15th August 2018. Listening to the same story in a different place.

TIV-Logo jpegTRUCK That Australia Drivers Club logo

I am in Columbus Ohio and have just had dinner, walked to a local supermarket for supplies for meals tomorrow and on the way back spoke with a local Police Officer, parked in a servo. I asked him did he have much to do with trucks and he said no. I said there are quite a few round here, using the motels etc and he agreed, but again, said they did not have any trouble with the trucks.

I then asked about the rust I see in a percentage of cars and do they do inspections? “No, they used to many years ago, but not now” he said. It seems you can drive it till it dies and many do. In a rest area last week, I am nearly sure the thin cargo strap around the ute body, could have been all that was holding the thing together and would have taken a photo, but the fellow inside may have taken offence.

I hear broken exhausts, brakes rubbing as cars drive past and see the rust, through mudguards and over wheels and under doors, often all together on one vehicle, at least a number of times a day and even in the big cities. When I told the officer we would not be even allowed out the gate like that, he said ”Oh really, MMMM”.

I then walked up to a trucker and his wife and another driver. I said I had two questions, the first is that I don’t see many Western Stars? He said they are around and Western Star is owned by Freightliner and it is like the difference between a Chev and a Cadillac (basic and luxury) and he had this truck built for him in 2017. He was too long to legally pull his 3 pup (28 foot trailers each with dolly at front and single axle at rear) in his 379 Pete on the Ohio and other turnpikes (read freeways) and so he bought this and went from 4 and a half MPG to over 7, but he also now does 1500 revs at 73 MPH with a 12 speed auto against the 18 speed manual, the gear fast run slow ethic gaining more and more momentum.

The second was my basic question, “What is your biggest safety concern on the highway” and this is where the title comes in. For all intents and purposes, he could have been as Aussie truckie with all of his comments, bar one. “Car drivers are the biggest problem, you leave a space and they fill it. I had a friend have a car pull in front not leaving enough room and he hit the car, the car driver told the Police “I was just sitting here at the lights waiting to turn and the truck hit me”, the trucker gave the police his dash cam and all was sorted quickly.” I said I too have heard that story and do you know that the idea of recording cars to protect us, because no one would believe a car driver would be so stupid (don’t we wish) was first done by an Australian Truckdriver.

He said he is going to get a camera soon and then we went onto my trip and why etc. I told him I think the UK lorry drivers are worse off as they have no one working for them and asked about here. He is a member of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and believes they are trying, but they are fighting the government, who all know better and are happy to tell us how to do our job, whether they could or not. I have emailed OOIDA with no luck, the emails bounce, but do plan to catch up with them at GATS.

What about truckers? Yes there is that too, not being trained properly and the public think this is the easiest job in the world, yet say when they get the chance to see things from our side, who would do that job?

He went on “These ELDs are forcing blokes to drive tired, they don’t allow for traffic etc, blokes are pushing from the minute they start the clock and no one else cares about us.” “I wish we could all get together and shut down for a week” and I said as I have before, I have more chance flying to the moon in your truck and he agreed. I then explained those who have advocated blockades in Australia will simply be pushed off the road by the authorities and that unless you have two important things, someone or a group the industry will stand behind and a short list of both, problems and solutions, the government will simply laugh at you.

He then spoke of a lack of rest areas, Police in some states who will write up drivers for parking on freeway ramp shoulders, no excuses accepted at all. The fact that the industry is simply there now for revenue, as the authorities are not getting it like they used to and on one occasion, when pulled up by a trooper, who could find nothing wrong with the truck, then wanted his logs and seemed to get very annoyed when he could find nothing wrong. Our trucker said, “Isn’t that how it is supposed to be?” but the officer clearly had the bothers, that he could not write him a ticket.

California not being just a different state, but a different country etc and whilst I had said to him after the first five minutes, can I go and get my video camera, you are saying all I have heard, but altogether and quite well, but he was not keen. While he works for a broker, the trailer had a name that some would know in Australia from many years ago in that section of the industry and I was holding them up as they were about to go and eat.

