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.

17th February 2019 Filming for safety.

Goodaye all and the weather is lovely here at downtown Barnawartha Victoria. We finished filming in the early hours of this morning completing some night shots and were back in the factory for the final shots this morning. All the rest of the crew have now headed home and I will catch up on emails and some sleep tonight, before unloading at the DC in the morning, then travelling on to Melbourne.

Stephen from Whiteline has lots of work to do to convert the filming we have done, into what I am sure will be a highly professional and valuable resource for learner drivers about sharing the road with trucks. It will be available to driving schools. clubs and any group interested in road safety generally, or for the safety of their members on the road. We would like to see it included in all learner handbooks and testing, with only one intent, to make drivers more aware of sharing the road with heavy vehicles, to make them and drivers of trucks, all safer on the road.

Since last weeks blog, I’ve had a couple of drivers say, “Now you know what it is like” to be away on the road for weeks at a time, but I have done it before, just had a good run for the last few years with the work Pilon’s have. Each of us do different tasks, cart different freight, but all agree the job is not what it was, that it needs to change in many ways and that those we share the road with, simply do not understand our issues, whether they be a lack of courtesy, common sense or rest areas.

I did manage to get some photos of some magnificent Kenworths and anyone who wants to supply one for the next TIV, call now. We all want things done, but few can do it all. I was unable to attend the AGM for the National Road Freighters Association to be here for the filming and have been a board member and participant with them for some years. They are one of the few grass roots groups that are trying to represent our industry and whilst I am trying to get members into the TRUCK That Australia Drivers Club, it is not in competition with NFRA, but like all things, if you want things done, you have to put in.

Fees and meetings and having only a few members that actually do anything, limit any groups ability to see things change. The TTADC aims to start at an even lower level and simply having a register of drivers who work fulltime and who may be able to offer a view, rather than attend meetings or paying fees that may not see value from, no matter how reasonable, may well be of interest to those groups we hope to influence.

Next month I will have my latest rest area document out for comment, the fourth in as many years, but simply getting to those who will listen, let alone make good decisions for the improvements needed is hard work. Not physically, just in having the time and ability to get to the right people and not give up.

This will be my twentieth year involved with road safety, in December the twentieth year since the first blue reflectors went up and you might nearly forgive me for saying, damn it should not be so hard to get something so simple up and running, but it is! Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

9th February 2019 Third week away.

Goodaye all. Well this will be my third week in the truck without a visit home and with filming for our Truckies Top Ten Tips next week end already booked in, that will be four weeks. Now any of you who know anything about trucking in the USA will know many drivers spend weeks or months away on the road over there or “out” as they say, it is a big place. We have drivers here who travel away from home for long periods as well.

Last week end I was in Moranbah on the side of the road for my 24 hour break, but I did manage to have a good meeting with Graeme from RAAG, the Road Accident Action Group, who drove out from Mackay. They have been supporters of the green reflectors and did some work in the area nominating sites, amongst many other worthwhile local road safety projects.

I am now at Marulan for my next 24 hour break and stopped to do filming for TRUCK That Australia February at the Mundoonan Rest Area on the way up and have heaps to do whilst here. I had hoped to have time at our depot, but my timeslot on Monday is on this side of town, so this will do.

I did receive my posters for the green reflectors during the week and have started putting them up in truckstops. Whilst at BP Lavington last night, the first driver who walked past made comment and I explained all about it and he said, what a good idea, we have all been in that spot at times, tired and needing somewhere to stop.

Last week the video was also released on the NHVR youtube page about the green reflector marking of informal truck bays and this week TCA released the data for green reflector bays on the Traveller Information Exchange (TIX) so it has been a big GREEN week.

I even saw “TRUCKIES HAVE BLIND SPOTS CAN THEY SEE YOU” on the overhead Variable Message Signs on the Hume, something I asked for many years ago, but it is good to see such messages being put in front of the public.

Later this month I aim to release my next rest area document. It is good to see the ATA and now NATROAD getting behind the need for more rest areas. With the release of the Guidelines for Heavy Vehicle Rest Areas from Austroads, we now need to follow through and push to get what we need on the road. If you are a driver, where do you have a problem with lack of capacity and or facilities?

We need someone at a high level of government to help us to achieve an improvement in truck rest areas. We are all told to manage our fatigue, yet how do we do that when there are not enough places to do so? It cannot be done overnight, it will take time, but we could do something quickly with green reflectors and with input from drivers. Who will help us? Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

3rd February. Hello from Moranbah Queensland.

