The trade press (including Truck News) is diligent in reporting on the upside of the trucking community, including covering major industry awards for safety, but even with those publications spreading...
The trade press (including Truck News) is diligent in reporting on the upside of the trucking community, including covering major industry awards for safety, but even with those publications spreading the word the industry struggles to improve its image with the general public.
It is certainly encouraging to those who work in trucking at any level to see and read the coverage in the trade publications celebrating some of the individuals who contribute so much. Recent coverage of the PMTC’s annual awards for fleet safety, of the inductees to the driver Hall of Fame, and of the fleet graphics awards are good examples. These reports focused in some detail on a few of the fleets and individuals that are making a significant difference in their workplace and, given broader media attention, would certainly help change the public perception of trucking.
Each of these winners of PMTC awards, and many others who came close this year, deserve all of the accolades and press coverage they received. The driving record of Larry Sedgwick of Advantage Personnel and that of Dick Jansen of Praxair Canada are astounding and deserving of entry to the Hall of Fame. And the fleet safety records of Pro Distribution Services, Kraft Canada, and Hensall District Co-operative are the result of attention to detail and hard work. Those who picked up awards for fleet graphics demonstrate another aspect of trucking – pride in the fleet and the products the company produces.
I know there are celebrations within the companies that employ the managers and drivers who have compiled such impressive safety records. One fleet that took home a PMTC fleet safety award this year ordered new jackets for all the drivers; jackets that will proudly state their accomplishment. That is a tangible way to acknowledge the role of their drivers toward maintaining the company’s safety record.
Companies whose drivers are inducted into the PMTC Hall of Fame for Professional Drivers are also quick to celebrate the occasion. As pointed out above, these drivers are clearly among the very best in Canadian trucking and deserving of all the attention from their employers and in the trade press.
And the marketing departments of companies that are awarded fleet graphics awards feed on the recognition. These companies are justifiably proud of their products and their fleets and recognize the value that rolling billboards bring.
But consider that the fleets and individuals that received PMTC awards this year are only a few of those that contribute every day to Canada’s safe and efficient trucking sector.
There many such industry awards: the OTA’s Road Knights are professional drivers who represent some of the best in their profession; Truck News honours the Owner/Operator of the Year; Volvo celebrates the Driver of the Year; Bridgestone-Firestone has its Truck Hero awards; Trailmobile recognizes Service to the Industry; and Cancom Tracking has awards for dispatchers. Other individual industry associations also have their own awards programs that recognize significant contribution to the industry.
Obviously there is a great deal ‘right’ with trucking in Canada.
So, where is the mainstream press when it comes to covering these awards and presenting the professional side of the trucking community? The local and national media – newspapers and radio – are quick to report when a truck is involved in an accident. It is front page news even when the ‘truck’ turns out to be an SUV. But rarely does the media follow up that report when the truck driver is absolved of responsibility for the accident.
That lack of positive media coverage is one of the reasons this industry has a poor public image. Few outside of the industry know about the drivers with years of accident-free driving or the fleets with such enviable safety records.
I recall a comment made by an OPP officer some years ago that typifies what trucking is really like to those who know. In addressing a meeting of my drivers, the officer stated that in bad weather he likes to find one of our trucks on the highway and get in behind it. That way he said, “I’m assured of getting home safely.” What a wonderful compliment that was for our drivers.
This industry makes such an important contribution to the Canadian economy that it deserves better coverage in the mainstream media of its positive elements.
If media reporters watch us they will have lots of opportunity to catch us ‘doing it right.’
–The PMTC is the only national association dedicated to the private trucking community. Your comments can be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org