I apologised and then he asked me about, you guessed it, our roadtrains. They do have what we would call a roadtrain (and I mistakenly labelled the two or three short trailer combos as turnpike doubles previously, yet it seems as here as at home, where you are changes what something means), but they pull two 53 foot trailers as turnpike doubles in the USA (or as Heavy Goods Vehicles HGVs, in Canada) and with their long trucks, would well exceed our 36.5 metres. They talk in miles here and I can cope with that, but weights in pounds still has me thinking about conversions, and normally by then the driver is on the next comment.

So a wrap up to this point of the trip. Truckdrivers biggest problem on the roads are car drivers who do not, or have never been taught, to understand trucks. There is a much smaller problem with other truck drivers, but it is there and is growing. Electronic Logs (ELDs) are putting more pressure on many and not all are coping. Some have no problem with them and it seems this is largely due to the type of work and or where you run and or, who you work for.

The ELDs have exacerbated the lack of rest areas in some states and I have seen a site yesterday on a four lane highway where you can access it from both directions, yet there is a slow down lane barely big enough for a single car on the opposite side and none at all on the rest area side and traffic in a 70 MPH zone, has to nearly stop in the lane to enter the rest area and or cross the road and traffic drives back and forth across the highway with barely a car length between sides. This in a state that also has a rest area with a near mansion for a toilet block and acres of gardens around it, that you would be proud to have in a show place.

My Western Star friend did say he thought the government was being driven by certain groups baying about road safety, but the trucking industry was not being given its voice and certainly not the drivers and the government will follow the loudest noise.
In the theme of good news which must of course be a good way to end this, when sitting on the balcony with my new friend Bruce at his home in Toronto Canada and having a beer, my first for the trip, I got a call to say I had not been successful in my bid to win funding for more Green Reflector Informal Truck Bays. Now to be fair I have just got the Newell done and I will both say thanks to NHVR for their help and support in achieving that and look forward to doing some press in that regard when I return.

However, the next call was from my partner in all things trucking in Australia, Stephen from Whiteline Television and http://www.truckingnation.com.au to say he had been successful in winning funding for us to do the TRUCKIES TOP TEN TIPS (for sharing the road with trucks) on video. Our aim is to do it professionally and make it available to all road authorities as a resource, so that new drivers will see and hopefully recognise some of our issues when they get on the road as well as making it available to all others who can use it to teach or simply, to see our side of things. I have been promoting these tips for nearly 20 years now and have had some terrific comments and support, but it has been a long time coming to be able to do it in such a way and with Stephens incredible and professional talent with a camera, I know it will be top notch.

Congratulations to all others who have been successful with projects and I hope each and every one of these, helps to improve road safety for all Australians. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

11th October 2020 A week off

Goodaye all, I am having a week off, the truck needs a clutch and so I have made up a list with a few other jobs for truck and trailers and plan to work on family, a couple of books and the next TIV. Thank you to those who have commented on the “phone a mate” idea. If you will have a go and ring a mate to offer a Goodaye and perhaps empower one person either to seek help, or simply to think of, contact and even possibly help another driver, then I am glad that my mate rang me with the idea. Some of you may see a video which mentions me and this idea, but he did go a bit hard, I did not save anyone’s life, I simply found out after the event, but hope by putting the idea out there, that one of you may truly save someone doing it tough.

There are many drivers who over the years have tried to do their bit to see things change, there are many more who have either complained and done nothing, or simply thought it all too hard. Nothing will change unless someone makes the effort, sometime it will still not change, but you must either support someone who makes the effort, make it yourself, or shut up and don’t whinge about it, if you are not prepared to actually do anything constructive.

It is hard to do it on your own, the associations and other groups cannot solve all our problems overnight and the government, unfortunately doesn’t even know nor care, what the problems are, let alone know what the solutions may be. So you can have a go, you can join an association, but even then, joining alone and paying a fee, does not fix it all. If you don’t like what an association, union, group or bunch of blokes do and think you can do it better, then join and make it happen, or at least try. No group can get things done without member participation and support.