Goodaye all. It has been an interesting week. Off to an unusual late start on a Tuesday, to little ol” Sydney town for a visit to a DC, but with a bit of time before my slot, got the Mobileye system in the truck finally sorted and working. It may well have saved me the next day, pulling away with a car, then of course looking for other traffic and the car stopped. The Mobileye yelped, but I would hope I still would have stopped anyway.

There are times technology can help as above, even now getting this to you with a dongle from Moranbah in Queensland, yet we all want our skills recognised. Would you say you do recognise the skills of an interstate truckie? Have you ever seen this?

“When God Made Truck Drivers”¬
Author Unknown

When the Lord was creating Truck Drivers, he was into his sixth day of overtime when an angel appeared and said, “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one?’ And the Lord said, “Have you read the spec on this order?” “A truck driver has to be able to drive 10 12 or more hours per day, through any type of weather, on any type of road, know the highway traffic laws of 6 states and 2 territories, he has to be ready and able to unload 40 tonnes of cargo after driving thru the night, sleep in areas of cities and towns that the police refuse to patrol.”

He has to be able to live in his truck 24 hours a day 7 days a week for weeks on end, offer first aid and motorist assistance to his fellow travellers, meet just in time schedules, and still maintain an even and controlled composure when all around him appear to have gone mad.” “He has to be in top physical condition at all times, running on black coffee and half eaten meals; he has to have six pairs of hands.” The angel shook her head slowly and said, “Six pairs of hands… no way.’ It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” said the Lord, It’s the three pairs of eyes a driver has to have.”

“That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel. The Lord nodded. “One pair that sees the herd of cattle in the scrub 3 miles away” “Another pair here in the side of his head for the blind spots that motorists love to hide in; and another pair of eyes here in front that can look reassuringly at the bleeding victim of a drunk driver that crashed into his FUPS bumper at 110 kph and say, ‘You’ll be all right ma’am, when he knows it isn’t so.” “Lord,” said the angel, touching his sleeve, “rest and work on this tomorrow.”

“I can’t,” said the Lord, ‘I already have a model that can drive 1000 kilometres a day, without incident and can raise a family of five without ever seeing them, on one dollar a kilometre.” The angel circled the model of the truck driver very slowly “Can it think?” she asked. “You bet,” said the Lord. “It can tell you the elements of every HAZMAT load invented; recite Australian Road rules and regs for each state in its sleep; deliver, pickup, be a father, offer timely advice to strangers, search for missing children, defend a woman’s or children’s rights, get 8 hours of good rest on the street and raise a family of Law respecting citizens, without ever going home… and still it keeps its sense of humour”.

“This driver also has phenomenal personal control. He can deal with delivery and pickup areas created from scenes painted in hell, coax a loader to actually work for his money, comfort an accident victim’s family, and then read in the daily paper how truck drivers are nothing more than killers on wheels and have no respect for the rights of others while using the nations highways, which are mostly paid for by truck taxes.”

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek of the driver. “There’s a leak.” she pronounced. ‘I told you that you were trying to put too much into this model.” “That’s not a leak,” said the lord, ‘It’s a tear.” “What’s the tear for?” asked the angel, It’s for bottled up emotions, for fallen comrades, for commitment to that funny piece of cloth called the flag, for justice, for the family without its father. “You’re a genius,” said the angel. The Lord looked sombre. ‘I didn’t put it there.”

I found this on the notice board at the Boggabilla truckstop some years ago and asked for a copy. I will happily admit I have Australianised it a bit without I hope changing the context. Yes it might be a bit over the top, but much of it is true in what we do.

We work on roads that are not all highways, we share them with you, many of whom have not been taught to share them with us, we carry freight worth millions in total or for one load and we live in our trucks and on the road. Would you do it and if someone doesn’t, how will you eat, where will you live and how will you run a business?

Do you honestly recognise most truckies are professional freight relocation engineers, or do you think I am full of it. Let me know your views. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

28th January 2019. Green Reflectors and Rest Areas.

Goodaye all. Sorry for the gap, so many things to do. From the ATA Facebook page, “The Austroads research report ‘Guidelines for the Provision of Heavy Vehicle Rest Area Facilities’ was developed in response to calls for updated standards and will assist in the planning, design and prioritisation of truck rest areas” and it has just been released.

We are still a long way off having what we need, but now we have a document we can use to get better facilities. As you will imagine it is fairly detailed and I aim to read through in the next week and respond further. The “Green Reflector Marking of Informal Truck Bays” has been included and I have received some comments from others, congratulating me on the effort over the last 19 years to have them instigated.

The Newell Highway is all done and there are others in NSW, Qld and Victoria, but until we have suitable and sufficient rest areas for trucks, we need to know where there are safe spots to park, if and when we need them. Let us hope this report can help get the green reflectors national, until we have enough formal spots.

