Scotty Douglas on the road to disruption

By: Scotty Douglas

Driving a truck long distance with a dose of man flu is not the worst thing you could experience, but it’s close to the most vile, especially when your plight is filmed on inside-facing cameras

Scotty Douglas on the road to disruption
Dirty windscreens can be a by-product of man flu


So there’s a new buzzword getting around, apparently ‘disruption’ is thing now.

And here was me thinking disruptive technology was accidentally Facetiming someone while on the dunny.

Disruption? I’ll give you f***ing disruption.

So I’m just getting over the mother of all colds. Call it man flu if you like but my head turned into the worst sort of mucous factory. The evil goop secreting from my noggin could’ve been used to glue heat shielding to a space shuttle.

We all know what it’s like to drive with a head full of cement. It sucks. ‘Abart fom dawking dike this all da dime’, it makes you feel as if your head is stuck in a bucket of sump oil.

So with all that slime coursing through my sinuses I recently found myself heading out of town on a city freeway. I was driving along, minding my own business when I reached for my coffee cup and took a swig. Trouble was that my mouthful of coffee collided with an emerging cough/sneeze.

I frantically tried to hold in the mouthful of coffee in as my chest spasmed, tears formed in my eyes as I tried to keep the big banger between the lines. Vision flickered as the pressure built.

Finally coffee, cough and a bucket load of snot took the path of least resistance. The resulting vile, browny green eruption exploded from my schnoz in a technicolour sneeze/cough/burp and all over the inside of the windscreen of the T4.

I don’t know if any of you have ever had a coffee enema. I’m told that they’re all the rage among the well-heeled in LA and quite the heart starter. I can’t comment myself, but I can now say with complete authority that hydraulically forcing an espresso with two sugars though your nasal cavities hurts like f***.

But more immediately was the fact that I couldn’t really see where I was going as the inside of the screen now looked like a sepia tinted map of South America. Through the tears I managed find a cleaning rag and endeavour to remove the claggy goop from the screen, and steer.

Which was like trying to lever mozzarella out of shag pile with a hairbrush.

And logically, this got me thinking about driver facing cameras.

Not long ago I was doing a trip in a truck with a driver facing camera, as well as a dash cam.

I tried to pretend it wasn’t there, I tried to ignore it. During the day I even managed to forget it for a bit. But then darkness fell and the little light on the camera just sat there glowing, reminding me that I was potentially under surveillance.

I know all the arguments put forward by companies saying that they protect drivers in case of an accident to show that they’re not at fault. I know that there’s not a person sitting there watching you all the time. But what I couldn’t get my head around was how fatiguing it was to have a lens on you the whole time.

Today’s big fleet banger has cameras facing inside, cameras facing outside, speed alert buzzers etc. Outside we have more point-to-point cameras and safety cameras. Constant surveillance.

I don’t have anything to hide particularly. If someone in an office somewhere really wants to get off on watching me singing along to Madonna naked as I roll though the Pilliga on a summer’s night well, I’m glad to be of service.

File that under things not trending on pornhub right now.

But I honestly found the feeling of being constantly watched made me more tired at the end of the trip. And when the camera light started flashing I found myself having performance anxiety. Should I wave and smile at the camera? Should I put on my best alert, serious driver face and stare out the windscreen. Or should I attempt to look pensive and thoughtful with my hand under my chin? The thinking woman’s truck driver?

Instead I probably just looked like a f***ing bunny in the headlights.

I get that there’s going to be more and more technology coming into trucking. I get that tracking can make things more efficient. I get that monitoring a truck’s efficiency could maybe help a business’s bottom line.

But the fact is that by the time I got back to the depot I was rooted.

Disruptive technology will however, just keep challenging the status quo. Jobs that are around now won’t exist in 10-20 years’ time. Jobs that don’t exist now will.

Electric trucks, platooning, all-singing all-dancing autonomous trucks that run on recycled poo. There’s not a thing we could do about it even if we wanted to.

At least one thing is true. There’s not going to be much resistance to self-driving trucks because with the rapidly increasing level of surveillance and stress on the job nobody is going to want to drive a truck anyway.

On a positive note though, a coffee sinus flush, painful and messy as it may be, turned out to be quite a man flu remedy! A cranial-coffee douche is just the ticket for squeaky clean pipes.

Maybe I should market it … there could be a future in it.

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