Just joining and then doing nothing may give the group numbers, but unless you participate, provide input, give your views, etc, how will anyone know what you want to see done. Our biggest problem as an industry, is that we are all individuals, like every other group, but then we have owner drivers and company drivers, local and intra and then interstate and then we have all the industry sectors that each want possibly different things or even similar things but in different ways or for other reasons.

We have overnight express, general freight, tippers and tankers, livestock, oversize and all the others as well, which are all part of the transport industry, yet have differing needs, representation and issues. Then of course if we were all local drivers, we could have a meeting and maybe be heard, but we are spread from one end of the country to the other and trying to deal with day to day issues, let alone industry wide ones that need more effort than one bloke or one association can change.

What has been your experience with the union, with the associations that represent us, have they listened, have they acted or do they not truly represent you, whether you are a local tanker driver or an oversize driver or pilot, or any other group. If you have the answer to all our problems, then please let me know how to solve them for you and I will do my best. If not, join one group or the other and try and help them achieve the impossible, to solve all our problems. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

5th October 2020 A new TIV and Call a Mate.

Goodaye all. The TIV will live on. I have a commitment for a new truck in the new year and am now working on new trailers as well. I am hoping for a big launch, for something a bit unique and something that will stand out and continue the aims I have had from the start.

  1. Improving roads, yes our trucks are better and so are some roads, but many are not and it is our lives that are at risk. Yes we must be road friendly and comply, but the roads should then be truck and driver friendly. I should not have to ring road authorities to complain about serious failures and then still wait months for them to be fixed. Yes we are a large country with a small population, but we must get better value and safety for all by building, fixing and maintaining our roads to a standard, something we do not have now. We need a National Road Standard and it must be maintained for our safety as well as for all others.
  2. Improving Road Safety for all, through better education about sharing the road with trucks. I have been promoting the Truckies Top Ten Tips for over 20 years now, yes we have the videos finally, but not one road authority will include them in driver licensing, so until we get people to understand us, they will continue to risk our lives and theirs every day.
  3. Raising Industry Awareness through attending industry and other events, having riders in the TIV and participating in media and other efforts.
  4. More and better rest areas, we need a National Rest Area Strategy, we are losing more sites than we are gaining, we still do not have enough and I am still asking for green reflector bays to be national after only 20 years. If we can’t get a bit of dirt marked, what hope do we have of having enough suitable truck rest areas to safely manage our fatigue?

 I will commit for a minimum of four years, hope for maybe another one or two on top of that if health and family will allow and intend to continue the work I have done for over 20 years now. I would welcome any support, the majority of those sponsors who have supported the TIV from the start, have committed to extend that support into the new unit and I thank all for that help in achieving a dream.

When I first came up with the idea of a vehicle to promote the industry and road safety, even I thought it might not happen. But a few said they would contribute, then others did, but with the curtains, I was told, “It will never happen, no one will pay for that” but I kept asking till I found someone who would help with the application, though the design of both sets so far were mostly, all mine. Attards accepted my design, helped with the production of both sets and the original curtains are now on another set of RPT trailers and I am planning for a BAB Quad trip and photo shoot.

The current curtains are 9 years old and will live on for a bit with the current truck. I am hoping to find a protégé to take on the current truck when the new one arrives, any takers? I do not expect anyone to put in the time I do (and few of you would even have any real idea of that) nor do I expect them to do shows, but they must respect the effort I have put in, and do the right thing as best they can, that is all I ask.

There will be new curtains and I will again cover most industry sectors, the Australian Heavy Vehicle Combinations panel will be updated and slightly bigger, as it has had so many comments and photos, it was the best addition to the original curtains that I made and thanks to Kenworth for helping with it then and again for the new one. I will aim to cover all who have helped over the next few months, but thank them all here as well.

Ken Wilkie holds a special place both in my heart for his simply unheard of help, by supplying his Kenworth to get me going, and then his outstanding contribution to the road transport industry over many years, then Rod Pilon bought me the current trailers and then the K200 and Rod and Ben and all the staff generally, continue to support my efforts to this day. I will not say it has been easy, my family have all suffered, mostly in silence for the time and effort I put in, but I love what I do. I am often told I have two jobs and only get paid for one.

