Worst 'motivation' driver message ever

By Jami Jones, Land Line managing editor

Not too long ago, I got a copy of a Qualcomm message sent out to a trucking fleet. In signing off of the message, the company representative included a well-used sports motivational quote: "Don't quit when you're tired. Quit when you're done!"

I knew the phrase well, but it didn't stop my jaw from dropping. It's hard not to have heard at least some incarnation of a sports motivational quote applied to "regular" life. Be it your job, your relationships, whatever.

Sports imitate life. Until they don't.

Trucking is not a game. Being behind the wheel of a truck and worn slap out, pushing for one more mile, one more stop - there's no strength or character in that. It's irresponsible. And to suggest anything but taking care of yourself and getting off the road is reckless.

After the initial message went out, the company followed up with another one. It said the quote was out of context and reiterated that the point of the initial message was to encourage drivers to use all available hours.

In the meantime, I reached out to the company and got the same basic explanation back via email. That email to LL was quickly followed up by another Qualcomm message to drivers. In that one, the company apologized for the quote and told drivers to listen to their bodies and "we never want to put the motoring public in danger."

Maybe in the end, safety considerations and driver decisions to address their fatigue will be respected.

The problem is that while I'm using one line from one Qualcomm message from one company as an example here, there is a pervasive mindset among fleet executives throughout the industry that hours of service are to be maximized.

We hear all the time about productivity gains. That's PR code for drivers working more hours.

The industry fleet execs can preach that driver treatment is important and that it needs to improve. But until they quit formulating company policy based on number crunching and motivational posters meant to help you achieve those ripped biceps, it's going to be up to every driver - just like every athlete - to know when to say enough is enough. I'm done for the day. That's the only way you ultimately survive one day so you can live another day. LL