May 2, 2006

My tax dollars -- saved?

As I drove to work the other day, I found myself being passed by a massive orange Wayne County truck with a double-length flat bed trailer behind it, transporting some kind of little excavator. Wasn’t dangerous – traffic was only making about 30 mph, if that. Then I noticed something a little odd – a fluorescent orange plastic rod, about 4 ft. long, extending vertically from its right front bumper. As I passed the truck to get a better look, I could see that the stick was really attached to a huge bracket on the front, something you could probably attach a snow plow to.

It dawned on me that this was an error-proofing device. It let the driver know when the right side of the bracket – which he couldn’t see from the cab – cleared an obstacle. It helped keep the County from paying claims to owners of damaged buildings and vehicles, and helped keep insurance costs from rising faster than they needed to.

I wonder about the driver psychology, though. If a driver thought of it, the boss might have thought it was stupid, but just let the driver do what he wanted to. If the boss got it from some sort of boondoggle conference, the drivers might have thought it was stupid – and an insult to their pride as magnificent drivers. Whatever the source, I like it. It probably cost less than a buck, and a mistake by the driver could cost a whole lot in damages.

So thanks, Wayne County truck drivers!

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Copyright @ 2005-2014 by Karen Wilhelm