In these times and with many good projects and road safety efforts in place, we must all work together to keep us all safe and in good spirits. We live on the road in general isolation much of the time, have rarely been recognised for the work we do and the lives we so often save, anticipating and or dealing with the actions of those who have never driven a truck, let alone lived in one on the road. A mate rang me the other day and has committed to ring a different mate each night when at work, to simply ask how they are going. I think this is a terrific idea and started it that night as well.

A couple of years ago, during my Christmas ring around to mates, two of a dozen blokes I spoke with in a couple of days, had suffered marital breakdown and had been in varying degrees, close to suicide. This industry is very unforgiving of the toll it takes on our families and many marriages do not survive and the effects of those marriage failures can be severe, have a long period of self -punishment for the failures, perceived or otherwise of the driver, let alone the impacts on the children and others involved.

There are many programs underway, yet we are all very cynical of the proposed, proffered, promised and perceived changes that others offer. Mostly we all hope they have good intentions, but if we want things to change, if we want to help others who may be struggling for whatever reason, we must participate and make sure that no one wastes the time and money to re-invent the wheel, but listens to those involved, who have been there or who will at least listen and offer valuable and specific help or at least, direct us to those who can provide help.

Do you know someone who has struggled, have you taken the time, even if only to ask, are you OK or can I help in any way? Most blokes will not simply open up and tell you their woes, many will not want to burden you with their problems, but sometimes, simply asking or offering, can start a recovery and what has it cost you, a little bit of your time and surely we can all at the least, offer that. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

27th September 2020 Did you miss me?

Goodaye all. Two week ends ago, I had a theme and story, but 26 hours home for my break left me short. I had a column for owner Driver to get in and things to do, but not enough time to do this as well, my apologies. That story was “Technology in trucks and the saga of the starter motor”. On my way to a farm in the middle of the bush, road closed due to covid and rang TMR to be told go 100k out of my way as the only border crossing open, then stopped to check out a green reflector bay, only to have the auto, flash up a code.

Having previously reported the starter motor not working every time, so knowing it was due, but again, busy on the road and not long enough in Dubbo to get it changed the week prior, with the auto code flashing and no go, had to stop the truck to reset the auto. Four goes to start, in the middle of the night and a farm to get to, but made it there and went to bed to get up and unload, then it would not start at all. Rang the workshop, knowing what he would suggest, tilt the cab and hit the starter. Did that and got it started, kept it running all day, back to Dubbo late that night and of course, it did start the next morning, but it got replaced. Leccy said, lucky you did not hit it in the wrong place (and there is not much room to do so either) as you can short it and have it end up melted on the ground. MMMMMMM.

The technology part comes with all the electronics on trucks now. Fantastic when they work, leaves you little chance to fix when they don’t. The auto code has not reappeared, so that is good, but the previous issue with the EBS and active cruise which was fixed, is back again since my trip to Mt Isa. Seems there are three brake light switches, one for normal, one for the Jacobs brake and another for the ACB. One was always coming up with a code that no one could sort, but this one drops out the cruise, stops you from doing a burn and has the EBS light on. So will have to go back again for another look and hopefully something simple, we will see.

So last week, having got home Wednesday to get the starter done the next morning, caught up on emails and thought, only going to Brissie, will leave the laptop home. Got to Brissie, split trailers to go to a fun spot to unload, then a phonecall, you will be taking a roadtrain to Mt Isa. Back to the yard, hook up trailers again, go and do another pickup then back to have a 24 hour break before leaving. Do my dog run Saturday, have to change the dolly to the other trailer when I got there with the second one and then, away we go.

It is awhile since I have been that way and the undulations west of Drillham kept me bouncing and meant a serious effort to check and resecure the load was needed after a nights camp at Morven. Was looking for a parking bay before there, but only one stopping bay it seemed for well over an hour. It is good to see Queensland acting to ensure truck bays are left for trucks but with only 21 truck only bays in Qld, as per their own admission to the Senate inquiry, no wonder we get tired looking for them.

