Categories
Uncategorized

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.

Categories
Uncategorized

2nd July 2022, NRFA Conference is coming next week-end in Toowoomba.

Goodaye all, home Friday afternoon, out Sunday lunch. A bit of time to catch up with the family. Even planned to go to the pictures, but busy for school hols in NSW, so hopefully next time, but that will be a few weeks away. Trying to refit some shelves in the sleeper gap till I get some cupboards in the future, the KW ones pretty expensive and hope I can end up with something more workable. Icepack Services Toowoomba doing some very well thought out, designed and fitted cupboards inside and also excellent work outside and they will be helping. Sick of stuff on the floor behind the seats, so will try this for the interim.

Next week-end is the NRFA Conference in Toowoomba, so off to Melbourne tomorrow, load for Brissie from there, plan to be in Wednesday, unload, load a flat top loaded and take to Toowoomba, then truck booked in for 100,000 service in Toowoomba Friday, down and pick up two loaded “A” trailers that night after dinner and then have to be in Cloncurry by Monday afternoon with the “B” triple. So off straight after our truckies breakfast at the BP Charlton Sunday 10th July 7AM till noon.

All are welcome to attend the conference at the Toowoomba Golf Club, no charge to attend, but we would certainly like you to let us know you will be attending. If you want to attend the dinner that night, with an auction, Yogi Kendall as guest speaker, you will need to purchase tickets and again, let us know if you want to attend so we can cover for catering and numbers. The truckies breakfast is free and we will have a special sponsored brekkie deal on the day, so come along, have a say or ask a question and sign up and join the NRFA.

I have to catch up with my audiobooks page, pack some clothes and sort some more things for next week, so will keep it short and ask you to consider attending the conference and hope you will and come and say Goodaye. Till next time, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

Categories
Uncategorized

25th June 2022 Away again, naturally.

Goodaye all, back to normal it seems, in Brisbane now having a 24 hour break before heading off to Mackay in the morning. Thought I was getting two days home before off to Isa again, planned to go to the movies with my eldest son, started work on my extra steps on the truck, then told, no sorry, plans changed and off to work that night.

Into Newcastle for a couple of drops, pick ups and then load, again to find some changes, leave a bit off and now have to go to Brisbane to add in an urgent tank, even had to put a boat on, so good for floods, but the little 4hp won’t pull the b-double out of too much water.

Up the Pacific in the daylight, something I haven’t done in a while and again, welcome the Stopping Bays, but after a good feed at Moorelands and then trying to get into Brissie to get my 24 hour break in and by dark and into Queensland, the lack of anywhere to stop on the Gold Coast motorway into Brissie, not a stopping bay or even a shoulder for nearly the whole length is a concern and is on the list to TMR.

So have had some time today to catch up, complain to Transport for NSW about losing some more truck bays, TMR about some sideroads on the Landsborough Highway to see if we can have them left there for trucks and emails, friend requests etc.

Much work on the phone with setting up stuff for our conference coming up in Toowoomba, looking good and with many saying they will come.

Having missed an important meeting re the HVNL review on Friday, where I had to work, funny that, I have just spent an hour reading, another doing a survey and another responding to the suggestions. I have added a comment that we as drivers are the ones most affected, both now and into the future, yet how can I be involved when I have to work? This must change.

So into the shower, then bed and on the road in the morning. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

Categories
Uncategorized

19th June 2022 A weekend at home (or half at least)

Goodaye all, well half a week-end at home, the first for a while. Many drivers seem to be flat out, there are not enough people to do the work, whether it be mechanics, packers, drivers and even barristas. Heard there are currently 13,000 adds for them, I did not think we had that many!

So another trip north, this time as an ab-triple to a mine, then home to load cotton, unload cotton at another gin, then reload at yet another and back to Dubbo, a short visit home while the truck got a service (missed an “A” but back on track now) then Brisbane as a b-triple and home as a b-double. A fairly big week, nearly 5,500 ks, but some loading and unloading in there as well.

Many calls and time on the phone during the week with details and discussions re the NRFA Conference in Toowoomba on the 9th July at the Toowoomba Golf Club, a dinner that night with speaker and auction, then a Truckies Breakfast at the BP Charlton on Sunday 10th. BP will offer a free coffee with breakfast and Haultech Engineering, who you may know as the makers of the excellent ICEPACK, have agreed to sponsor the breakfast, so you should get a cheap brekkie, full details yet to be confirmed.

