By Bob Gerstle
Most people who visit New York never get behind the wheel of a car. Many who live in the City don’t even own one. Try driving a large line truck or bucket truck around the Big Apple.
Over-300 PG&E employees, mostly IBEW members, have been out here over a week now. There are 180 based at Citi Field in Queens, and 120 in Long Island. Both present challenges not found at home. Expressways are for large trucks, parkways have bridges and overpasses the large trucks can’t fit under. GPS does not always distinguish, nor do the New York drivers have a lot of patience for late lane changes. That being said, the fact that the employees behind the wheel have not had any incidents in which they are at fault is amazing. Or as incident commander at Citi Field Pony Krueger, a man of few words, says “Amazing.”
Morning tail boards stress safe driving with the complete work group. After that initial meeting, further tail boarding takes place with smaller work groups. In the congested staging area, there not only is an observer watching the driver back the vehicle, but frequently an observer watching the observer. Whenever possible two people are in each rig, one to navigate via GPS to assist the driver. Richard Turk, MEO Davis, made another point. “Not only are New Yorkers aggressive drivers, but even the boldness of the pedestrians is a potential hazard.”
In the interest of full disclosure, Kruger told me he has become more superstitious over the years, but after a short pause, gave the go-ahead to print this story.
Bob Gerstle is an IBEW Local 1245 business representative