Lots of business at the PUMA at Morven whilst doing check and prestart, so walked over and they agreed to put up a copy of my new poster as below. Thank you very much to Dick and Stuart from ATCC for the work and printing of the posters. They have done this for me previously and the old ones are in truckstops across three states at least. If you have a space that sees much motorist traffic and want to help us be better seen and promote sharing the road with trucks, you can probably get one printed. Let me know.

The next night I made it to just past McKinlay, where yet another old favourite truckstop has disappeared. Last time I was up there I had a terrific meal and they even had a lending library of audio books, but yet another gone, so sad to see.

It would seem I can’t add a PDF file here, so you might have to check the Facebook page? Rod.

Sorry if it is hard to read here, but in poster size looks the part and we can only offer it and have such things available for motorists to read, we can’t make them!

Into Mt Isa Monday, a couple of drops and then our depot manager took ill and I was asked to stay for a bit. Two triples, an AB triple and a roadtrain meant there were many hands and much to do and when a plan was sorted, I left Tuesday with another roadtrain load for a gold mine to deliver on the way, stopped at Longreach, marked some more green reflector bays and then to Toowoomba for a pick up, back into Brissie and load to get home for inspections for my trailers for rego, done Friday afternoon.

There is more to tell, but this will have to do as still have much to catch up and do and will detail big plans next week. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

6th September 2020 Happy Fathers Day.

Goodaye and Happy Fathers Day to all. I have just been out for lunch with 3 of my four boys and have got a call or covid hug from my three girls. I hope you get to be with and or speak with family if on the road.

Out Monday into the closed state of Victoria, been there each week since well before all this started, so went twice this week for fun. First time out, do not really still know why, but nearly an hour to get through the checkpoint at Kalkallo. I had started the day with a double split to do a delivery, only to follow one of Visys into the same street, which believe you me, is not what I would imagine would be a b-double route, but the way they went, is not open to all it would seem. I am confident I could get into the delivery site, but would have to do it a certain way or would simply not be able to get out as a double. Will have to do some more research.

Then due to that longer than hoped double delivery, smoko and different forkies etc, got delayed four hours to load, then the delay on the way out and being at HML weights, could not shortcut through Condoblin, had to go to Tomingley before I could cut across to get to Nyngan the next day, so all those things conspired to completely screw the next days plan.

Slept in a new green reflector bay just north of Parkes, got up and rang in and said, “Houston, we have a problem”! Luckily there was a solution, thank you Geoffrey for then picking up the load he was to take and then taking it back to the yard for me to come in later and reload and he went and loaded mine at 1.30, which I had no chance of doing. It meant he got the direct drop and I then got first a split and then another double split, to deliver Thursday.

A bit better loading window, but back to work to top up a bit and out of Melbourne at 67.8 tonne, checked weights at Broadford and away we go. I must say a well thought out idea from Vicroads, allowing all bridges to be left on, so we can check weights. It will go a long way to help us be compliant if you load different stuff all the time and for those who load mostly the same freight, you should be able to get it near perfect. TMR in Queensland leave the scales on at the entry and exit to the port in Brisbane, but I did ask RMS about leaving the ones on north of Parkes and they were not interested, even when I spoke of the other states doing the same.

Back to Dubbo Friday, fit a new mudflap, change a couple of curtain straps and make some plans for trailer service and then HVIS is due, so tentative plans for early inspection etc with next service. Had to email a new photo for my DG license, rang to check and the lovely lady there sorted it late and then processed it and have a copy with a new card to come in the mail.

I got an early call from a respected driver who asked about the current ATA/ Big Rigs have s ay in the HVNL. It asks you a number of yes/no questions, but does allow you to comment, why you agree or otherwise. I spent some time explaining my answers and whilst I have done written and oral submissions etc, I will not give up or miss another chance to have a say. Have a look and make a comment, please. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

30th August 2020 Back to the Beginning and on the inside.

Goodaye all. The writing will be short this week as I have a video of the inside of the TIV K200 for you. This is of course where I live, eat and sleep for up to 6 days a week and it has been home for the last 9 years. I picked it up from the Kenworth plant at Bayswater after my plant tour, drove it just a few kilometres round to the radio place where GME fitted two UHF radios, the car stereo and all the required aerials.

