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Author Topic: Are Truck Drivers becoming more and more stupid?  (Read 1115 times)

roadman65

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Are Truck Drivers becoming more and more stupid?
« on: July 23, 2019, 11:52:10 AM »

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/too-heavy-big-rig-collapses-100-year-old-bridge-north-n1032676
https://www.foxnews.com/us/100-year-old-north-dakota-bridge-collapses-under-overweight-truck-carrying-several-tons-of-beans-police-say

I work as a toll collector and believe it or not the truckers that pay the toll (the fact that they have not figured out that electronic tolling exists with cheaper tolls for them) ask the most dumbest questions you can imagine.  Why is the toll so high?  Where is I-95?  Where is the street I am supposed to deliver my load to?  Are among many I hear as I collect the tolls.   Then some drivers choose to drive the road even with an empty walled as some do not even know the Shunpike routes that are common to most auto drivers.

Now I see them collapsing bridges and ignoring weight limit signs or that banner Connecticut puts up at all ramps to the Merit Parkway saying "Passenger Cars Only" thus creating damage to bridges and being stuck under a low height overpass.  Are the new age of drivers getting more stupid or is the GPS becoming a God like image, or something else?
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Re: Are Truck Drivers becoming more and more stupid?
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2019, 12:17:53 PM »

Are the new age of drivers getting more stupid or is the GPS becoming a God like image, or something else?

That's some of it.

Truckers - the ones from the 60's, 70's and 80's, did it as a career.  Not only did they learn the roads, they learned how to communicate with each other.  Every kid (ok, most boys) growing up loved to imitate the trucking lingo, pretend they were on the CB, etc.  Truckers were schooled on how to handle the roads, and enjoyed what they did.

Many of today's truckers are doing it because they need to find work.  They're doing it not because they want to, but because they have to.  They get their CDL Class A license (somehow), jump in a truck, and...sit there.  They don't do their safety checks.  They don't look up their routes.  They just go, without a thought of the hazards that may lie ahead.

On my toll-collecting days - and this is 15 - 19 years ago now, I had many of the same issues roadman had.  Maybe the most memorable one was a trucker going south on the NJ Turnpike at Exit 1 was complaining about the tolls.  I told him just to use parallel 295 instead.  He told me that it has tolls too!  I tried convincing him it didn't, but hey, what do I know!  The only thing I could think was that he mistook the Delaware Memorial Bridge toll...which is on I-295...as the entire highway had tolls.  Well...he was going to be paying that anyway!

I had a few other truckers make mistakes, go the wrong way, get a little confused.  I get it a little...it happens to the best of them. And I get the business now - a lot more restrictions, combined with bosses that don't care and want the impossible done.  But the mistakes and ignorance of basic traffic laws and sign reading today is horrendously worse than it was back a few decades ago!
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Beltway

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Re: Are Truck Drivers becoming more and more stupid?
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2019, 12:27:44 PM »

Are the new age of drivers getting more stupid or is the GPS becoming a God like image, or something else?
That's some of it.
Truckers - the ones from the 60's, 70's and 80's, did it as a career.  Not only did they learn the roads, they learned how to communicate with each other.  Every kid (ok, most boys) growing up loved to imitate the trucking lingo, pretend they were on the CB, etc.  Truckers were schooled on how to handle the roads, and enjoyed what they did.

I toyed with the idea as one of my job ideas back in my early 20s.

Just for fun I looked at some YouTube videos about the trucking career back a few years ago, and as always it is a demanding career with lots of time away from home.  The more critical commenters say that these ads about making $35,000 to $40,000 a year to start is not so, more like upper 20s for the first couple years and lots of short and difficult trips.  Nothing like the 1970s when many could be owner-operators and make $50,000 more a year back when that was a pretty hefty income.
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roadman65

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Re: Are Truck Drivers becoming more and more stupid?
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2019, 12:31:46 PM »

You bring up a good point.  Back in the day every trucker enjoyed what they did.  Many did truck driving cause they loved to travel and drive the roads.  Many liked to be in LA one day and a few days later be in St. Louis and all used CBs as I loved mine back in the early 80's.  Truckers knew the roads and loved to chime in an contribute to detours around accidents and such.

Yes today's people are doing it to make money in a tougher world.  So yes more stupidity and ignorance is going to prevail.  People today seem to forget that signs are there to aide them and even with a control city on a large guide for New York City, many won't see that as a driver passing it, and still want to see what Google, MapQuest, Waze, or OnStar has to say when the answer is right there.  Ditto for Disney at OIA in Orlando, as the overheads leading folks out of the airport has it written out, yet many do not see it as they still pick up their GPSes and go the other way and ended up at my toll lane all pissed when they find out they have to pay cash for a toll as the traveler also believes another myth that everybody takes debit cards.