How many of you use roadside rest areas and what do you think of them generally? Years ago we did some trips when moving and found those with either a playground or of course, only at certain times a Driver Reviver, were the best suited for those with kids. Toilets and shade are the essentials for getting out of a car of truck for a break and of course, then we need rubbish bins. Is there enough bins, are they close enough or is it just the lazy and stupid who can’t be bothered to use them and then throw their rubbish out the window.

On the Newell with its gaps between towns, from just after 15 minutes out of each town, the rubbish starts. How do we get people to do the right thing and can you imagine what their homes must be like, or is that different? Then when the mowers come through, it all gets chopped up and spread even further. We need someone to design an attachment to go on the front of the mower and pick up all the rubbish first. The problem would be the first time it was used, you would need a fleet of tippers to cart the rubbish away!

What and where is the best rest area, car, truck or other, that you have ever used and why? I used to travel to Gladstone via Taroom and the toilet block there was always clean and tidy and I wrote to the council to thank them. Have you ever written or rang about a good, or bad site. If we don’t thank them, they may not feel recognised and if there is a site that is not up to standard, someone also needs to know to get it fixed.

How you report it is also important. Just abusing someone on the phone will never help and may make it worse. I have rang and told of a problem rather than just complained and I empathise with those who have to clean up after the morons that do things we must imagine, they would never do in their own homes.
The worst part is the often the trucks do not even get the facilities car drivers do, or simply can’t access them, by signage or design, deliberate or otherwise. We do need toilets too! The ATA are planning to follow up on the report at their conference in Perth in April and I hope they get good comments and suggestions and that there is then follow up to get some more rest areas built. To you in a car or RV, it may be just a spot to stop for a break, but for us it is where we sleep and live.

I would ask all, truckies included, to read the report and submit comments and to all to respect the value and needs of all drivers on the road. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

10th January 2019. Happy New Year.

Well a Happy New Year to you all.

Sorry for the late posting. Last week end we continued the filming for the Truckies Top Ten Tips and hope to complete more this week end. Five and a half hours to wash the TIV by hand on a hot Barnawartha day last Friday (after me helping a fellow fix two blown tyres and a damaged airbag, for a good start to the day, though he did then buy me breakfast) for filming Saturday and Sunday had me knackered but the TIV looking good. No internet access when I got to Melbourne, late Sunday meant no blog, so I started painting the rope rails on the trailers instead, finishing at 9PM.

I had quite a discussion with a mate driving north from Dubbo yesterday about the Christmas period road toll. What a terrible way to start the year for all those families involved who have lost someone. We weren’t there and only when the crash investigations are completed will most of the facts be known, but unless you are involved or follow up months or years later with coroners reports and the like, do we really listen and learn from what happened?

Those involved may know, they may well accept some responsibility, but none of us want to see anyone killed, let alone members of our own families, yet it continues to happen. Coming out of Melbourne Tuesday afternoon approaching the Shepparton exit, a car passed me as I passed the exit and I looked down to see the passenger point to the exit and the car lept forward across three lanes less than a metre in front of me to take that exit. I am sure the kids in the back appreciated the care and consideration given to their possibly very short lives.

Imagine being the person to kill them all, because the driver simply didn’t think, maybe we should drive on and take the next exit. I never want to be that person, yet others can find themselves in exactly that position, simply by going to work. If they are blamed in the press for those deaths and quite possibly may not be the guilty party, what sort of a life will they have in the future?

I really hope that when we have the Truckies Top Ten Tips (for sharing the road with trucks) available in the future, that it will become part of learner driver education. It will not stop every crash, but it may save a life or more and may just stop a truckie being blamed in the media for something they were not responsible for. I do hope it will prevent a truckie from seeing any such event in their nightmares every night after such a tragedy, but we must do more.

What can you do to improve road safety? Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

29th December. Goodbye 2018. A TRUCKING Good New Year to all.

Goodaye all. Well as per a favourite Pink Floyd song, “but your older, shorter of breath and one day closer to death”, yet still keen to both make an effort and make a difference. It is terribly sad for those drivers who have just lost their job a week before Christmas, who’s fault is it? Will the truth ever come out and will those responsible ever pay the price they should? Or will they get away with it and just start again?

One driver I heard from, has now had it happen more than once and will be unlikely to ever catch back up, let alone get the wages and benefits he was entitled to. How can such a big concern, working full time and with set runs for some of the biggest transport companies in Australia, fold like that? Lets’ hope someone is held to account and wish that it doesn’t happen again.
If you were lucky to have family at home, presents and good food and everything else, take one minute to consider those who did not, those who work to give you the lifestyle you have, truckies and many others who all work through such days and we all forget them at times, I fear.