The only early k’s I did not do in the truck was for its trip to Shepparton to have the Active Cruise control set up, then it was returned out to Herd Bullbars, no longer operating unfortunately, they supplied the bar, the first they had made for the new K200 and as far as a I am aware, one of the very first where the inner uprights were angled out to better reflect the new wider at the top grille, used in the K200. They added all the brackets for the extra lights and told me I could not have the TIV in lights at the front. I said “Why Not?” and of course they just said it couldn’t be done, but it was and has been there ever since.

Central Tyre Inflation Australia came out and fitted the CTI on the drive at Herd and I picked it up from there, dropped the tyre pressures on the drive to 50 psi, as there was not even a turntable on it yet and drove it to Caloundra for Signwriters to do their magic and even now, it still looks nearly as good as it did then. There are more who contributed, but that will do for a start. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

23rd August 2020 Short and Sweet.

Goodaye all. Short and sweet this week, started Monday and off to Melbourne, back there again in an hour or so. I have just seen a couple of videos from the Supercar teams and it must be a fantastic job to have. They have all been in isolation and are now on their way to Darwin for some races up there. Good luck to them with their trip. We really need some real people and stories to show what it is like on the road, fulltime, otherwise no one will ever know or understand our jobs.

We need the road recognised as our workplace, then those who share it with us will have to be trained to do so. The roads then will have to not only be built for the role they hope to fill, they will have to meet and continue to meet, certain standards over their life. Not once they are built and then fail, be badly patched and cause further damage to trucks, drivers, loads and roads.

In the USA the truckers tried to bill the states for damage to their trucks from the roads. If we could do that here, we would have better roads, safer trucks and less lives lost.

Once roads become our recognised workplace, they will need to have suitable and sufficient rest areas for the number and type of vehicles using that road, to allow and encourage us to safely manage our fatigue, to comply with the onerous and inflexible laws and penalties thrown at us from above by those with hot and cold everything within their reach.

And when I win the Lotto, I will keep trying to make all the above happen. Till then, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

16th August 2020 DG Renewal.

Goodaye all. Well I have just finished my Dangerous Goods License renewal course here in Dubbo. The educator Col, says we were lucky to be able to hold the course at the Cattleman’s Hotel, as there was nowhere else in Dubbo with the capacity for the number attending and being able to comply with current Covid requirements. He has had a very quiet time, as many who conduct such in person training to complete courses, due to the restrictions being in place.

He commented that it may be in the future that to be able to complete such courses, you may well have to go to a capital city, as with all the current problems, those doing such courses are not able to keep up with a growing backlog, but the ability to conduct such courses needing in person training and the lack of sites that can be used, are simply another problem.

In the USA, there have been extensions granted for those in such a position, needing license renewals etc, but I have not seen much of it here. It is simply up to us to get it sorted. Have you had any such issues?

The complexity with carrying Dangerous Goods and above that again with Bulk DG, far more so with normal general transport as opposed to bulk fuel haulage for example, along with the myriad of potential fines if you do not get it right, then with increased education of many Highway Patrol officers, mean you must be more and more vigilant and on top of the requirements to comply.

The training does not just apply to the driver, those who consign, load and deliver, as well as those who control each of the staff involved in all of those tasks mentioned, can be held liable and fined in the law if not complied with fully. Those not carrying the goods may well not need a DG License, but without any training, if the load is involved in a crash and or the load is simply inspected and does not comply, they too can and will be prosecuted.

In a terribly funny way, our Chain of Responsibility Legislation is designed to do just what the DG laws do well in a way, to extend the responsibility up the chain so it is not just the driver who is held responsible. The downside, again in a strange way, means not only does the driver have to be even more knowledgeable and accurate with his compliance and information and will still get fined if he screws up, but it is far more likely that those above who were also complicit, will be fined as well.

You will be sick of me complaining about delays at Albury and these do pale against others elsewhere, but it is so simple to me how to fix the problem, but nothing has changed. I did email deputy PM Michael McCormack, as he is local to the Wagga Wagga district and hoped he might be able to help, but no reply as yet. We will simply keep trying. Till next week, Safe Travelling to all. Rod Hannifey.

