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By: Steve Vaughn, senior vice president of field operations, PrePass Safety Alliance

“The world is run by those who show up.”

Ben Franklin often gets credit for that familiar quote, but more recently, many associate it with engineering expert Robert B. Johnson from his 1999 article in the Journal of Management in Engineering. As with many quotations, multiple sources may be given credit because… the statement is true.

Just think of the year 2024. This is an election year. Turn on any TV news show, and the pundits will read the latest polling results… this candidate is up; this one is down; this issue is trending… but always with the caveat that voters determine elections, not opinions captured in polls. The world is run by those who show up.

Look at the latest Uniform Regulatory Agenda from the federal government. There, among the rulemakings from the U.S. Department of Transportation, you will see issues like speed limiters, automatic emergency braking, broker financial responsibility, and many more. Turn to any trucking publication, and you will read strong opinions about what the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration should or not do in these rulemakings. But publication opinions themselves do not determine rulemakings. Substantive comments filed by carriers and drivers in the rulemaking dockets are what matters. The world is run by those who show up.

Talk to any trucking executive, to any truck driver, and invariably, the conversation will turn to what regulations and what requirements are coming next from the feds. It is easy to say that regulations will continue until highway safety improves. It is just as easy to point fingers at motorists or other truckers as the source of safety issues… and those expanding regulations. But the fleet managers who make a difference are those who ask what steps, beyond mere compliance, will improve safety. And the professional truck drivers who care about the safety of the “other guy” make the roads better for us all. The world is run by those… well, you know the rest…

… or maybe you don’t. Because life does not hand out participation trophies. Showing up is just the first step. There’s work to be done, as well. It’s not just heading to the polls on election day. It’s researching the candidates, examining their policies, and thinking about the issues at stake. It’s not just filing a yea or nay comment to an FMCSA docket. It’s adding operational data and real-world examples that buttress your rulemaking stance. It’s not just reminding everyone to “be safe.” It’s asking everyone, “how can we be safer?”

The world is run by those who show up and do the work. In 2024, show up… really show up.

Steve Vaughn is senior vice president of field operations at PrePass Safety Alliance, the provider of PrePass weigh station bypass and electronic toll-payment and management services. Vaughn served nearly three decades with the California Highway Patrol and is a past president of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.