Last night I was driving from 5PM to 9:30 PM from St. Louis airport to Branson for a week with my older brother in that tourist town. I passed rigs pulling into quiet and dark rest areas to park for the night, rigs parked in big truck stops with lots of lights, noise and action. And, there was the truck parked on the side of the road. I often see trucks parked on entrance ramps. It got me to thinking. We often read about he issues with drivers that exceed their hours of service limits. But, how often do we lose some of those precious hours because we need to stop where it is safe or where there is something simple like a rest room?
When I work with wood to make something, I do everything I can to minimize the wasted wood, knowing that maple, oak or birch is expensive and limited in supply. Even when working with foam board for signs, I’ll figure out how to maximize the number I can get from the fixed larger size of board. Earlier in my career I worried about how to get the maximum number of printed circuit boards out of the larger size that the blanks came in.
It still happens today in factories across the world. Out of bar stock we might be cutting into shorter lengths, we minimize the amount of waste. When punching sheet metal, we work to use as much of the blank as possible. If there is any waste, we have ways of recycling or reclaiming the unused metal. When we contract for new carpeting in a home, the installer does everything he can to use as much of the roll of carpeting as possible. Some of us then go to the carpet store and buy those remnants for small projects.
Does anyone know how many hours of service are lost to the winds of time because the driver can’t use them effectively? How many and how big are the carpet remnants we leave out on the road?