9th August 2020. What a couple of days, plus a video for the public.

Goodaye all. Thursday and Friday may well turn out to be at the top of the, lousy days at work, up to this time. In Brisbane Thursday, a fun place to deliver at the start of the day, double split and so drop one trailer, go and deliver it, go back to the safe place to drop trailers, drop that trailer, pick up the other, go back with it and again, back in off a road with cars parked either side, then down a driveway and then have to unload one side at a time, as it was too narrow to unload either side in one place. A lovely, but my age, so bloody old gent, that was not in any rush to unload me. I was asked by the younger fellow, why aren’t you in a hurry? Most of your blokes are often saying they will run out of hours.

I had time then, but did have someone coming to meet me to look at something on the truck and did have to put him back a bit. Worse, what I hoped would solve a problem and give me back my cruise control, did not work, so still to be resolved, along with not being able to do a burn. But thanks for your effort in trying to solve the problem, it is much appreciated.

Then nearly 6 hours in total, (the fellow loading when I got there at 1.40PM had been there since 10.30 in the morning and had just started loading) so waiting, then loading and painfully watching a young bloke learn on a forklift, then after finally being loaded and now dark, have to move up and climb up and down a tall ladder 20 odd times to strap the whole load down in the dark. No lights there on one side and trying to throw straps through a very small gap while on said ladder.

We must do it all safely mustn’t we and I did lodge a concern with both the lack of light and the adjacent light, which did not light where I was working, but kept going on and off, so one minute I could see something and then nothing. Winter is still upon us in places, yet I was wet with sweat when finished. I had rang and said I will not meet the timeslot in the morning after just starting to load at 4PM. I will see what happens and of course, when I finally left after 7PM, everyone else was long gone home.

Just managed to get tea at Fisher Park, they were getting ready to close, but I rang ahead and got in scoffed tea down, though they told me don’t rush, but they were good enough to look after me, I did not want to delay them anymore. It did mean I was too late for a shower and could not really give up any more time, I was hungry so was getting a feed no matter what, but wanted to try and meet my new given arrival time.

Of course on arrival and later than I had suggested and having been told I had to reload with a product that is not very friendly to tautliner curtains, just a bit worse than what I had on already, so already not really in a “Oh I love this job”, frame of mind, it started to rain. It started each time I had to unload or reload (oh and can I mention another double split to unload etc spot) and stopped while waiting, so I got good and wet a few times. Then there was an issue that I am yet to find out what the ramifications will be, partly my fault and partly a combination of others and of unusual circumstances.

But I made it home Friday night, for it to rain again as I dropped my trailers. Now there are blokes with harder jobs, worse freight and in these times, suffering trying to deal with border issues, not being treated human as per some Facebook posts I have seen and I am normally pretty passionate about my job generally and the industry as well. I love what I do most of the time, but nothing is always or forever perfect.

To those worse off and you only have to listen to those suffering in Victoria, whether affected by the shutdown, the virus, or the other essential workers dealing with those so affected, I am not the worst off by a long shot. But to those of you who have said they had no idea what our job is like, I simply want you to understand it is not just get in the truck, drive and then get out and then get in and drive again.

I want some of the public to understand not this complexity, nor see me as a whinging truckie, so will attach a video hoping to help them see and recognise our contribution. If you agree (and you will have to accept some wind noise, it was getting dark and cold and my daughter “Thank you love” had better and warmer things to do) please comment and or share. I really think we have lost a chance to show the public our lives and perhaps gain some empathy for our jobs, others could do this much better and more professionally than I can, but have not, so I felt I had to at least, give it a try. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

2nd August 2020 It is up to you.

Goodaye all. It is two days off my 63rd birthday and I am going to ask you all for a present. This will not cost you any money, it will not come to me or change my life in any way, but if you are a truck driver or involved in the road transport industry, it may change yours, hopefully for the better, sometime in the future. I want you to do two things for me for my birthday. I will even give you a choice.

You can watch or listen to all the submissions to the current Senate Inquiry into a Safe and Viable Road Transport Industry, or you can read the RIS for the again current, review of the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL). Once you have done either (but by all means do both), then you have another choice.

