THE MILGRAM EXPERIMENT
As the old saying goes "a man cannot serve two masters". Which master do you serve? The one that holds the highest authority, the FMCSA, or the one that signs your paycheck, the company you work for? More importantly, do you not serve either, and be the master of your life?
A quick summary about the Milgram Experiment
Stanley Milgram was a psychologist at Yale University. In 1961 he decided to conduct an experiment to determine the conflict of obedience to authority, and personal conscience. His motivation for this study was from the World War 2 Nuremberg War Criminal trials, where commonly their defense was that they were following orders from their superiors.
Milgram solicited 40 male participants, ages 20- 50, unskilled laborers and professionals to his study through a newspaper advertisement in New Haven, Connecticut. He had informed the participants that the study was based on learning, and memory. He promised to pay the participant $4.50 for participating, and that they will be paid in full just for showing up, whether they completed the study or not.
Once a participant was selected they were introduced to another person who the participant thought was another participant, but actually was working with the study as an employee. They would draw straws to determine who would be the teacher, and who would be the learner. The employee would always draw the short straw and assume the role as the learner, while the participant would be the teacher. A third person was introduced as the examiner, who wore a grey lab coat. The learner was seated in a room with a chair and had electrodes hooked up to his body, the teacher, who is the unsuspecting participant, was placed in the next room in front of a shock generator, and the examiner was placed in the room with the teacher to oversee the study.
The shock generator was outfitted with switches that started with 30 volts, and increased in 15 volt increments up to 450 volts. There were labels by the switches that read slight shock, moderate shock, danger, severe shock, and xxx. Although the device was labeled Shock Generator, the switches were labeled as voltage, and they had labels to the severity of shock it never delivered anything more than sound to the learner who in turn played pre recorded audio for the teacher to hear.
The examiner gave the teacher a list of questions to ask the learner, and the learner would purposely give wrong answers. The teacher would deliver the shock to every wrong answer increasing the voltage every time. the learner played grunting sounds at first, then they would escalate to screams, then pleas for the teacher to stop shocking him, then complaints of chest pain. If the teacher decided to not deliver shock then the examiner would give him the okay to do so. Sometimes the learner wouldn't make any response, leaving the teacher to think that he may be dead, and the examiner would state that no response was a wrong answer and instruct the teacher to shock the learner.
The result was that 65% of the participants administered the shocks to the full 450 volts, while all participants administered up to 300 volts.
There were 18 variations of this study performed by Stanley Milgram, and the conclusion of his studies was that ordinary people will obey authority, even to the extent of killing another human being, if they morally agree with the procedure, or if the authority is legally based, and that they will not be held responsible for their actions. This behavior is taught to us by the way we are brought up in the family environment, in school, or the workplace.
As a side note, there are some people that have disputed this study. Dr. Gina Perry claims that by listening to audio archives the participants were bullied, and coerced to continue the experiment. Isn't that the point, that people in authoritative positions will abuse, and coerce people into doing bad deeds?
As it pertains to the use of Electronic Logging Devices (ELD's), many drivers are in the process of obeying authority over making good sound judgements on their own accord. Being the the type of control device that it is designed to be a driver will be without choice. However, drivers are being placed in a situation where they are dependant on authority to hold responsibility for their actions. When in fact, that is not the case. Drivers are still going to be held responsible for the outcome of the results of using such a device that will put them and the general public in harm's way. Prior to the use of ELD's drivers disobeyed authority over sound judgement to be adequately safe in the process of doing their jobs. It was never about "outlaw trucking" as many have propagated. It was because there has been a serious lack of safe and legal parking for truck drivers. Municipalities maintain ordinances to prevent large trucks from parking within the limits of their their cities, towns, parishes, or boroughs. Many municipalities have prevented truckstops from being built while some have caused truckstops to close, such as the TA truckstop in Mesquite,Texas.
To force a person to use such a device is a violation of their Constitutional rights. The fourth amendment right, because it is a tracking device. It tracks and records everything that the person does in the course of a day. There is even an option for restroom break in the logging device, Cadec 200. The fifth amendment right because when a truck driver is in the course of doing the job, that person may be caught in a situation beyond their control that they have to drive over their hours to find a safe and legal place to park for their mandatory break. These logging devices can be used in a court of law and everyone has a right to not incriminate themselves. However, that device will do so, and no one believes the driver when they say that they could not find adequate parking.
Many drivers are contemplating to leave the trucking industry over these concerns. This will leave our country in a bad situation, because we are reliant on the American truck driver to deliver the products we need, which keeps our economy going. As the old saying goes "trucks are the backbone of the nation, when trucks stop then America stops". I certainly hope that Congress wakes up to this terrible situation, and puts an end to it before it gets out of control.
© Truckers United For Freedom 2017