10 Commandments for the Road

(See here) a list of the "Ten Commandments" for the road that appears on the MSNBC website as reported upon by the Associated Press.

These "Ten Commandments" for the road come from the Vatican. As hard as it might be to quibble with the Vatican, well... you know me... I am going to quibble - grin.

The Vatican document evidently included many recommendations towards the faithful in how to deal with travel on the road. This document culminated in the "Ten Commandments" for drivers, so I guess everything else discussed in the document was only a "recommendation" (such as saying the rosary while traveling).

However let an experienced truck driver, or at least an American truck driver, examine the "Ten Commandments".

First off, I take issue with "commandment" number four. Here it is:
Be charitable and help your neighbor in need, especially victims of accidents.

Sorry. At least at one point in time, during my truck driver career, I attempted to be charitable to my "neighbor in need" when I felt my action might be able to assist this neighbor. However I now have to deal with governmental regulation that might mean that if I dare to stop to assist the "neighbor in need" I might no longer be able to meet my delivery appointment. Failure to meet my delivery appointment means I might have to wait for hours, or even days, to make delivery. Failure to make delivery could cost me several hundreds of dollars, potentially reaching beyond a thousand dollars. Should I stop to save the stranded motorist the couple hundreds of dollars it would cost them for road side assistance from an experienced mechanic when the result might be that it will cost me more then the cost of the assistance of the experienced mechanic to the stranded motorist? There is a reason modern truck drivers are reluctant to still be the "roadside angels" they once had the reputation for being. In the "old days" charity didn't cost anything but time. Now-a-days time for the truck driver equals money. Why should the truck driver stop to give assistance to your family when it is going to cost money for his own family?

I will note one exception which is noted in the commandment. It mentions "especially victims of accidents". I doubt few truck drivers are so pressed for time (and income then be damned) that they can not stop to rend assistance to the victims of accidents where injuries might be included and adequate assistance is not already on the scene. We truck drivers might, thru necessity, now have hard hearts, but our hearts are not yet cold.

Here is the only other "commandment" which I have a problem with. Perhaps I do not fully understand what is meant by it. Number seven:
Support the families of accident victims.

Let's examine this one. Does this commandment mean to emotionally support the families of these accident victims on the scene? No argument from me there. But this commandment seems to hint at something else. Perhaps I am supposed to support the families of these accident victims financially. I do have a problem with this. If the family was "wealthy" and is used to a fortunate lifestyle from the breadwinner, however the breadwinner is killed and does not have any life insurance, is it my responsibility to "support" that family? How much support? To the point of continuing the lifestyle they are used to or only keeping them from starvation?

Why single out the victims of auto accidents? Is the family that loses their breadwinner due to cancer or other illness less worthy of "support"?

If I lose my life in a truck accident, will "good Christians" ride to the aid of my family after I die in the truck accident? This worry is not without merit. Truck driving consistently rates in the top ten of most dangerous occupations in America. I noted with interest that in a recent analysis, the occupations of police officer and even fire fighter did not crack the top ten.

All in all, I will grant that the "Ten Commandments" for the road might be a decent place to begin as you start up your automobile in the morning. Where I find fault with these commandments, well... I have to remember that they were written by Christians. Maybe they are just trying to motivate fellow Christians to follow Jesus or something. No harm in motivating people to follow Jesus.

I do love Jesus. I just wish that in my so called "Christian nation" more Christians were willing to follow Jesus. My experience in my "Christian nation" is quite the opposite. My experience in my "Christian nation" is that it is "every man for himself".


Blogger Boris Epstein said...

Hey David,

Why is truck driving so dangerous these days? Gangbangers in the inner cities? Road accidents? I didn't know this - just wondering...

On that note - stay alert and safe!


8/20/2007 01:19:00 PM  
Blogger Little David said...

The pieces that I have read did not break down what the dangers are. However I can venture an opinion.

Truckdrivers routinely cover more then 100,000 miles per year on the highways. Even if they themselves do everything perfect, with every mile covered there is the risk that the "other guy" might do something that results in an accident. Drivers can reduce risks through safe driving however they can not by themselves eliminate the risks.

While most of the risks are on the highways, the risks there are not the end of it. Loading docks are also risky places. I heard of one driver who had backed into a dock and had gotten out of his truck to walk to the shipping office. On his way, another truck backing into a dock ran over him and killed him. I would state that the driver should have been more attentive. However just one brief moment of inattention and leaving his guard down resulted in his death.

9/03/2007 09:34:00 AM  

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