We enjoyed sharing our trip around Lake Michigan with you through photos here on this blog and on Facebook. It was a lot of fun exploring new places, revisiting places we used to work and live, spending a tiny bit of time with friends from long ago. Mostly it was good to get away and explore.
But that’s not the reason we went.
As most of you know I volunteer for the Truck Safety Coalition (TSC), a nonprofit group that works on safety issues surrounding commercial trucks. We work through Congress and the agencies of the Department of Transportation (DOT). Most of us have family members that were killed or injured in crashes with commercial trucks and those experiences inspire us to work hard to make our roads safer.
Last week members of my family and I, along with the Executive Director of TSC and a member of another family who has also been forever changed by a truck crash, spent the day at a huge trucking company learning about their safety procedures, their plans for future safety enhancements and their feelings about the issues we’ve been working on. They invited us to come visit their facilities and talk, to see which issues we agree on and what we might be able to work on together for the good of everyone – to make our roads safer.
A giant in the industry invited us, a group of hurting, stubborn, sometimes angry individuals who have no ties to trucking except through tragedy, to sit at their table and talk with them. They listened to us, expressed concern and empathy, and then told us how they are approaching safety and answered our questions as we tried to familiarize ourselves with their side of the issues.
We won’t be able to agree on everything. These are complicated issues; electronic monitoring, rules about hours of service, minimum liability insurance increases, maximum size and weight challenges, even how drivers are paid. But the more we talk the better the odds are for positive change.
TSC has worked with Congress and made some advances. We’ve worked with the DOT and made some advances. And now we’re working with a part of the trucking industry. Maybe this is another front, an untapped resource. We’ve not anti-trucking as some would like to portray us. We remind people that truck drivers die too. We’re working for safer trucking, for the good of everyone.
As a group we need to explore every avenue to safety. I am glad we got the invitation, and I’m glad I went. I learned a lot. I saw compassion and humanity on the ‘other side’ and realized once again that we’re all in this together. I know that no one individual, no one group, no one truck company can make it all right.
But together we can make it better.
We do it one day, one rule, one law, one truck company at a time. We do it in honor of those we loved and lost, in honor of the hundreds of thousands of injured. In honor of all of them we work for change. This time change began in a meeting room of a large truck company and this change is good.
And that’s why we went. Miss you Dad.