There are so many things about driving a truck that can be stressful – deadlines, troubles at home, breakdowns, and so on. But one thing that commonly stresses many drivers out is rolling across an open scale and wondering if the man or woman on the other side of the window might see something wrong with the truck or want to take a closer look at some paperwork. I admit, even when I feel confident that everything is fine on the truck and my paperwork is neat and up to date, I still get a nervous feeling that a Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Officer could find something I may have overlooked. The misconception is that it is “us against them” – but that’s not really true. The men and women in the scale house are trained to keep a level playing field for all drivers. It is their job to find the outfits that run out of compliance and hold them accountable so they don’t cost the rest of the industry to suffer for their non-compliance. Many of them have previously had long careers behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer, as well. I spoke with a woman who works in the Oregon Port of Entry who is very safety conscious and also appreciates a nice, well-kept, fancy truck as much as anyone else. She is very much in favor of educating drivers about what it means to be compliant and, in her opinion, if she doesn’t find a driver or their truck to be out of compliance, that’s a good thing (as opposed to the common belief that these officers are just trying to find something to write a ticket for). My point is, it is not “us against them” – we should all be in favor of weeding out the unsafe guys that cause the rest of us to suffer. This month, I tried my best to put myself in the shoes of a CMV enforcement officer, and write a poem from what I believe may be how one might think from the other side of the “Chicken Coop” window!
THE CHICKEN COOP
By Trevor Hardwick
I’m the one behind the window,
Giving you the green light, or the red.
You better not be rolling by me,
When your logbook says that you’re in bed.
I could hear your engine brake,
A mile before you rolled across my pad.
I could hear your brakes were squealin’
Boy, you must’ve cooked ‘em pretty bad!
I can see your colored lights,
Tucked up underneath your fender well.
And if you haven’t done your pre-trip,
You can bet your tail, that I can tell.
I can see your puppy dog,
He’s happy just to be there by your side.
And I appreciate the drivers,
Taking time to show a little pride.
I have respect for those of you,
Who make your living out there on the road.
The elements you must endure,
To bring another customer their load.
I like to see the fancy trucks,
I like to hear you drivers tell your tales.
I choose to think professionals,
Control the wheels that roll across my scales.
Consider that I’m on your side,
I know the thankless job that it can be.
I know, because of you, I have,
Things I may provide my family.
You work out on the open road,
Running by yourself, or in a group.
My work is in this little shack,
That you prefer to call a “chicken coop”.
Driver, keep it safe out there,
Trucks were made to roll, but not to fly.
And I’m sittin’ in this scale house,
Watching as the wheels go rolling by.