We will have a couple of speakers in the Saturday morning session, then a panel discussion with a wide group seeking to not only discuss issues, but to come up with some solutions to a few industry problems. We won’t solve them on the day, but we hope to be genuine and if all invited do attend, have those there who can make some decisions and hopefully then some headway.

So outside of a couple of jobs on the truck, I did look at “The Ice Road” movie as was fairly disappointed, stopped watching when it got too ridiculous, but will finish one day when nothing better to do. There have been few trucking movies that show us well, most want to highlight the bad, even Smokey and the Bandit, for the incredible success it was, showed a less than legal side. When “Prime Mover” was due to be filmed, they had an info session at the Dubbo Tourist building and I dropped in and offered my view and of course, wanted a spot for a truck promoting the industry and road safety. I was told that I would be the only one who watched it and they needed more.

For those of you who have seen it (and I did mange to be home to attend the premiere in Dubbo) it did not do the industry many favours. Yes it had a love story and a sort of truck love story too with the young bloke following his Dad, but it had a bad side and was a bit too contrived, for me at least.

So with Slim long gone, no good movies or much trucking music, we need someone new or if Jimmy Barnes will do another trucking song for us, maybe we will get heard somewhere else. Come on Jimmy, come for a trip and sing us a new song. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

Categories
Uncategorized

16th May 2022 from 11th now on TIK Tok too.

Goodaye all, I have a mate who calls me a media tart (or something like that depending on company at the time) and he has been in the media and music industry for years. So to keep up the good work, I put up my first TikTok video on my way to Darwin two weeks ago. Since then I have done two more and most comments have been good, a couple not so, but you can’t please all the people all the time. So if keen, check out “safetravelling” and let me know what you think.

Made a call to NT Dept of Infrastructure from Augathella on the way home from Darwin and I was very impressed when someone rang me back within 15 minutes. I have detailed some concerns, sent him some plans and details and will see where that goes. Had a phone hook up with Transport for NSW on some rest area work north of and hopefully eventually in Dubbo as well, there were four industry people invited and Tpt for NSW have listened to our concerns and made some changes to planning for each, but even more specifically the Tycannah Creek Rest Areas south of Moree. I was told of plans to “improve” these sites nearly 12 months ago, spent ages and many calls asking to see their plans and when finally got a copy, was not impressed.

I said that if they planned to remove any of the trees, we would have a big and public brawl. They have now changed their first plans to remove some of the trees, so I thank them for listening and hope this is a new and ongoing communication that will see us far more likely to have more input well before such things are done, because then it is too late to fix. The money is hard to come by and once built, you can’t fix it to work for us, no matter how good the original intent was.

Off to hook up a b-triple, then to Bourke to re-configure into an AB Triple and away north again. So only a short visit home and back into the frey. Till next week, Safe Travellling, Rod Hannifey.  

Categories
Uncategorized

5th June 2011 Darwin Ho!

Goodaye all, back into Mt Isa yesterday from Darwin, where it was nice and warm and muggy for all you southerners freezing your bits off. A bit of a drive with three trailers, lots of photos and some realisations. I stopped at some roadhouses and some truck bays and some new green reflector bays, but was talking with a driver at Truck Central, the big new roadtrain site at Wishart and he said his wife had come up for a trip and made a comment.

A moment aside here, what a good site, plenty of room for parking up to triples, a loading ramp, (which I used to double up trailers) and when I suggested it was good BP had built it, some one said (and I tried to ring, but will confirm) that yes BP built the fueling site, but NT Dept of Infrastructure supplied the funds/land for the parking. This has been done in Queensland before at Miriam Vale, but then the servo burnt down and some truckies complained the vanners took it over. It is a better way to get what we need and will be pursued much further.

His wife had said, “How come all the truck bays have bins and nothing else and all the car/caravan bays have toilets and shade and tables?” I had looked at some truck bays, stopped in one to make a phone call and thought they looked big enough, were paved and mostly (a few were missing some signage and the skidmarks confirm others miss them too) well signed. I looked at the many bays for caravans, mostly with NO TRUCK signs and thought they looked OK too.

But once this subject was raised, I looked a lot closer on the way back south. Many years ago, I did a trip up with Simons National Carriers and recall then, the one place with a toilet sign, you could not even park a semi on the shoulder to go and use the loo, let alone a triple and it seems, little has changed. There may have been one southbound caravan bay, where you could park safely on the shoulder, but most not.