What is scary is that more bridges are going to be history as the average person nowadays is becoming more and more careless as we evolve further.
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Sheryl Crowe

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Re: Are Truck Drivers becoming more and more stupid?
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2019, 12:52:49 PM »

The original story is about a local truck driver driving local products locally.  IMHO, while the skills are similar, there is a wide gulf of difference between long haul and day haul truckers, who seem to be reasonabably smart and follow safety rules to a fair degree; and local truck drivers.  This story is about farm country, and I live in coal country, but it is probably about the same.  These people are pretty marginal in intelect, have no regard for safety and many of their trucks are overweight for local roads when empty.
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Re: Are Truck Drivers becoming more and more stupid?
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2019, 01:09:04 PM »

And it's not much different in an area with a lot of short-haul truckers servicing the intermodal yards as around Joliet, IL.  There is a very discernible difference between the long-haul guys and these short-haul twits.  The long-haul guys tend to keep right, pass quickly, and are generally rather polite on the roads.  The short-haul ones on the other hand seem to be in a hurry, have no respect for the truck lane laws, and just don't seem to care about running red signals and going through underpasses where they shouldn't.
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roadman65

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Re: Are Truck Drivers becoming more and more stupid?
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2019, 01:20:34 PM »

Yes and once and while you get short haul truckers take on another assignment in another city, and will not know the roads they drive.   However, common sense prevails!  If you see a sign on a ramp that reads TOLL ROAD and you don't have money, you simply don't get on the road and use your humble ness to find another way.  No, instead they put the toll road to the test, or they simply do not care about the signs.  Just drive and go wherever the road leads.  Most likely the latter.

I feel that something is up as simple ignorance is prevailing that causes a lot of damage and in some cases could injure another without the trucker even aware he contributed to it.  From my point of view ignorance now is the norm rather than the exception.  I am thinking its not stupidity as much as ignorance in today's trucking industry.  We live in a world where we are forced to do things that we dislike or have to just to make ends meet so we naturally become careless.
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Re: Are Truck Drivers becoming more and more stupid?
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2019, 01:21:41 PM »

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Re: Are Truck Drivers becoming more and more stupid?
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2019, 01:34:49 PM »

11foot8.com

Put it this way...that site is well known because of that camera.  But the days before the internet...just like the days before GPSs, I could tell you every local overpass that would create victims of unprepared truckers.  As kids, we almost looked forward to seeing if there was a truck smashed up under the overpass!
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Re: Are Truck Drivers becoming more and more stupid?
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2019, 03:27:25 PM »

Several years ago during a presentation covering the construction of the then-newly opened US 202 Parkway between Montgomeryville & Doylestown, PA; photos of trucks carrying overpass beams were shown needlessly (as stated by the presenter) going through town centers to get to the construction site rather than enter at either the northern or southern end of construction site and ride along the embankment of the future roadway to get to their destination.  Clearly, they were relying on GPS' since those devices will not guide anyone onto unopened roadways. 

The destination for the beams was probably entered via coordinates & the GPS just routed them via the available roads that are open to traffic.  While not wrong/incorrect per se; such was impractical & more time consuming given that these vehicles were permitted to use the unopened roadway to get to their site.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Are Truck Drivers becoming more and more stupid?
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2019, 03:44:37 PM »

Several years ago during a presentation covering the construction of the then-newly opened US 202 Parkway between Montgomeryville & Doylestown, PA; photos of trucks carrying overpass beams were shown needlessly (as stated by the presenter) going through town centers to get to the construction site rather than enter at either the northern or southern end of construction site and ride along the embankment of the future roadway to get to their destination.  Clearly, they were relying on GPS' since those devices will not guide anyone onto unopened roadways. 

The destination for the beams was probably entered via coordinates & the GPS just routed them via the available roads that are open to traffic.  While not wrong/incorrect per se; such was impractical & more time consuming given that these vehicles were permitted to use the unopened roadway to get to their site.

These bridge beams need to be delivered to specific locations.  It's doubtful the new roadway or its embankment was in any condition to hold heavy trucks.  Also, unless the bridges were built in sequential order, with one bridge being completed to the point where it could hold a truck, a trucker couldn't just simply drive along the road because they're the ones delivering the bridges!

This one I don't blame GPS on.  Most people don't understand construction needs, and construction staging.  The flatbeds were probably hauling the bridge beams from a common location, and would need to access different locations quite often.  That common location isn't simply going to be at the beginning of the roadway, but could be on the other side of town where going thru the town was the best option.

