LCV Parking and Teaching Etiquette

John G Smith

If we had a loonie for every time we got an email or phone call about the lack of courtesy among today’s truck drivers, every Friday would be Office Pizza Day.

Recently, we’ve been hearing a lot about how regular, ol’ trucks are parking in spots reserved for LCVs, specifically along the 401 corridor here in Ontario.

Dan Adams, a 34 year trucking vet, was west of Brockville at an OnRoute when he saw every LCV parking spot taken up — not by LCVs.

Adams asked one driver taking up an LCV spot what he was doing.

“There’s none around, it doesn’t matter,” the driver answered.

“These guys,” Adams told me,  “just don’t get it and don’t care.”

“You talk to LCV drivers and a lot of them say they just pull in the front now,” Adams said. “They don’t even go around the back cause they won’t get a spot and they can get hung up back there.”

The main reason he contacted us, however, was to inquire who was responsible for enforcing parking at OnRoutes.

“I know the OPP will give you a ticket if you’re parked in a fire route. Is there actually something on the books for guys who are parking in the LCV spots? If the OPP were to just spend a week doing a blitz on it, it would get the word out,” Adams said.

A quick call to the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) revealed that, no, it’s not the responsibility of the OPP. The property owners, a spokeswoman for OPP said, are responsible for calling municipal bylaw enforcement if they are having an issue with parking.

The owners in this case would be OnRoute.

“Parking is managed by OnRoute, said Sarah Cody, Sr. Director Communications and PR, for a firm that handles public relations for OnRoute. “We try to manage the parking through signage and visual inspections but cannot control the etiquette of drivers, either commercial or non-commercial, beyond those measures.”

So really, nobody wants to touch the issue. And we can’t blame OnRoute for not wanting to call municipal bylaw enforcement to start ticketing truckers; real bad for business.

It shouldn’t have to come to that, anyway.

“I’ve been doing this for 34 years,” Adams said. “There’s no courtesy at all out here and guys just don’t seem to care.”

The question, then, is why?

“You get a lot of guys doing this as a second career. Unemployment says ‘Here, you’re going to go drive a truck’ and they’re not into this,” Adams explained. “A lot of the newer Canadian drivers don’t know, either. There’s no companionship, no teamwork out here, and you turn the CB on and you hear hardly anything. Nobody passes on information anymore.”

Adams, I think, nails it: “nobody passes on information.”

People new to any industry, no matter their age (I don’t buy the line that an older generation has more respect than a younger generation; I know just as many disrespectful older people as I do younger people) need help and guidance by the veterans; there are things that they just don’t teach you in school.

When I first started at Today’s Trucking, I went on a long-haul with Erb driver Alfy Meyer. On our way back to Canada, Alfy started to pass another tractor-trailer, but the guy wasn’t easing off. Alf got on the CB, and asked the driver what was going on. “Well, what would you have me do?” the voice said, with no sarcasm. “Normally,” Alf responded, “you ease off a bit to let the other guy get by you.” No attitude in Alf’s voice, either. The driver eased off, we were able to get by, and Alf thanked him. “No problem,” the voice said.

The other driver wasn’t being a jerk; he literally didn’t know what the etiquette was in that situation.

With new people coming into the industry every day, it’s probably best to just assume they have no idea about trucking etiquette. They’re probably more worried about not being late and the 15 billion regulations.

Is it sad and frustrating that we have to teach courtesy? You bet. And, as Adams noted, “a lot of this is just plain laziness.”

But still, it’s worth taking the time to pass your knowledge on, advise new drivers, and do it with the understanding that every driver has the same challenges and pressures.

Attitude is important. If you can share your knowledge with a little enthusiasm for the job, positively, then that knowledge will stick and eventually spread.

It’s the difference between:

“Hey man, we gotta look out for each out here. Leave that space for the LCV guys, would ya?”

and

“You too fat to park in the right spot?”

At the end of the day, the advice you share — etiquette advice or tricks of the trade — make the job more enjoyable for both veteran and rookie.

Etiquette isn’t simply about manners; it adds a human connection and fosters camaraderie, respect and understanding, especially in what can be a very isolated, thank-less vocation.

See this boat? We’re all in it together, and none of us want a ticket.

This blog brought to you by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s “Spread Your Love (Like a Fever).”

 

John G Smith

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking, trucknews.com, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Inside Logistics, Solid Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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