So where do truckies go to the loo????????? How can they build some for them and not for us? Yes we can go to truckstops, but so can all the others, caravans have their own showers and toilets in some, but I am yet to see a truck with a toilet, but is that how far removed the road managers are from reality, that they think trucks have toilets?????

So I will be contacting NT Transport and Infrastructure with a list tomorrow on my way south. There are some big gaps. Next truck bay 75K etc, there were only two green reflector bays, but by magic a few more appeared over the last couple of days, and toilets. From Mt Isa to the border, signed stopping bays at least filled the gaps between truck bays, but north from Augathella on the way up I had a strap come loose and was looking for a spot to stop for kilometres. Asked another driver to be told of a spot completely unmarked, but you can turn a triple roadtrain in there, yet wouldn’t even know. That too now has some green reflectors.

So TMR Qld will also be getting a call, but I did try that last week and spent over 30 minutes on the phone till it dropped out.

But then there is the far bigger subject and problem, why are we going backwards with truckstops? I think the blame lies with Woolies and Caltex when they started to build in shopping centres, that became their focus, then Coles/Shell tried to compete and then shut every one of their truckstops, including in Mt Isa which now has bugger all. So now Caltexs such as Yamba, Nebo, Longreach, Wyong, Yarroweah and others have over the last few years, closed their kitchens and we are left with take away crap. But who delivers every single thing they sell, including their fuel and yes, in the suburbs there is one on every corner, but Mt Isa, Longreach and other towns that we supply, now don’t care about us!

It must be said, BP has grown their sites, but even at Ballina they only have takeaway, no kitchen and I can only hope, that is a single change, not their future plans and yes, I have already had that discussion with them. I rang and complained to Shell before, I have had many discussions with Caltex re Longreach and other sites, but where is it all going? Like in covid, how the hell are we supposed to stay fit healthy and not get fatigued, when we can’t get good food, and don’t have suitable places to get good sleep? Is it simply cost cutting, we can get rid of staff and bugger the truckies, they can eat what we dish up? What do you think and have you made your views known to any of the trucking associations or the fuel sellers. Who does it best now, is anyone filling the gaps? Till next week, Safe travelling, Rod Hannifey.

Categories
Uncategorized

1st May 2022

Goodaye all, I have cut back on my wordpress account, so cannot put up videos or photos for now. But I have put a video up on my Facebook page Rod Hannifey seeking some common sense and positivity on social media, instead of negativity. Please have a look and I would welcome your comments. I am in Darwin and on Facebook, will have some photos for next week. Till then, Safe Travelling, Rod.

Categories
Uncategorized

21st May 2022 Putty Road Truck Drivers Memorial

Goodaye all, I have just returned to Singleton from attending and speaking at the Putty Road Memorial. Yet another one of the few places and times, truckies are recognised. Ten more names of drivers who have died or passed on and who were in the industry, were added today. Like many events, covid has meant a gap in such events and to see truckies attending and family members laying wreaths or flowers and remembering those who have left our roads is very moving.

Last time I attended, I was able to get a permit from NHVR and have the TIV b-double on site. With a few issues re trailers and work, I had thought I would be letting them down, but managed to get loaded Thursday, spent a day and a bit at Singleton and then spoke today, will attend the dinner and then hit the road.

When I pulled up to load Thursday afternoon, I had to wait outside a yard with trucks and trailers inside and a bloke walked up to his fence and said, “I don’t always agree with what you say, but the industry is buggered. I was cleaning out the shed and reading old copies of Truckin’ Life and Truck and Bus and we are still asking for what we wanted fixed then.” He said when I was loaded to come and have a look at his 900.

I started loading, had to jig things around a bit and another local truck, turned up outside. He sat there, perhaps on hourly rate and was happy to wait. Needing to change ends on the tautliners etc, I suggested they bring him in and unload him while I caught up. I did not need to, no one else thought of it, but it was the right thing to do. In loading, it was an ugly load and in the end we got it done, but I really ran out of ratchets and straps, loose light stuff over other stuff and using mezzanine floors, having to double and triple strap, so no 34 pallets on and go. The blokes loading me had been due to finish half an hour earlier.

