DRUGS: It's clear times have changed for the better.
DRUGS: It's clear times have changed for the better. Kirstin Payne

OPINION: This brought me to tears

A RANDOM question this week nearly brought me to tears.

I am just not sure whether they were tears of anger, frustration or sadness.

"So Jacquelene, like how many of these truck drivers are on drugs - most of them, yes?”

It seems that no matter how far we come, we still have so far to go to overcome the misconceptions, misunderstandings and downright prejudices against our industry.

I am sure that my answer about the changes that drivers and everyone involved in local, shuttles, linehaul and all aspects of road transport, have made to improve the safety and culture of our industry, along with my appalled reaction to the slur, made this person rethink - or at least I hope so.

Trying to explain about the small unwelcome percentage of drivers and companies that are involved in the drug taking and therefore get all the media attention is very difficult as so many people aren't ready (or don't want) to listen.

The fact that responsible drivers and companies have no interest and indeed, cannot afford either financially or legally, to be involved in unsafe practices, seems to elude so many.

Of course, the bad publicity and damage to reputation is no small thing either and something no one wants.

I am not naive enough to think that there are no drugs out there.

I just don't understand how anyone can justify the use of them.

Of course, I am also old enough to remember "back when”, but times have changed, industry and community expectations are justifiably high and everyone needs to change with them.

However, the biggest change that is needed is to our image with the public and broader community.

As an industry we still have an enormous amount of work to do on this and we need to get together and do something about it.

I preach to everyone, everywhere, every day, about what a great industry trucking is and that society cannot function without it, but they still need convincing of the fact.

I know that I probably see the industry through rose-coloured glasses as I have been working within road transport for over 40 years and have had the best life, met so many amazing people and been given wonderful opportunities; there are worse things in life than to love what you do.

I would just love for the rest of society to see what a safe, professional and essential industry it is, and to remember if they bought it, a truck brought it.

Big Rigs

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