Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Patience. Not so much a virtue.

25 Comments

Hart Senate Office Building

Hart Senate Office Building

We’re finished, finally, with our meetings on The Hill.  We’ve talked to legislative staff members, subcommittee members, transportation aides, heads of agencies, chief of staffs, a Senator, cab drivers and a Cabinet Member.   Everywhere we go we express our frustration with the lack of speed we see coming out of the DOT (Department of Transportation), an agency tasked with the admittedly huge responsibility to implement many of the safety advances spelled out in the Reauthorization Bill passed last August.

Russell Senate Office Building.

Russell Senate Office Building.

Sitting at the huge conference table in the Transportation Secretary’s suite we heard over and over that mandating strong rear crash guards and speed governors, finishing the rule that mandates Electronic On Board Recorders, moving ahead to increase minimum insurance levels required by truck companies, putting together an objective study on size and weight, well, these things all take time.  And study.  Lots and lots of study.  Because they want their T’s crossed and their I’s dotted.  Repeatedly we were told we didn’t understand that it’s hard to get things finished in Washington.  That there are lots of levels that had to be moved through before the common sense issues could be resolved.  That we were impatient and naive.

Yea.  We get that.

But let me tell you, if I preformed at my job the way it seems these projects are being handled I’d be unemployed.  In the world of business, industry, retail, just about any workplace you can imagine, results are what matter.  How many times, when asked by your boss to meet a deadline have you been able to respond with a study?  Particularly a study to study the previous studies that have been done on your problem?  How often are you allowed to miss a deadline, consistently come in late with a project, and make the excuse that it’s hard?  We all have hard jobs.  We all face difficult decisions.  But eventually we all have to be adults and make a choice…go one way or another…do the best we can with the information we have.

Cannon House Office Building.

Cannon House Office Building.

Nothing in this world is perfect and you can spend a lifetime trying to be sure you don’t make a mistake, trying to find the perfect solution, a solution that will make all people happy.  Handling problems is hard.  That’s why they’re called problems.  But some problems have easier solutions than others.  Some problems are no-brainers.

Strengthening rear crash guards is a no-brainer.  The ones mandated on trucks now fail at an unacceptable rate.  Canada and Europe have a better guard, and have for years.  It shouldn’t be that difficult to transfer information from them to our own trucks.  Raising the amount of insurance carriers are required to have is a no-brainer.  $750,000 per crash isn’t enough to handle the medical bills for the first week a victim is in the hospital, not to mention a lifetime of rehab and care.  Recognizing that heavier trucks will cause more destruction, more death, more injury is a no-brainer.  But let’s be sure.  Let’s put together a 2 year study.  That’s the ticket.

Permanent memorial to truck crash victims.

Permanent memorial to truck crash victims.

We met with the DOT Monday afternoon.  While we were there people died in truck crashes across the country.  Monday afternoon in Charlotte NC    the driver of a disabled SUV and a good Samaritan were hit by a semi.  The good Samaritan was able to stop his car, get out and try to help the driver a the SUV, but the semi couldn’t stop?  Why is that?  Also Monday an Arizona public safety officer was killed, sitting in his car on the shoulder of the road while investigating another crash.   So at least 3 people died while we were sitting in meetings discussing moving along on projects that will save lives.  Not perfect solutions, but solutions that will save lives nevertheless.

Patience.  We were told to have patience.  The federal government moves slowly they said.  These things take time they said.   We need to study the ramifications they said.  We’ll get back to you on that they said.  Well.  Tell all that to the three families devastated  Monday.  Ask them for a little patience.  Then imagine it was your family.  How patient would you be?

Exactly.

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Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

25 thoughts on “Patience. Not so much a virtue.

  1. How frustrating Dawn. Government sure does things backwards most of the time. I think they all need a civics lesson. Representatives are supposed to be representing the people, not big industry. Every eleventh grader is taught that, but obviously many don’t retain that knowledge through adulthood.

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  2. Maybe it is time to hit the media with this…not the local stuff who will bury it in some ten pm news….but the big guys…CNN, NBC, abc and fox.

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  3. I hate the way the government works. Many issues are no-brainers that don’t require studying the study that needs studying. You must feel like you are beating your head against a wall.

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  4. I feel your frustration, Dawn. Do you think this slow, slow system will ever improve? Like you I simply cannot fathom how this kind of response is acceptable…as well as expected and even revered. How did it get like this?

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  5. Thank you for expressing this so clearly, Dawn. Some would say we must “accept” whatever is, but I am on your side. Accepting what’s wrong is being complicit with it. In these cases, it’s clearly not a matter of not enough information but of lots of money on the other (not your) side, but perseverance can win these battles in the end. The tortoise beat the hare, and water can wear away stone. Bless you!

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    • Will never accept the things that are currently being done in the industry. Every day is a new fight. We win some…so it’s worth fighting.

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  6. I empathize with your frustration, Dawn. Politicians seem to make a living sitting on the fence, while the rest of us try to get things done. It’s a good thing business doesn’t run by inactivity!!

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  7. OUCH. I have always thought that process could be shortened and results would come quicker if those people sitting in meetings and pontificating had to deal with the consequences of their delays. Perhaps someone from DOT should knock on the door of the families and impart the devastating news that their loved one was just killed…..Makes me angry just reading your post. You see the bigger picture just fine…..DOT’S unwillness to walk the talk and take action. Their excuses are bullshit.

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    • Agree. When they said they had to study the minimum insurance I asked the if 30 years wasn’t already enough time to study the situation. They looked somewhat embarrassed. Turns out they know they will be sued by the independent truckers and supposedly they want to make sure they have sufficient data to defend any increase they eventually mandate. Sigh.

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  8. Well it probably depends how much resistance you meet up with. The state of South Carolina decided that it was against the medical practice act for a doctor to write a standing order for our schools to carry and epi-pen . Epi-pens are used for severe allergic reactions , where you can die because you can’t breath. 3 times I’ve used my school epi-pen to save a child who had no epi-pen at school. We went to a education day and an allergist came and talked to us. When we told him they were getting rid of our epi-pens he couldn’t believe it. He said he was going to see what he could do. In one week a bill was already being read in congress to allow schools to have epi-pens and administer them for severe allergic reactions. I was blown away. That was a couple of months ago . Its almost passed. It’s passed one house and just has to pass the other. Amazing how things get done when there is no opposition .

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  9. Amen sister!

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  10. Do all government behave this way? My country is no better or I should say, it’s worse.

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  11. Does something happen to good common sense and the will to accomplish something when one gets into public office? Perhaps instead of talking about getting rid of the grading system for our students we should think about instituting a grading system for our politicians. Perhaps they should start getting paid on a merit system – if you complete this, you will receive this amount. If you don’t complete something, you will get nothing. Perhaps they should not be allowed to ever converse with people like lobbyists, and be allowed only to hear from their constituents. You know, people like you and like me.

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  12. I hope that the changes that need to happen, happen as quickly as they can. I’m glad that everyone has people like you campaigning for them, even if they don’t know that they need you to.

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  13. Pingback: Never quit | Change Is Hard

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