So now loaded and knowing I had time to spare, I pulled outside so they could lock the gates and the last fellow head home and went to chat with Keith, met his son and looked at his 900. He says it has cost him a lot on money and I thought it must have been a project truck, but he drove it for years and then his son for some as well. It is 95% finished and he has been busy of late, so not had as much time to work on it. It looks magnificent and will go back to do a bit of work when finished.

There were a few old trucks at the Putty Road Memorial, and I spoke with many drivers and at the end, a lady came up to me and said, she enjoyed my talk, but there are some ratbags out there. That has always been the case, the few who behave badly, tailgate cars and caravans, (particularly when then is no place to pass for kilometres) park at the bowser while they get a coffee when there are only two, fail to indicate or thank people when they let them in or out, are the ones others remember and think we are all the same.

So you say, you can’t be perfect all the time and you are right, none of us can. Like you, I make mistakes and sometimes do the wrong thing, but I try hard not to, I will own up and I will thank others. A few weeks ago, I pulled out into a merge lane and the fellow in the next (and totally separate) lane beside me went off. He knew my boss, he knew my truck and I would not have a job by the end of the day. I honestly could not work out what his problem was and thought it must have been the truck I had pulled out across, coming in the other direction. It was one of those intersections we all hate, you wait and wait and then have to pick the best spot to get out in a loaded b-double.

The one going the other way did not have a problem, but the bloke I pulled out beside kept on for 5 minutes, even after I had apologised (and I have made certain I was in the right, there is a separate merge lane beside his which they can’t access, it is designed and signed that way) and I nearly caused a big crash etc. In the end others told him to pull his head in. Now the poor bugger may have had a bad day, he may simply, once having started his rant, not wanted to accept he had made a mistake, but nothing happened and he could simply have said, “Sorry mate”.

If we can’t work together, when no one else really cares about us, then what hope have we got? Yes in my talk today I spoke of losing a mate, Chris Harmer, how important such mates are on the road, about making an effort, joining an association or group of some kind, ringing road authorities to report road conditions and how yes, we are still asking for the same stuff we wanted fixed 20 years ago. Why is that and what can we do?

When old mate with the 900 did thank me for the green reflectors, I at least felt I had not completely let him down. I agreed we have not solved all the problems, if any, but what is the alternative? I can just walk away and have a normal drivers life, or I can keep trying. I will, what will you do?

Congratulations to the organisers and the locals who support the Putty Road Memorial, the rain may have had an impact, it did come and go, but they as I said, are one of the few industry groups who recognise and value drivers and we need much more of that from where I sit. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

Categories
Uncategorized

14th May 2022 Farewell Mr Positive.

Goodaye all, here I am in rainy Brisbane, got in last night, waiting to find a way north west, or north then west. Seems some roads are closed again. I know it is my fault for the rain, getting the truck washed last week and not even a photo to show for it and then it rained on the way home Saturday night. Tomorrow will check the maps and see where and when I can go. This morning, cleaned out the toolboxes, the cab, caught up on paperwork and this afternoon, had Simon from Atlas Balance bring me out some late lunch and some stickers for the truck.

Years ago, Ken Wilkie had balance rings on his Kenworth I think, plus Cats Eyes for the tyre pressures and a special oil filter, so he was keen to look at what was then, a bit outside the norm. Simon, after years of having them made overseas, bit the bullet and now has them made here to his spec and they will fit all trucks.

I was visiting Dubbo during the week as I do occasionally, got a couple of minor gate repairs done, fitted some hooks for EIPs and had the trailers serviced. Then got the steer tyres rotated and fitted the balance rings we could not do last week. The truck was at about 57000 k then and my first impression was that I could “feel” the road more and having driven to Moree, unloaded and reloaded then back to Newcastle to get a service, it felt more secure in the bucketing rain I drove in nearly all the way. Down the track we will do the drive and see what else changes.

A big week-end next week-end, Dubbo show, election and I am to talk at the Putty Road Memorial, if I can get there or anywhere with this rain, so another week-end away from home and family, but that is what we do. With this rain, I am only getting wet and messed about, others have lost everything and some, more than once in two months.

I have had an approach about attending a caravan show in Queensland, someone has seen our videos on truck rest areas and Caravans and Roadtrains, highly recommended viewing for all (and the drone footage of a triple overtaking a triple is awesome) at www.whitelinetv.com.au

If you visit the whiteline site, you may see some videos about Mr Positive, Chris Harmer. I knew Chris for over 30 years and whilst he was on and off the road and in different jobs over those years, his last with Burkinshaws and before that Shearers in Wagga, he had a love for trucks and life I have seen in few people.

