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Opinion-editorial
Professionalism: it can’t be all about technology

By Mark H. Reddig, “Land Line Now” Host

Earlier this year, I took part in a panel discussion called “The Future of Trucking Summit,” hosted by our sister show, Freewheelin’, and moderated by Chris T. and Meredith Ochs, the hosts of that program, along with fellow host KC Phillips.

A theme seemed to run through the event – one that I have thought about over and over. It was an assumption that, somehow, everyone in trucking agreed that technology would make the business safer. One panelist said the more technology we use, the higher level of professionalism the rest of the world will see in the trucking industry.

I think people regard others as professionals when they are professionals, and I said so at the summit.

I spoke to a friend recently about that, and then asked his opinion. This is someone who has virtually no connection to trucking. He said, “No one respected Captain Sullenberger because he had so much technology in the cockpit. They respected him because when all that technology failed, he saved several hundred lives using nothing more than his skill as a pilot.”

Of course, he was talking about Sully Sullenberger, who landed a crippled plane in the Hudson River and saved all those on board after a bird flew into and damaged an engine. Honestly, I could not agree more.

Pilots were respected as professionals long before all that high tech was in the cockpit. Doctors were respected as professionals long before we had MRIs or CAT scans. Lawyers are respected as professionals, and I’m not even sure they have to use much advanced technology to do their jobs.  

That is a list I could add to all day.

So that leaves the question open: Why are truckers not regarded that way?

A lot of things feed into the public’s impression of truckers. That’s a long list; however, most of the public image is based on false impressions or propaganda by groups who want to blame truckers for every single problem that exists on our highways today.

That agenda is something these people will pursue whether the facts support it or not. LL