In an ironic twist, the elected officials of the towns are probably well aware of the roadways that will be needed to transport the beams, and the timing of such (because often its their police department that will be paid overtime and provide traffic detail during such projects).  The presenter was probably unaware of any of the details of such.
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PHLBOS

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Re: Are Truck Drivers becoming more and more stupid?
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2019, 04:09:24 PM »

The presenter not only worked on the project in question but was involved with the Construction Management side of the project; so knowledge of which embankment were ready to handle loads or not was indeed known.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Are Truck Drivers becoming more and more stupid?
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2019, 05:13:43 PM »

The presenter not only worked on the project in question but was involved with the Construction Management side of the project; so knowledge of which embankment were ready to handle loads or not was indeed known.

So the presenter was criticizing his own project and his managing of how the trucks were driving to the site?
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Re: Are Truck Drivers becoming more and more stupid?
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2019, 07:26:37 PM »

Watch "Highway Thru Hell" on The Weather Channel. Holy crap some of them are D-U-M-B.
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Re: Are Truck Drivers becoming more and more stupid?
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2019, 07:27:41 PM »

I don't think it's just truck drivers becoming more stupid. I'd say it's a lot of drivers.
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Re: Are Truck Drivers becoming more and more stupid?
« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2019, 08:59:48 PM »

And it's not much different in an area with a lot of short-haul truckers servicing the intermodal yards as around Joliet, IL.  There is a very discernible difference between the long-haul guys and these short-haul twits.  The long-haul guys tend to keep right, pass quickly, and are generally rather polite on the roads.  The short-haul ones on the other hand seem to be in a hurry, have no respect for the truck lane laws, and just don't seem to care about running red signals and going through underpasses where they shouldn't.

Interstate 294 has a lot of those "short haul" trucks, then, because there is absolutely no respect for truck lane laws. They don't care if they're blocking faster car traffic illegally.  They also don't slow down for construction zones or shoulder vehicles, but neither do the cars.  Driving to Rosemont can be so aggravating that I would usually rather take arterials and wait out any red lights.  Meanwhile, a trip down to Champaign on I-57 has trucks only using the left lane for passing or avoid stopped vehicles on the shoulder.  They signal to allow cars into a lane and they're aware of what's going on around them.  It's a HUGE difference.
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Re: Are Truck Drivers becoming more and more stupid?
« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2019, 09:36:54 PM »

I don't think it's just truck drivers becoming more stupid. I'd say it's a lot of drivers.
  Yes but cars cannot collapse a bridge and truckers have obvious restrictions like many states have adopted the No Trucks in Left Lane which is been around in the Mid Atlantic for decades.   Growing up in NJ truckers always respected that rule even though they disrespected the national 55 law.

Here in Florida we have large signs to remind trucks to keep out of left lane.  You have to be a total moron or blind not to see them, but many ignore them and being a toll collector I get to meet some of these drivers and many seem clueless about many things.  One guy had cash but he likes to get the pay later slips to give to his clients despite if his client forgets to pay later its his driving record and license that gets effected not his client's.
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Re: Are Truck Drivers becoming more and more stupid?
« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2019, 12:33:30 AM »

Truck drivers weren't your honor roll students in school, if you know what I mean...
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Re: Are Truck Drivers becoming more and more stupid?
« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2019, 07:57:29 AM »

I will never understand how truckers bound for New York will still take the off-ramp on the Charter Oak Bridge at the last minute. New York is very well signed there. There's no excuse.

Regarding the shunpiking, you have to remember some of those routes may not be logged as NHS routes so trucks may not be legally allowed to use them.
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Re: Are Truck Drivers becoming more and more stupid?
« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2019, 09:03:25 AM »

The presenter not only worked on the project in question but was involved with the Construction Management side of the project; so knowledge of which embankment were ready to handle loads or not was indeed known.

So the presenter was criticizing his own project and his managing of how the trucks were driving to the site?
The presentation was in-house; i.e. within the company/firm... where there's a little more liberty for frankness & candor.  During these types of presentations; several aspects of a project, both good/positive & could do better are discussed with the latter being part of a lessons learned segment.  For the benefit of those unfamiliar with the term or what exactly gets discussed; such usually involves either procedures and/or unforeseen site condition encounters as well as communications. 

The truck routing comment the presenter stated, after showing the photos, went along the lines of (paraphrasing), "Why the trucks drive through town when they could've either gone on the stabilized road embankment or taken other roads outside the town center; I have no idea."  The latter part of that statement would certainly imply that the routing was GPS generated.  It is worth noting that the truck routing was not discussed in the lessons-learned portion of this particualr presentation (such may have been done more privately).

