By Rich Weissman
I am no stranger to trucks and trucking. I live smack in the middle of the I95 corridor, growing up in the greater New York City area and now living in the Boston area. I’ve spent my life within five miles of Route 1 and I95. And, as part of my supply chain career, I’ve worked in warehouses, routed freight and negotiated trucking contracts. I like trucks.
But I have never seen such horrendous driving by truckers as I have seen in the past few months.
My, father, who taught me to drive four decades ago, was a student of the sink-or-swim school of driver education. He had me driving on Route 1, the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike before the ink was dry on my learner’s permit. What I learned during that time, and ever since, was that truckers were the dependable drivers on the highway. They followed the rules, stayed in lanes and respected the steel and diesel fueled rigs they controlled.
Seemingly, these rules are now optional. I’ve been on several interstate trips in the past couple of months and I’ve seen atrocious driving by semi drivers, including speeding in the left lane, tailgating, changing lanes without signaling, passing on the right, and a general disdain for four-wheeled traffic. In fact, I see a general disdain for other truckers as well, and that is what scares me.
Highways do not intimidate me (see the Jersey reference above). I’d much rather be in a line of trucks than just about with anyone else out on the interstate. But these days my highway reference point is shifting. Perhaps the chronic driver shortage has impacted the natural selection of drivers. Or, the distracted driving we lament in autos has found its way into the trucking industry. Maybe reduced enforcement has emboldened poor behaviors. A combination, I guess.
Be careful out there.
Endicott College Assistant Professor Rich Weissman teaches management courses for the School of Business and the Van Loan Graduate School. He is also the director of corporate education, which includes the Center for Leadership, Endicott’s management development institute. He is vice chair of the planning committee and also serves on the technology committee and the Institution Review Board. A practitioner turned educator, Weissman has more than 25 years of experience in all facets of procurement and supply chain management. He has held positions with large business units of Fortune 500 companies, medium-sized contract manufacturing companies, small venture-backed Internet startup firms, and third-party procurement, consulting and strategic sourcing firms.
Rich holds an M.S. in Management from Lesley University and a B.A. in Economics from Rutgers University. He is past president of the Purchasing Management Association of Boston and a recipient of the Harry J. Graham Memorial Award, the highest honor bestowed by the association.
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