Having been exploring Facebook lately, the reputation of the lorry driving haulage industry is clearly in need of a tune up. The number of groups created to slander the profession and express personal dislikes is enormous, and despite a recent survey claiming over half the participants see lorry drivers as unsung heroes of their community, the less then neutral source (Clearstone – a haulage recruitment company) makes me slightly skeptical that attitudes are changing.
Nope, I’ve seen first hand the kind of prejudices and stereotypes associated with truck drivers, and as with most scenarios of this type it’s a few bad examples tainting the good names of the others. Of course, some people are worse than others, and while road users can be rightfully annoyed at a lorry driver cutting them off, they should be glad that the majority of truck drivers don’t have the same ethics as the following lorry driving scoundrels:
3. Robert Raison – Love Rat
In 2004, the Daily Express reported of a man who had played out the same life pattern 3 times in a row. He would meet a woman; have a child with them and then move on to another. His job as a long distance lorry driver meant that he could get away with his audacious double life thanks to his unusual working hours, when in reality he was making his own unique version of domestic bliss with three different partners.
2. Steven Lee Olsen – Art Thief
Moving from unscrupulous ethics into the world of crime, Steven Lee Olsen pleaded guilty to the charge of conspiring to steal an object of cultural heritage just before Christmas last year. The 54 year old lorry driver, with the help of Roman Szurko – a restaurant worker – broke into a truck carrying Francisco de Goya’s "Children with a Cart" from Ohio to the Guggenheim. The painting was insured for $1,000,000 and the men later tried to return the painting, claiming the $50,000 reward on offer. The pair face a maximum jail time of five years a-piece, and are due for sentencing on March 24th 2008.
1. Peter Sutcliffe – Serial Killer
Of course theft and conspiracy cannot compete in the evil stakes with mass murder, and that’s what this truck driver was found guilty of. Peter Sutcliffe, or the Yorkshire Ripper, murdered a total of 13 women and attacked a further 7 between 1975 and 1981, before finally being caught due to leaving a traceable £5 note on the body of the last of his victims. Sutcliffe was a grave digger when he claimed he heard the voice of God ordering him to murder prostitutes, though around the time of his first murder he had got the job as a lorry driver for T & WH Clark. In his lorry, police found an epitaph written by him said to prove his schizophrenic mindset, which read: "In this truck is a man whose latent genius if unleashed would rock the nation, whose dynamic energy would overpower those around him. Better let him sleep?"
So next time you curse a truck driver for cutting you up on a journey be sure to remember that, as evils go, there are far worse!