Safety by invitation only

By John Bendel, editor-at-large

The Trucking Alliance is a group of large carriers devoted to safety. Totally devoted. Absolutely, utterly, unconditionally, wholeheartedly, thoroughly, consummately, fully, wholly devoted to safety.

Oh yeah, and they’re really devoted to more liability insurance.

You gotta love a group like that. You gotta. That’s the point. Who could possibly question their goals? Who would dare say a word against them?

Get real.

This group of eight carriers believes we’re not doing enough for truck safety. The ATA doesn’t do enough. The FMCSA doesn’t do enough. The safety groups don’t do enough. So these entirely selfless carriers are spending their own money to advance safety, and they’re sacrificing in the process. No raise for drivers. No new water feature for the headquarters atrium. Tough stuff. What could be nobler?

How does the Trucking Alliance spend that safety money? They lobby for safety in Washington, D.C., of course, and they invest heavily in safety training and technology. Well, maybe not heavily. Maybe just a little.

Okay, maybe not at all. But hey, that’s not what makes safety even safer. Hell no. Safety gets safer only when the feds mandate it. After all, what good is all that safety gear if the government doesn’t require it on every tractor, trailer, straight truck, package van, pickup, hand truck, clipboard, and touch-screen stylus in the industry? Especially for you darn small fleets and owner-operators.

You’re the problem, you know, not the big Trucking Alliance guys. You annoying little guys are crashing all over the place all the time. You have lots more accidents than the big, super-safe, Trucking Alliance carriers. Well, maybe not lots more accidents. Maybe just a few more accidents.

Okay, okay. So, you don’t have more accidents.

Maybe you little guys are not crashing all over the place all the time. Maybe that’s the big guys, but hey, if that safety stuff is required by law, the Trucking Alliance guys will have to have it too. What could be fairer than that? The point is safety, safety, safety.

And more liability insurance.

Is the Trucking Alliance just trying to add cost for smaller, more nimble carriers? Categorically, absolutely, positively, definitely not! They have said so many times, and if you can’t trust an alliance in this world, who can you trust?

Would you like to join the Trucking Alliance? Well, you can’t – not without an invitation. Any group with a cool name like Trucking Alliance has to be exclusive. This isn’t a club, or an association, or an organization, or a committee. It’s an alliance. Has a kind of Star Wars echo, doesn’t it?

Their latest invitation went to Swift Transportation, which gracefully accepted and joined. I can only imagine how excited they were there in Phoenix when the invitation arrived. High fives all around. It’s quite an honor. In fact, back in December the Alliance invited US Xpress to join. Thing is, US Xpress was a founding member of the Trucking Alliance. They probably quit just so they could get one of those coveted invites.

I can hardly wait for my invitation to arrive. LL