On the Road

Busted! How I Got Caught Littering -- Or So it Appeared

January 15, 2015

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Back in October we were in British Columbia filming an Ultimate Test Drive video of Mack's 505 C+ Maxicruise engine. At one point early in the day, the videographer had set up his tripod near a nice curve in the road and he was going to shoot the truck coming around the bend. It's one of those classic eye-candy shots every video guy loves.

But we got a little more than we bargained for.

As I rounded the bend, something white flew off the truck. We never noticed it at the time, and believe it or not, all through the editing process and the reviews of the video, none of us involved in the production, including me, noticed it. Had we, our production guy, Bradley Featherstone, would have simply painted it out and no one would have been the wiser.

We came away with a pair of videos on the Mack for our day on Vancouver Island and after all the editing and processing, no sooner had we posted the video to the YouTube channel when we got this comment from a viewer in Australia:

"I think it is very bad when you see an article like this and at 48 seconds into it we see you throwing trash on to the highway. Truckies have a bad enough perception with the public now. But it is worse when industry leaders show this behavior on the small screen as well!"

We were all a little shocked to read the comment, and even more astonished to see plain as day now that we were looking for it, something white tumbling off the truck. It was easy to see why he made such an observation. But none of us, particularly me, could remember tossing anything out the window. So we decided to cross-reference the clip with some other footage we had of the same moment but from different angles.

The video below is the result of that investigation. Rather than a simple comment denying the obvious, we decided to have a little fun with it.

And for the record, we had another caught-in-the-act moment about a year ago — ironically on another Mack test drive — where I'm seen driving without my seat belt on. We were on the proving grounds at Mack's Customer Care Center in Allentown, so legally seat belts aren't required. But I should have had it done up just the same. That one came to our attention via a YouTube comment as well. So now, we're extra careful when the camera is rolling.

Most of what I do while driving is years of good habit, so I don't have to worry most of the time. Every now and then, however, I slip, and sure enough, the camera is there to catch it.

Some of you will have seen the Ultimate Test Drive videos in the video archive here on Truckinginfo.com, or you may have seen them on the website of the Canadian magazine TodaysTrucking or even on YouTube at TodaysTrucking1. How did two magazines come to be involved in the same product? I'm a contributor to both publications, and HDT also has a larger partnership with its Canadian counterpart.

In the case of this Mack video, because it's clearly a Canadian truck (an 8-axle Super B-train with a GVW of 138,000 pounds) Truckinginfo opted not to participate since it's not quite suited for the U.S. market — although the powertrain featured in the video is available in the U.S. You can still watch it at TodaysTrucking.com or on YouTube.

And as for the "litter" that clearly left the truck during the filming of the video, we're still stumped. From the camera angles, it's pretty clear that whatever it was, it appears to have come off of the rear trailer. It could have been a shipping label that broke loose in the wind; it may have been a piece of paper or plastic picked up off the road at some earlier point in time which came loose just in time for the camera.

We certainly don't hold it against the fellow who made the comment. He clearly cares about the reputation of the industry, and he's right to call out this seemingly unbecoming behavior. If you watch the clip, you'll see I did not toss anything from the window.

And that, folks, is what you have to do these days to clear your good name. No wonder CSA gives everyone heartburn.

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Author Bio

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Jim Park

Equipment Editor

Truck journalist 13 years, commercial driver 20 years. Joined us in 2007. Specializes in technical/equipment material (including Tire Report), brings real-world perspective to test drives.

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