Sunday, 6 April 2008

Idiot drivers

There's a story in the SMH today about how many cars are being smashed up by public servants in NSW. $80 million worth of damage was done to pube vehicles last year.

If $80 million worth was smashed up, one has to ask just how many vehicles the state is running and what their total value is. I imagine that it is frighteningly large.

But enough of that. I spent a bit of time working for a state agency, and was responsible for a couple of pool vehicles. That meant I had to sign the claim forms after one of my goons had a prang, which at one point, seemed to be every single week.

Here's my take on it.

The worst prang our "fleet" experienced was a write-off. The bloke driving it had stopped on a motorway due to a prang up ahead, and some dickhead came flying up behind him and rear-ended him badly enough to smash the car to bits. He was ok, which is all I cared about. Not much that you could have done about that.

At the other end of the spectrum, our office had an incredibly stupid person in it, and we generally did our best to avoid getting that person to do anything that involved responsibility or heavy machinery, since they'd make a complete fuck-up of it.

In the case of our cars, this one idiot did more damage to our vehicles - whilst they were in the car park - than all my other staff put together. And of course idiot disdained any responsibility for the damage, refusing to fill out accident forms and the like, even when they had clearly been the cause. Idiot managed to tear off side mirrors on poles whilst reversing in the car park, smashed up the front grill by ramming something else in the car park, and damaged numerous panels by taking corners too tightly and riding the car sideways into concrete poles.

It was pretty obvious that when you have yellow "warning" poles in the car park, and you suddenly have a big dent with yellow smeared paint on one door just after they have driven the car, that they've managed to ding the car - but they'd adamntly refuse to believe that they did the damage.

I followed idiot down to the car park one day and watched them tear off the passenger mirror on a pole. When I confronted idiot with the damage, they were completely oblivious to what they'd done, and of course denied all responsibility. Absolutely amazing.

We did our best to keep the car keys well away from this person, until my boss, in a fit of complete stupidity, put them in charge of the car pool! Talk about the lunatics taking over the asylum.

Once idiot had the keys to the pool, they started to treat the cars as their personal property. Taking them home on weekends to run errands, even though they never had to drive the car for company business. Taking the car out during the day to run personal errands, even when someone might have needed the car for a work trip. And it's not like they lived close to work - they had a commute of at least 80km, so taking the car home every weekend consumed a reasonable amount of petrol. Being the public sector, there didn't seem to be much that could be done to pull them into line. Sack them? Ha ha ha.

Apart from idiot, most of my people treated the car pool with a lot of respect - mainly because I'd lightly bollock them if they didn't keep the cars clean and tidy and drive them in a reasonable manner. I simply told my staff that if they got a speeding ticket in a work vehicle, they'd be in the shit - so no thrashing the cars around the countryside like loons. People got a vehicle when they were on-call, and being on-call added a tidy amount to the pay packet. I simply said that anyone getting a ticket would not be doing on-call for at least 3 months, which would be quite costly to the offender. Funny how the cars weren't thrashed after that.

Once people were given an excuse to behave properly, they actually behaved quite well. If they were driving with someone, and they told them to stop driving like a granny and put their foot down, they'd tell them to fuck off, because there'd be consequences.

So everyone was good to the cars, except an idiot manager that I had no control over. He was the type of 50 year old boy racer fuckwad that drove a WRX, and drove it at high speed everywhere in order to show off.

The guy was a complete wanker in every form of the word.

He thought that it was his right to drive the pool cars in a fast and reckless manner, and I only ever let him drive me once. After one high speed jaunt down Parrammatta Road, which scared the shit out of everyone on board because of the insane stupidity of the driving practices on show, we all refused to travel with him again. The boss found out about it and he was banned from the pool cars, and had to put up with my granny driving after that. Thank Christ for that.

The thing is, it was pretty obvious around the office that two people should never have been allowed behind the wheel of a car, and we did our best to make it so.

It's a pity we couldn't stop them from driving altogether. It's dickheads like them that can make driving such a misery.

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