Should trailer graphics featuring controversial statements be allowed?
May 1, 2006
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - According to a study by the Traffic Audit Bureau, a tractor-trailer travelling through a major city can pass by more than 40,000 sets of eyes in a single day. That's a lot of expos...
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – According to a study by the Traffic Audit Bureau, a tractor-trailer travelling through a major city can pass by more than 40,000 sets of eyes in a single day. That’s a lot of exposure for both carriers and (if applicable) the products featured on their trailers. However, a recent U.S. campaign has taken trailer graphics beyond simply a means of advertising and made them a matter of national pride. Not long after the U.S. waged war in Iraq, the rear doors of many trailers could (and still can) be seen adorned with an American flag and the phrase, “We support our troops wherever we go. No aid or comfort to the enemy – NO WAY!” While few would disagree with supporting their country’s armed forces, the “no aid or comfort to the enemy” line could spark controversy if interpreted in its harshest translation. Yet some would argue that by censoring such messages, freedom of speech would be jeopardized. Truck News stopped by the Husky Truck Stop on Shawson Drive in Mississauga, Ont. to see if drivers think it’s appropriate for trucks and trailers to sport opinions some might find offensive.
Peter Martens, a driver with Penner International in Steinbach, Man., has no problem with the U.S. troops graphic and thinks Canada should have a similar one for its own armed forces.
“Everybody’s entitled to their opinion. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with supporting our troops,” said the 32-year veteran. “But as far as the ‘no aid or comfort to the enemy,’ that can be interpreted in a number of different ways. I can see how some would like that and some wouldn’t, but for me it’s alright.”
Rod Perrault, a driver with TST Truckload in Mississauga, Ont., personally finds such opinions offensive. The driver of more than 30 years says that because the general public tends to be easily persuaded, when they see these types of messages over and over again, they tend to treat them as truth.
“If that’s what you see, that’s the way it’s got to be,” he says, “but it’s got to be something that you yourself feel in your heart and believe.”
‘Kat’, a driver with Slingshot Transportation in Brooklyn, Mich., is in full favour of the campaign and warns people not to misinterpret the part that says”no aid or comfort.”
“It would be inhumane for soldiers to go over there and kill innocent people, but it’s not intended towards the country; it’s intended towards al-Qaeda and anyone that has anything to do with them. (The country’s people) are just trying to rebuild what’s been destroyed,” she said. “Nobody likes war, I don’t like war, but it’s a reality.”
Hector Montiero, a driver with Reimer Express Lines in Winnipeg, Man., feels it’s inappropriate to display such statements on trailers, especially the U.S. troops one and the message it presents.
“No, I don’t agree with it at all,” he says. “First off, that’s somebody’s own personal beliefs, and a country’s belief that has nothing to do with Canada. Number two, I think we should be trying to get along rather than trying to kill one another. That kind of defeats the purpose of world peace.”
Sharokh Mirzaei, a driver with Moga Transport in Vancouver, B.C., disagrees with Montiero and thinks the message of punishing the enemy is a good one. But he says support of such cause can’t go uneducated; you need to separate the country’s citizens from its army.
“You have to figure out who the ‘enemy’ is first,” Mirzaei said.