By: Peter Carr EROAD Director, Regulatory Market Development ANZ
What does it mean to be a good trucker?
So far 2020 has provided nothing but opportunities for us to consider the range of answers to this question. Many groups and individuals have done themselves and the country proud by modelling the kind of behaviour and selflessness that most people with associate with the idea of a ‘good Aussie’. Of course, a smaller number have let themselves and everyone else down, clearly showing what it means to fall short of the standard.
Is there a standard? There must be. And it seems clear that it doesn’t have to mean being ‘the’ hero – or, at least, certainly not in the flashy way that term has come to be used The standard seems to be one we can all live up to: be decent; spare a thought for others and their needs and be kind; and take a good shot at doing the right thing.
Australia’s truckers – drivers and operators – are well placed to meet this standard. As an extreme example, COVID-19 has put many on the frontlines of the struggle to keep essential supplies moving along the nation’s and states’ critical lifelines. But less obviously, the highly regulated nature of the road transport sector has also been providing, stealthily perhaps, an education in ethics because the law is a pragmatic way of promoting ethical – morally good – behaviour without asking people to worry too much about the finer points of philosophy. So, what we see in law is a form of ‘moral triangulation’, where the law sets out:
- the principles or rules that, if followed, are intended to most likely produce good actions
- the desirable consequences that proper action is intended to promote or achieve
- the virtues of a person who is ‘fit’, in our case, to drive a heavy vehicle.
The way it works is we apply the principles to shape how we do what we do. Then, we consider whether that takes us close enough towards achieving the right consequences or not and, if not, tweak what we do. Then, we consider whether what we are doing is, in fact, an honest attempt or undermined in some way by giving up to our weaknesses – inattentiveness due to being busy with other things, for example. Then we make any final adjustments needed to correct for the impact of these weaknesses.
So, you could conclude that the trucking community are good Aussies by definition and design, as well as the contribution made to the nation’s wellbeing.
About the author
Peter Carr is the Director Regulatory Market Development with EROAD Ltd, responsible for working with government policy agencies and regulators across Australia and New Zealand on road safety, funding and taxation matters. Prior to joining EROAD, Peter was responsible for advising the New Zealand government on: the operation and performance of the land transport revenue, funding and investment systems; the rates of Road User Charges and Fuel Excise Duty; the use of tolling, debt and public-private partnerships; and the regulatory settings for heavy vehicle dimensions, mass, and access.