I did a radio interview with a mate on a local community station Friday afternoon and we discussed the TRUCKRIGHT year. He was very happy to give me the chance to get a view to others and I thank Mark for the opportunity. I even got a Facebook message from another who heard the conversation travelling along the Hume. Mark, after asking when I was working over the break, did say it was the first time in the years we have been chatting on the radio that he recalls, where I did not go to work Boxing Day, but I will quite likely be on the road across New Year’s Eve.

I can’t recall spending Christmas night on the road, but did get home one Christmas morning, telling my children I had driven from one side of the country to the other, over four full days to get to them at the end of the U2 Tour. From Perth via Melbourne to Dubbo and you can read all about it in “Rock and Roll Trucking” in “The Best Australian Trucking Stories” by Jim Haynes and it is available on audio as well, if you are interested. Many times, on the road Boxing Day and New Year’s Day to deliver the following day, but too often away when family needed me and for that I will ever be ashamed I could not be there, when they did.

But it is the start of a new year and so I wish you all a TRUCKING Good New Year. My aims are to get;
1. A National Truck Rest Area Strategy up, so we have national standards for design, placement and capacity. The same standards for roadside bays, informal green reflector bays in all states and recognition of the need for more for all, but specifically for truckies. How we can use stockpile sites and old road alignments when roads are improved and or duplicated, instead of wasting those assets.
2. Some minor changes to fatigue laws allowing split rest, personal use and nose to tail shifts for all, but not on consecutive nights and with other limitations.
3. Keep on with the work of the TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle and get a new one on the road.

That should keep me reasonably busy. Any help or suggestions welcome, so travel safe and see you next year. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

25th December 2019 Merry Xmas.

TO ALL DRIVERS.
Please give this some thought, not just now for Christmas and the coming year, but everyday on the road.

Do you want to make the roads safer? Here’s how.
1. Drive like the people in every other car around you, are your own family members, young and old.
2. As above, but know how good they drive!!!!!
3. Treat all others as you would like to be treated.
4. PROBLEM solved. No road rage, no stupidity, no reckless actions.

Nearly every truckie I know, goes to work with one thing on their mind, to get home safely to a family they see too little of. If you really want to get home each trip, use the above idea and see if it will help you drive safer.

If only ten people do this and we save one life, then it is worth my time on Christmas day and will be something that can do good, far more than I can ever do alone. Merry Christmas and a Trucking Good New Year to all and to all the truckies still on the road, “Keep On Truckin’”. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey http://www.truckright.com.au

23rd December 2018 Merry Christmas.

Goodaye all, a hectic week, Dubbo to Swan Hill to Melbourne, to Bundaberg, Brisbane, Newcastle and home Friday night. Late on Sunday night on the narrow section the other side of Balranald I think, I moved over a bit for car and with the narrow (read none) shoulder, thought I might have been in trouble. It grabbed me and wanted to drag me off the edge and if I had reefed it back, may not have gone well.

Our roads are not being well maintained, we are falling further behind with rest areas, we have achieved so little, yet tried so hard to put information out to the public, both about sharing the road with trucks and that we are mostly, not the at fault party in car/truck fatal crashes. The figures are similar in the USA and I see Canada has just released figures showing they have similar stats. They will be following up to see what can be done to educate car drivers about sharing the road with trucks following the release of the figures and it seems strange they had not been aware.

I am back to work tomorrow to unload, then off till Thursday to reload and be on the road. I did a radio interview with my mate Boz, from Yass FM and on asking when I was off, he said it was the first time in the years we have been talking, that I was not going to work Boxing Day. I doubt you would believe me if I said, I won’t know what to do with myself.

I put the week end in doing a bit of shopping, lashed out and bought myself a tape measure, set of Vice Grips and ordered a $22 watch for me for Xmas, as I have just broken the band in mine and it looks likely to cost more to fix than the other one and if I break this one, I won’t be so badly off. Even two new “Jackie Howe” blue singlets and some undies (as they were half price, but also did some Xmas shopping for the family and even a bit of gardening. I did try to ignore trucks for this week end and will again for Xmas, but can’t get away from it completely.

May I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a TRUCKING Good New Year. Thank you for your interest, your comments and to those who have shared. TRUCK That Australia for December is out now on http://www.truckingnation.com.au and as I will be at work tomorrow and then back on the road Thursday, we will meet again next week end. Cheers and Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

16th December 2018. What do we do?

