An important reminder on avoiding generalizations

In my last blog, and especially in my most recent column (which is rolling off the presses as I type this), I was critical of the police and specifically the OPP for what appears to be some overzealous enforcement tactics towards professional truck drivers. I contended that the OPP officer who fined a driver for smoking in his rig and some other police officers who have wrongly come down on truck drivers were undermining attempts by the likes of RCMP Sgt. Rob Ruiters, who has worked tirelessly to promote increased cooperation between police and truckers.
I stand by my remarks, but an incident last night has left me wondering if I was perhaps too harsh towards the OPP?
Let me explain: Last night, my wife (seven months pregnant and a Nervous Nellie at the best of times) blew a tire on her way home from work. Stranded on the side of Hwy. 7 with traffic whizzing by at ungodly speeds (as it always does on that stretch of highway at that time of day), she sat frightened in her car as the realization dawned on her that she had forgotten her cell phone at home.
She flagged down a motorist and called me, I called CAA and then headed out to where she said she was located. By the time I arrived, some 20 minutes or so later, one of Ontario’s finest was just finishing attaching her spare. When I pulled over, Const. Cox wiped the dirt off his hands and said she was good to go.
Well, didn’t I feel like the world’s biggest jackass, having just hammered out a column that took the OPP to task and suggested they are unfairly antagonizing truck drivers? Again, in the cases I cited in my column, I still believe the officers in question were wrong in fining professional drivers for minor or non-existent offences.
However what I failed to do was acknowledge that for every one of them, there are hundreds or thousands of other officers in the OPP and other forces who deserve credit for the many things they do each day that go above and beyond what’s required of them – including Const. Cox, who stopped to help my wife, settled her down in the midst of an anxious situation and then changed her tire – even waving off a tow truck driver who at one point swooped in for the sale.
Those of us in the trucking industry are constantly reminding members of the non-trucking public that the actions of one aggressive or obscene truck driver are not indicative of the profession at large. I suppose it’s also worth considering that the overzealous and inappropriate conduct of a few cops does not speak to the overall professionalism and pride of the force in general. Thanks, Const. Cox, for unwittingly providing me with this important reminder by way of your selfless actions.

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James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 20 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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  • Kudos to the cop for helping your wife while she was in need, James. However, don’t be too hard on yourself. I’m NOT a cop and I help out people that are in trouble on the roadside.
    It’s only because he was a cop and helped out that allows this incident to stand out. Your wife, being 7 months pregnant with a flat tire…. If he hadn’t helped and someone recorded the incident, imagine the proverbial PR firestorm that would have resulted. And rightly so.

  • Fair points, Derek. I just wanted to throw that out there, because cops are a lot like truckers in a sense. When they stop to help, they’re just doing their jobs. But when they mess up, it’s on the front page. It can be a thankless job.

  • Well.well.well.Look @ You Kissing some serious ASS here.Yes what the copper did was a good gesture,but why start back peddling now.grow some balls James.Call a spade a spade and stand by your words.This is just what I have been saying for the past couple of years.Forget this POLITICLY CORRECT ****.Quit being a ****WASHER.

  • The old days of a trucker stopping to help a motorist in distress are long gone. Nice to see an OPP nevertheless, help out. As for your comments James, we all (those that know you) know there is no ass????? going on, as Jack implies just a minor correction. In fact you even state in your blog, you stand by your blog. Kudos to you and your word. Remember the old North American Indian saying Let me judge no man until I have walked 2 moons in his shoes. You did not judge you stated a fact. OPP and the abusrdity of a ticket for smoking in a truck shows how narrow minded a uniform can make some people especially if t hey are behind their quota