 2013

A couple of weeks ago I was driving home from the new job that I have just started. The new job is situated in the middle of Surrey near many driving schools and an ICBC road test center. It was on my way home from work one morning when 2 things caught my attention. The first thing that came to mind was at the intersection of 132st and 88th ave I saw a truck clearly marked APNA Driving School. Now typically it doesn’t mean anything to me that someone is training but what caught my eye is that this driver who was being trained by a “supposed” Class 1 driving instructor had no lights on. There were no clearance lights on the trailer, no lights on the truck, not even daytime running lights. The truck was a Freightliner and thus the driver has all the controls to turn on and off the lights regardless if driving or not. What amazed me is that this is how our new drivers are taught!! To drive down the road and learn from a “professional instructor” and they are not even taught to turn on the lights. Now as you can imagine with the name APNA, it was a driver and a teacher of another mother but irregardless of the race, driving with the lights on is the law in BC at certain times. At least in so far as having Daytime running lights on at the minimum which most vehicles come equipped with nowadays. The time of this event was well outside the law which states 1/2 hour before sunset and 1/2 hour to sunrise. Now of course the driver at this time was not breaking any law, but the thought of how this driver was being trained will be a reflection of this drivers thought processes and abilities at a later date when he is alone and by himself driving a commercial vehicle on the highway. At the very least the professional driving instructor should always maintain and enforce the turn on light policy to each and every new driver and potential driver. Not only for Safety but just because it is good policy to use and utilize them.

The second thing that caught my attention, again a couple of weeks ago, was a driving instructor driving their marked driving school vehicle. Now it just wasn;t the fact it was marked, it was the fact it was driving well below the set limit of the road speed and well below the flow of traffic which was travelling at least 10km an hour above the 50km posted speed. Now granted if the instructor wants to drive 40 in a 50 they have every right to do so, but there is also another law in place to protect motorists from drivers such as this:

 

Slow driving

145  (1) A person must not drive a motor vehicle at so slow a speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary for safe operation or in compliance with law.

(2) If the driver of a motor vehicle is driving at so slow a speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic, a peace officer may require the driver to increase his or her speed, or to remove the motor vehicle from the roadway to the nearest suitable place and to refrain from causing or allowing the motor vehicle to move from that place until directed to do so by a peace officer.

Now the reason I bring this up is not so much that I am telling this person to speed, but if the average motorist is doing 60 in a 50, and this driving instructor is impeding the normal rate, flow and average of traffic, they are thus blocking the flow of traffic. Granted the speed limit is 50. Going 40 in the 50 is unacceptable. I believe teaching new drivers this methodology of going slower than the posted speed limit is setting them up for road rage, tailgating, becoming more prone to being rear ended and therefore putting the motoring public at an undue risk for the sake of going a few kilometers less than the posted speed. For a driving instructor to be doing this is even more unacceptable in my opinion.

So I guess your all wondering…how is the new job? Well as you may or may not have heard my last employer shut down operations and was in the process of selling his equipment off at a truck consignment in Abbotsford. I had the pleasure of bringing 4 of the trucks for sale there and dropping them off. Then it took my employer over 1 month to pay for my previous month which included a bounced cheque. He did eventually pay me off and I have since moved on to better grounds. Hauling Chickens I am now. Running all over farmland from Agassiz to Delta picking up live Chickens to bring back to the processors. Now I really do have a feeling for the Chickens. I may like to eat Chicken, but the Chicken I am eating is a Chicken I am not transporting and is generally what I would call something that is “what you can;t see won’t hurt you ideology”. To actually bring the Chickens to the processors, I close off my mind about what is going to happen to them. I sometimes pet them as they sit in the cages while I am loading them and it almost seems as though they like the touch of being petted. I feel sorry for them as I know the fate that lies ahead. Occasionaly I see a Chicken that has been hurt from the loading process. I can see the blood from a cut as they are sometimes thrown into the cages and the workers give the cages a shut and pull to use gravity at pushing the Chickens to the back of the cage. Sometimes in the process of doing this the Chickens get hurt as the body parts may not all be in the cage as it is pushed and pulled.

I really do feel for the Chicken when I see them like this but what can I do. I just feel a little more sorry for them as I think to myself that their pain is far from over. I was loading Chickens the other night and one Chicken had a bloody and closed eye. The other eye was not open but I began to pet it and rub it’s little head giving it some sign of comfort. I could almost feel that Chicken asking me what was happening. A few minutes later that chicken was put on the top row of the trailer and I never saw that one again. Then on my last shift Thursday night, one of the Chickens had a larger than average hole in it’s cage due to the plastic being broken. It was enough it could stick it;s head out. I began to pet that Chicken and for a few moments I felt that Chicken actually liked it’s head being rubbed. The reason why, I walked away and the Chicken put it’s head back When I reappeared a few minutes later, it was like there was a bond and that Chicken put it’s head out for me when I came back. But I close my eyes and blindly lock the cages into place on the truck as I transport them to the processors. As I disconnect the trailer at the processors I can only think that I am sorry for these little birds and that the pain they are suffering as they are loaded is only going to be more frightening as they move further the processing line.

Well take care my friends. Until my next issue.

Be safe.

Trucker.

 

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