By Stefan Pertz
For the commercial vehicle drivers, the driver’s seat is the workplace. It is where they spend most of the day, moving goods or people. Seated in the front, this is where they perform their duty, day in and day out. Just like someone working in an office would sit in a cubicle. However, it appears that the drivers of commercial vehicles in South East Asia don’t seem to take to decorating their work-space as much as their peers in office buildings do.
Just look at the space our writers Fajar and Floyd occupy in the office. Both spaces are decorated with the trophies one collects in our industry: Photos of events, postcards, media passes, truck and bus models, motivational signs and mugs with motifs. Certainly, the office is the space where we spend a lot of time and we want it to be as comfortable as possible. Some of us may even remember overflowing ashtrays when smoking in the office wasn’t banned.
But why is it that our commercial vehicle drivers don’t dress up their offices like that? Many times, all one sees is the dashboard littered with papers, empty bottles, cigarette packs and other discarded items. I doubt that this is an environment that drivers would create for themselves at home. We have to remember that for many, the truck is actually home when they are on the road for several days, whereby the sleeper cab is the living and bedroom. As I take along my French press to any hotel to make my own coffee, I wonder why truckers don’t dress up their vehicles a bit more.
Are companies really that restrictive when it comes to adding a few personal touches? I would doubt it as they should then apply the same for office workers. And I have seen some amazing soft toy collections in offices.
Perhaps it is money that is missing? I am sure that it doesn’t take that much to make a truck looking good. And if you are a proud business owner, why not make a statement with a colour scheme that stands out and lets your customers know that your truck has arrived. Life is too bland to drive white trucks, right?
What I sometimes see are stickers on the windscreen. Which I think is dangerous, given that a truck already has enough blind spots. But there could be nice chrome plated horns, a gorgeous paint job or some nice items inside the cabin. If we look at Europe, there are many completely tricked out trucks and these are not just put together for shows, but for actual transportation jobs. Shouldn’t drivers be proud and in a competition with their buddies over which truck looks best? At least one could make sure the truck is clean and doesn’t look like a landfill site.
In countries such as Nepal, the beautification of trucks even goes so far that the added items increase the weight and moves the centre of gravity so much that some vehicles become unstable. Now, that isn’t what I would like to see driving in front of me either, but I think we can all do with a bit more colour in our fleet. Maybe our next activity at Asian Trucker should be a competition to find the most beautifully painted and customised truck?
(Stefan Pertz is the Editor of Asian Trucker Malaysia & Asian Buses; views expressed are personal)