The following is from another frustrated driver in response to my latest Owner Driver column. He raises some good points and I have replied with others.

Morning Rod,

Great article.

I’m not sure if it’s the end of the year,but I’m feeling empty,frustrated and directionless.

I feel that most if not all the issues that impact the transport industry would not be tolerated anywhere else!

Why?

The transport industry is the lifeblood of this country!

It’s dependence is far beyond anyone’s comprehension.

I’m friends with an elder gentleman.
He’s retired and has been a large scale business owner for most of his life.

During a conversation we had recently,he told me transport is a “mugs game”,”the only business I know that sinks it’s own value “.

I thought about this for days.

Initially I was insulted.

The more I thought of these statements,the reality was there,he was right!

We devalue the industry that the country is most reliant on.

Question.

How do you sell a career in transport to a school leaver,outlining to them that a lot of their time will be spent for FREE?

Driver shortage,what driver shortage?

I look forward to chatting to you Rod.

I feel your frustration.

Goodaye Darren, I have asked the same question as you pose many times and as you suggest, struggle to answer it to the betterment of both current and future truckies. The world is a cruel place and I doubt we will ever be recognised for the sacrifices we have made in our lives, to improve the lives of others and now of course, they will be pushing the argument that as we cannot get drivers, we need autonomous trucks and the roads will be fixed for them, yet I cannot get them fixed for us now.

Frustration grows, but whilst getting slightly less enthusiastic, I have not given up. Cheers and all the best for a Merry Christmas and a Trucking Good New Year. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey. http://www.truckright.com.au http://www.truckright.blog 0428120560

The driver who sent this has approved me using it. I would not use it otherwise. In the UK they have shirts with, “Without trucks, you would be COLD, NAKED and HUNGRY”, yet we are still being treated badly, not enough rest areas, etc, etc, etc. I want to make the job safer, better and fair, but I can’t do it alone. I would welcome your comments. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

9th December 2018 Filming the Truckies Top Ten Tips (for sharing the road with trucks).

Goodaye all. Yesterday was the first day of filming of the Truckies Top Ten Tips (TTTT) for Sharing the Road with Trucks. With thanks to Rod Pilon Transport for the use of the Melbourne depot, we got underway in the morning and finished after 11 PM, so a long day with a break for lunch in between. Damn it was hard to find somewhere to eat after 2 PM, so many local small shops closed.

Whiteline TV was awarded funding from the NHVR to produce the TTTT and the aim is of course, to provide education for those who have never had the chance to ride in a truck and who may never have been taught about sharing the road with bigger vehicles. To all of you who are without any doubt the best drivers on the road, you may well have learned whilst on the road.

But every day truckies see and respond to people who have plainly either never been taught or who may simply not recognise the issues they cause in not respecting the size and weight of trucks and that we do need a bit more room to get going, to stop and top turn.

These tips came from surveys I did amongst a previous employers drivers with the permission of management and then followed up with a wider survey amongst truck drivers through Owner Driver magazine many years ago and I collated the responses and came up with the TTTT and have been promoting them ever since.

Whether you were taught by your parents, a driving school or simply learnt as you went along, were you given any real education about sharing the road with trucks? Or were you told, just keep away from trucks or even worse, how bad truckies were. Would you agree that such education should be included in the learning and testing regime for obtaining your license. It is true, truckies are not all perfect either, no one is, but we do go to work to get home safely to a family we see far too little of while travelling the highways of Australia to deliver every single thing you eat, wear, use and sell.

“TRUCKS DELIVER AUSTRALIA, OUR NEEDS, OUR PRODUCTS AND OUR WEALTH” is the slogan on the mudflaps on the TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle and of course you may have seen signs on trucks that say “WITHOUT TRUCKS AUSTRALIA STOPS”. In England there were shirts which said, “WITHOUT TRUCKS YOU WOULD BE COLD, NAKED AND HUNGRY” and the USA has a very big campaign to get the public to recognise the contribution trucks play in our everyday lives.

You travel in your car, often for convenience, yes you go to and from work and if you have no public transport, you may well not have another choice. We travel in our trucks, whether round the corner or across the country, so you can eat meals, at home or in a restaurant, be clothed, have fuel for your car, have a house built etc. It is said that every single thing you use has been in a truck, if not just once, but it could be many times.

I will end here as I have to get ready and off to filming, but all we are asking is that, and I hope you will agree, that if we can provide some education to new drivers about sharing the road with trucks, before they get on the road on their own and “learn by accident”, that we can help make them and all other road users safer, truckies included. What do you think? You can find the TRUCKIES Top Ten Tips at http://www.truckright.com.au I would welcome your thoughts. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.