While you are correct that construction vehicles can't access a particular site via an embankment early on during the project; the steel beams for the many of the overpasses were brought to the site well after the embankments were put in place & settled.  Such is not unusual; the Blue Route portion of I-476 (between I-76 & PA 3) had its road embankment in place years prior to the overpass beams being erected.  Whether the contractor that brought out the beams was the same as the contractor who placed the embankment (one could've been a sub-contractor to the other) is not known... at least to me anyway. 

Playing devil's advocate for one second, it's possible that the contractor transporting the beams was taking said-route due as they did early on in the project carrying other construction equipment and/or embankment fill material; i.e. was in auto-pilot & didn't realize that they could use portions of the unopened road to get to their site.  Nonetheless, construction vehicles going through towns is one thing; going through with oversized cargo (the overpass beams) is another.

To be fair, and I probably should've expounded on such earlier; while the presenter was indeed involved on the Construction Management (CM) side of things, he himself was not the CM in charge (who didn't attend or assist in the presentation).  Why the CM in charge didn't direct the trucks carrying the beams to go a certain route is unknown.  Maybe one of the lesson-learned items should've been better communication amongst contractors/delivery vehicles. 

Typically projects of this size include contractor haul-route plans for the various stages & phases; however, there have been cases where a contractor will either go their own route until they get closer to their destination or not realize hey, I can now use Phase X routing.  In other instances & let's be honest here; some will view the more remote portion of those routings as mere suggestions.

I will never understand how truckers bound for New York will still take the off-ramp on the Charter Oak Bridge at the last minute. New York is very well signed there. There's no excuse.
Are you referring to Exit 90 along CT 15?  The ramp for I-91 southbound (Exit 86) is beyond the bridge.

There used to be a commercial vehicle restriction for this stretch of CT 15 as well as the Charter Oak Bridge but such was eliminated over two decades ago following the bridge being reconstructed.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2019, 09:11:48 AM by PHLBOS »
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Re: Are Truck Drivers becoming more and more stupid?
« Reply #20 on: July 24, 2019, 09:22:25 AM »

Been working at a freight brokerage for 2 years now, and I can say that local carriers are shittier drivers than the longer OTR carriers. Then there's Swift.... no need to further explain on that carrier  :-D
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Re: Are Truck Drivers becoming more and more stupid?
« Reply #21 on: July 24, 2019, 09:12:23 PM »

When the natural gas production started happening in my area, there were lot of new truck driving jobs, meaning there were lots of new drivers.  In the early years, many of them clearly weren't aware of the limitations of such heavy vehicles.  A lot of that would be due to inexperience, but I do suspect that it would make a difference whether a new driver wanted to be a trucker or whether they just needed a job and found one.  Someone who wants to be a trucker may pay more attention, and may get a better sense for how the truck works, than someone who just wants to be employed.
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Re: Are Truck Drivers becoming more and more stupid?
« Reply #22 on: July 25, 2019, 09:33:23 PM »

To answer the question posed in the thread title:

Yes, and it's because of the labor shortage in the trucking industry.
With fewer qualified truckers and ever-increasing demand for them, something has to give, so when hiring they're settling for people who aren't as passionate about being on the road. Individual truck drivers certainly aren't becoming more stupid in real time, but in the long term, as good drivers retire and are replaced, the average truck driver certainly is becoming "more stupid" as far as driving techniques, being cognizant of others on the road, etc., etc.
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Re: Are Truck Drivers becoming more and more stupid?
« Reply #23 on: July 26, 2019, 11:49:37 AM »

A large percentage of my family went into trucking (not much else to do that pays well in Indiana).  They seem to be the good ones.  They are continually complaining about the new hires who only get into it for a few years, rely solely on GPS, and usually drive for Swift.  They do show genuine concern for others on the road, and believe that CDLs have been watered down to make it easier to hire people who don't have common sense or poor reading skills.
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Re: Are Truck Drivers becoming more and more stupid?
« Reply #24 on: July 26, 2019, 09:12:24 PM »

I'm going to argue that no, truck drivers are not becoming more and more stupid, at least in an overall sense, since the '70s. Using deaths resulting from accidents involving large trucks as a sort of proxy measure, as seen in the chart below, a clear downward trend appears.

Source

There has been an uptick since about 2010, however. That said, this measure isn't perfect. I recall reading somewhere that about 70% of all crashes involving trucks are not the fault of the truck driver, although I may have read that on a truck-driver forum, so who knows.
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