Safe parking for truckers is not a new issue in the trucking industry.
This morning, I picked up The Trucker magazine at the Petro and read it through while I was having breakfast.
An article that jumped out at me is this business about Mike Boeglin….. he was the truck driver who was delivering at ThyssenKrupp in Detroit in the wee small hours of the morning. He was shot and then burned in his truck, when parked outside ThyssenKrupp’s facility because they wouldn’t let him on the property at 2 a.m. ThyssenKrupp is located in the middle of a ghetto.
Unsafe Trucker Parking? Old Stuff
What a unnecessary tragedy…. and this isn’t the first time this has happened. Not murders so often due to this, but varying degrees of trouble with shippers and receivers located in unsafe neighborhoods.
Drivers are getting mugged, beat up, their equipment damaged and at worst, murdered, like Mike Boglin….. and there’s absolutely no need for it.
Situations such as this are completely preventable. The government will spend untold hundreds of millions every year to keep their military people safe, but are truck drivers and citizens not a priority too?
It would be easy and cost effective to keep the truck drivers safe, but it’s just not on their radar. But it’s on OUR radar and so it should be.
Should Truckers Be Armed?
Now, many people have jumped on this bandwagon and said, “Oh, well, if Mike had had a gun, he would have been able to protect himself.”
I don’t know one way or the other, and every situation is different, and you and I will never know whether he could have saved himself with a gun.
But one thing is certain. The guys that killed him got their guns from somewhere, and probably not a retail store.
So, is arming the truck drivers the answer? I don’t know, but it’s a given that truck drivers lack safe places to stay and sleep.
Safe Parking For Truckers: Who’s Responsible?
Some of the places we pick up and deliver are in known unsafe areas. Shouldn’t Mike’s employer, the trucking company be held partially liable for making this poor bugger a 2 a.m. appointment at a delivery spot in a Detroit ghetto? Why are they doing business with a company with such a location?
ThyssenKrup is a huge corporation with net profits of million of dollars. You would think they could certainly put some of that money into building a secure parking lot for their incoming and outgoing trucks. But it’s not a priority for them either.
The trucking company in this situation should have said.….
“Well, if you want us to deliver to your facility, it’ll be in daylight hours only. We’ll run in there for a short time but you need to improve your facility because it’s hazardous and we want our people safe and secure, even when they’re outside the perimeter of your facility. We don’t care what you have to do. Complain to councilmen to get police presence stepped up in that neighborhood, but it’s not safe for our truck drivers in there. We look after our drivers.”
But no such words were spoken.
Is the Truck Driver Responsible?
How much of this was the driver’s fault? Well, honestly, probably some.
Would I personally have taken a delivery to that location at 2 in the morning? Not a hope. But you know, who knows what position Mike was in. Perhaps Mike just had to have the money, he needed the money, he was fairly new there, he’d had 8 years in or something like that so he was fairly low on the importance scale. That’s probably why he took the load or he felt the loads were good-paying loads. I read that somewhere so he decided to take the chance.
But taking this chance cost him his life. Was it worth that chance? Was it worth the chance to his wife and unborn child?
None of this would have never happened if ThyssenKrupp was in a safe place for the trucks. All of this was completely preventable, and this company certainly had the money to make it safe, and certainly the ability to make it safe.
They just never cared enough to make it safe. And that’s the problem here. They ought to be held liable in this situation. For expecting trucks to run in and out of there, through a ghetto in the middle of the night, just to get them their damn aluminum? It’s not right. It’s far from right.
Trucking companies shouldn’t allow their trucks to deliver there ever. However, they’ll continue to keep this company as a customer, because money is the all important thing in this world. It’s so important to the point they risk the lives of their drivers.
And it’s not just them. Every day it happens all over North America and life is expendable, just for the sake of dollars. And that’s crazy.
Will the FMCSA EVER Propose a Solution?
The FMCSA say they’ve been looking at this problem of safe parking. They’ve been looking at it now for about 14 years. Do you think maybe it might be time to come to a solution and do something about it? Or just sit around the political table and chew the fat for another ten years and accomplish absolutely nothing?
It’s incredibly ridiculous and the taxpayers are paying for this. Truck drivers need to be safe. We deserve to be kept safe. This is just completely unacceptable. We ought to be ashamed.
Jason Rivenburg, another name which in recent memory was murdered because he couldn’t find a safe place to park.
Truckers: Be Responsible For YOUR Safety
The lesson here, primarily, is for the drivers.
Don’t deliver or pick up loads at places where you don’t feel comfortable and safe. Just refuse the load or just find a safe place to park for the night. Then, deliver the next day in daylight hours. And if you’ve missed the appointment? Oh well, there will be another appointment. It’s certainly not worth getting killed over.
No company or driving job is worth getting killed for. No freight is worth getting killed for.
And yet we all take these chances. But some chances are avoidable. And this is one of those big deals when you can completely eliminate the risk and just refuse to go. It’s just not worth it. Don’t do it. Refuse the load, or hang back until it’s safe to go into the place, and you can get in and out guaranteed in daylight hours.
If you are not able to get in and out safely, then let the company find another way to get their freight delivered. It’s not worth your life…..not to you, and not to your family.
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