Every cloud has a silver lining, or so the say, and while we have suffered through the depth of this Covid-19 crisis, the people of Australia have grown to understand the essential nature of the trucking industry, but just when you think it’s going well!
The most distressing thing about the story which emerged earlier this week was the tragic deaths of four Victorian police, who were simply doing their duty and doing it well. We cannot lose sight of this fact, in all of the media hype around such a tragic accident.
All of the early media coverage was about the accident itself and the terrible loss of life. Then the details of the Porsche driver who was the initial instigator of a series of events which ended in tragedy.
His actions as part of what seems to be a series of misdemeanours took the centre stage after the initial shock of the police deaths. He was under the media spotlight and the truck seemed to become part of the background to the incident.
Then came the just when you think it’s going well moment. The whole picture changed when mentions of drug paraphernalia in the truck cabin appeared in the general media and the suggestions of wrongdoing, rather than health issues, on the part of the truck driver, came into view.
In that instant all of the good work done by the thousands of truck drivers, keeping the Australian economy going in this period of fear and uncertainty, instantly disappeared from the public consciousness. The image of the truck driver returned to something which has become the default position for many people in our community.
This demonstrates clearly just how tenuous is our hold on any goodwill in modern society. We do not have the luxury of being able to tolerate any bad apples in the truck driving community. We should be angry with anyone who makes the situation worse by reinforcing those terrible stereotypes which make it so hard to improve the perception of trucking and truckies in the public’s minds.
We were in a hole, but by dint of doing the right thing at the right time, we began to climb out of that hole and get a glimpse of the light of day. Now, one road accident later, we are back down that hole, at the bottom with the prospect of a long climb, just to get back to where we started.
The trucking industry will get over this and there are enough good people around to make this work and improve the standing of our great industry, after taking a hit just when you think it’s going well. Let this be a lesson to all of us to make us more vigilant and more willing to call out any wrongdoing at the first opportunity, every time.