I read a disturbing story this morning in the Louisville Courier Journal concerning the tragic multiple-fatality accident that occurred several weeks ago on I-65 near Munfordville, KY. You may recall that a loaded tractor trailer crossed the median and struck a van, with horrific results. This morning’s story suggests that the driver of the big truck may have been speeding and talking on a cell phone immediately prior to the accident.

The purpose of this is not to reinvestigate or even analyze that accident. Regardless of fault, it was terrible and many lives will never be the same because of it. I literally pray every night that none of our folks are ever involved in anything like this.  It is important to me that each of you return safely to your families after every working tour. We don’t want anyone hurt or killed as the result of our trucking operations.

With that in mind, I want everyone to always be in complete and safe control of the things you can control. Remember, you control your speed, you control your following distance, you control when and how you change lanes. You control the securement and protection of your cargo, you control the upkeep and general maintenance of your equipment. You control the amount of rest you get, you control your diet and general health, and you control the level of distractions in your cab. You control your personal conduct with the general public, with customers and with law enforcement. In short, regardless of the economy, CSA 2010 or anything else, you can control, and must control, the majority of what goes on around you every day.

What you can’t control is what other motorists do around you. However, by mastering what you can control, in many cases you will be able to either avoid or at least mitigate the mistakes of others. You must fully recognize what you can control and constantly exercise that control to the best of your ability.

Many of you have heard me say this, but it is worth repeating here again: When you have an accident, time stops. It is what it is at that point. In a serious accident investigation, logbooks, receipts, ECM’s, cell phone records, equipment condition, cargo securement, driver condition and health as well as previous driver activity will all be under the microscope by Mercer, our insurance carrier, plaintiff counsel, Federal and state authorities and the press.  If you did not safely control the items that you had control over, the ultimate outcome will not be pretty. Or pleasant. Or cheap.

Understand what you can control and do your absolute best every day to exercise that control. Be safe.

  1. Neil
    May 7, 2010 at 8:47 am

    I read that story too,tragic! Running 80mph,friggin moron!
    About cell phone use,i’m cruising down the hiway and the phone rings,i’m being offered freight,what am i to do? I will not pull over into the emer lane on the interstate,to dangerous,on the two lane no where to stop.Factor in the 8 minutes and i am in a quandry.The hands free devices don’t work for me.I have to talk to my coordinator and when the load comes from or goes to Podunk,USA i want to know where it is located,gotta talk,don’t like it but i have no choice.It is a tough situation we’re in.

  2. Len Dunman
    May 7, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Neil, as your favorite safety director, I understand what you are saying, but I can’t advise you to do anything other than to use a hands-free device. Telling DOT Secretary Ray LaHood that hands-free devices don’t work for us is probably not going to work for him, or for any of the kind officers you encounter in your journeys. Distracted driving is a serious deal, and you are going to see much more enforcement on it, particularly as a result of the KY crash.

    Folks, this is a difficult situation for all of us in this business, but, like I said, you’ve got to exercise control over the things you can control. And that includes cell phone use. It’s tough for me, because I don’t like the hands-free stuff, either. I’ve had to adjust my habits, as well.

  3. John Bewley
    May 9, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    If that phone call is so important, 2 minutes on a hands free device you don’t “like” is a small price to pay. There are a ton of these things on the market, wired and Bluetooth wireless, surely everyone could find one they tolerate long enough for those unmissable calls while driving.

  4. Neil
    May 12, 2010 at 7:43 am

    John,with all due respect look up the word tinnitus.If i (and 20% of the population)could use one i would.

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