If you agree with a particular point or suggestion and think it will make the roads safer and your job easier (please note which I have put first) then make a submission yourself to support and or even expand on why. If you don’t agree, or think you have a better solution, then do something about it, NOW!!!!!

When I was on my Churchill Fellowship trip and in the USA, the FMCSA there was seeking submissions towards changing their Hours of Service (HOS). I made a submission and whilst it may not have changed the course or been the most relevant, I did contribute to something that can affect other truckies.

The following is from an online piece, Overdrive Extra, 31st July, “FMCSA is Listening, Share your views and make a difference” by Gary Buchs.

The regulatory process inevitably angers some individuals. But getting mad only serves to divide people who could work together and seek solutions for problems.

Predictably, as soon as the new hours of service changes were announced, the loudest voices came from people complaining before they have even had a chance to utilize the new adjustments that will take effect Sept. 29.

These new rules were developed after FMCSA invited input over many months, drawing approximately 2,800 submitted comments. That’s no small number, yet millions of CDL holders and transportation stakeholders could have responded. But they ignored not only the opportunity, but arguably a business responsibility.

Accept that you, the silent majority, can get involved, and this safety summit is a perfect opportunity. It will be held in a virtual setting 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern time. FMCSA said there will be a “brief public comment period in the mid to late afternoon.” You can register for that open forum, as well as other sessions, here.

This is a chance to increase the number of people commenting from 2,800. Can you imagine what the effect could be if even 1% of the 3.9 million CDL holders — 39,000 people — spoke up?

We are not all going to agree on every detail, but improvements are needed and possible.

Does any of this read familiar to you? How many times have you sat in a roadhouse and heard blokes whinge and whine about what is wrong with the industry and what should be done to fix it? How many of those blokes either don’t know of this chance to have a say or who will simply not bother. For my birthday present, I want you to contribute and I want you to tell others to do so as well. If you want to buy me a new Kenworth as well, I won’t stop you, but we have a chance, it may not be the only one ever, but it may be the best we will have for sometime.

Some people finally are recognising that WE NEED TRUCKS so they can eat, live and work, that we do not all drive round all day empty, because we have nothing better to do with our time. Suddenly they are aware that without trucks they will have no food, no clothes, no fuel or parts for their car etc and we must do something to capitalise on this, because after all this is over one day we hope, we will be forgotten again.

We are perceived to be all as bad as the one bloke who does the wrong thing, whether that is tailgating or abusing a car or caravanner, or if they kill someone in a crash because they were a bad driver and none of us are perfect, but most of us go to work to finish another trip safely and to get home to a family we see too little of. This side is never considered nor recognised by far too many of those we try and share the road with to deliver their stuff for them.

Now I recognise not all of you have the time or the inclination to sit at home watching hours of video of people talking and most would have better things to do I am sure. Having found a way to convert the video to audio and then put on thumbdrive and listen in the truck, I have spoken with Steve Corcoran and suggested he do the work for you and make all the videos available as audio so more likely more of you can access and listen. He was hoping to do so ASAP.

I’m sorry I cannot condense and make it easier for you all to read the RIS for the HVNL, but all who have done the reading of hundreds of pages and then responded in kind with hundreds more, have done much of the work for you and you can now read and respond to the condensed version, so from where I sit, no excuse to do nothing.

I have contributed to the HVNL, 7 written submissions, attended one meeting in Brisbane and with both written and attending Albury for the Senate inquiry. I had to leave after my submission as I was on my way to Melbourne to deliver that day and last week-end spent sometime downloading many of the submissions and converting them to MP3 so I could listen in the truck during the week. I could not justify spending hours listening at home, so instead of audio books this week, I listened to many and have now found the others and added them so I can listen to the balance this week.

Should you read or listen to any of my submissions, you will hear me ask for both a National Road Standard and a National Rest Area Strategy and so you know I am not asking you to do something while I sit back and dream of the next TIV, I am working on both of those documents and plan to submit them next month to both, as well as anyone who I can pester with them.

So you can completely ignore this and me, or you can do something for yourself and other drivers. IT IS UP TO YOU! Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.