Friday, July 11, 2008

The nanny government and Big Brother mind control

Why does everything these days have to be about punishment? Why do we always see stick, but never any carrot?

Speed limiters are a particularly rotten example of this trend.

I know that for the most part, the speed limiter debate has centered on safety. But the fuel-saving and environmental arguments – that using limiters will decrease consumption and emissions – are part of the push for requiring these devices as well.

So once again, instead of encouraging people to do the right thing, we simply force them, control them, coerce them … with the rules all emanating from the ivory tower of the nanny government.

But at least one truck owner is doing things different. He called in recently, identifying himself only as “Mark.” (With a name like that, I already like the guy.)

He said he was offering a little carrot – for every ½ mile per gallon increase in fuel economy, he gives his truckers an extra 2 cents per mile that month.

I like this for a number of reasons.

First, I think it’s always better to encourage people to do the right thing rather than forcing them into a behavior.

Second, just moving slower isn’t likely to do the job. The truckers who really know how to do this are aware of that, and they’ve called us in droves to say so.

I remember a conversation I had with Frank Kennedy, a Life Member of OOIDA. He said a lot of his fuel mileage was derived from feathering up when he started, and feathering down when he came to a stop.

If you jackrabbit start and jam on the brakes to stop, and you do it frequently, I’m not sure it matters what you do in between … and that’s just one instance.

Another example: If you idle when you don’t really need to, you can use 10 gallons every night.

A system that encourages truckers to learn how they can increase mileage, and offers a reward if they do so, is far more likely to yield the results we want. I’d rather see that than all of these Big Brother mind-control-inspired attempts to control, coerce and punish truckers – a system that’s become all too frequent these days.