I had hoped to be able to take part in the interviews, but was always going the wrong way when it could be arranged with Chris. He went to work on a Tuesday, had a headache on the Wednesday and was in hospital with a brain tumour by the end of the week. There are three videos, “Mr Positive” “A Catch up” and the last, an “Interview with Mr Positive”. Having raised this site, I have just watched the last one. Chris passed away in February. I did speak with him the week before he died and as always at the end, he would tell me to stay safe.

Over the last 5 or so years before his illness, we would talk weekly, sometimes just a catch up, he would be on the road and call me, or vice versa. We would discuss the world’s problems, then our own and he was often a good sounding board for ideas, or simply to get the weight of the world off my shoulders. Our longest chat I think went for well over 3 hours and there was little we did not discuss. To have a friend like that to talk to, is something we often need, but don’t always have.

I miss him and mourn his passing, but in watching the videos, you cannot fault his faith, his positivity and his resolve. He had children with special needs and that weighed on him and put pressure on him and his wife. He had changed his jobs over time to be home more, Burkinshaws went out of their way to support him and I would like to recognise and thank them for that. They bought him a 700 HP Volvo, their first, they specced the SAR for him before he was forced to retire, but I think it was a very special relationship, again, one few drivers have with their employer. From where I sit, each thought the other a part of their family.

So Goodbye Mr Positive, I do hope you have found peace in heaven and to all us left on this earth, I hope you have a friend who is as special. If you don’t, perhaps you can be that special friend to another. I miss our chats and hope you travel safe Chris, farewell for now. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.  

Categories
Uncategorized

8th May 2022 ATA Convention

Goodaye all, just home this morning and off tomorrow, so short and sweet. Short week on the road, nothing special but got the truck and trailers wheel aligned while attending the ATA convention. Was to fit some steer balance rings, but they did not have a torque wrench, so will sort this week and do a rotation at the same time.

I saw the doctor at 7PM, pretty keen to see a top Sydney surgeon in Dubbo that time on a Sunday night. Top bloke, last repair went well and working good. New damage is not just tendon, but torn shoulder as well. Says he would recommend surgery, but we will have to see. Then got to work to have a trailer problem, had to tranship the load, finished late, went to bed and off to Newcastle early. Unload and reload and managed to get it done on the Monday after sitting for hours waiting to load. Had a good feed at Moorelands on the way up, one of the few old roadhouses on the Pacific now.

Just made it to Ballina for the loo, a kip, then radio and did a live truckstop revue. No kitchen, just fast food and had a quick shower with Luke and Jess, was a bit crowded, but made for good radio some said afterwards. Back to bed and off again and on into Brisbane Tuesday, visit Icepack to sort some future cupboards (a top bunch of helpful blokes there).

In Brissie got the truck washed, worked local for the day, then a lift to the convention. In for a quick hello and drink, then into the serious part Thursday morning. Attended sessions the whole time, did my spot as one of three presenters in “The Future of Truck Rest Areas” that afternoon. Spoke with many, asked lots of questions, may get the award for the most questions asked, if not me, then NRFA would be a shoo in.

NRFA had 8 members as a delegation, two more attending in their own right and congratulations to Sally Tipping for her previously winning the NSW Transport Woman of the year, which then saw her nominated for the ATA  awards. She did not win, but we all support her and are proud of her efforts and achievements. So we had 10 members there and had another join during the convention, welcome Andy.

We had a debrief Saturday morning and I have written a piece for our NRFA members. We knew we could not and would not, change the world, but you have to be in it to win it. You can sit on the outside and whinge and complain, or you can go in, have a say and give it a shot. From conversations, contributions, questions, or simply from a comment, we hope to at the very least, made a difference, we may see it, we may never know, but achieve something valuable, but none of that will happen unless you attend.

You may well all be sick of me saying, join an association, you cannot do it alone, but when you join, you must do so with the intent of being a part of it and taking part. You can’t just pay your money and expect “someone” else to do it all. Every one of our members who attended, lost time and income from their own businesses or job, none of us have big companies behind us that will pay us to attend or keep going without us. I would like to thank all those NRFA members who attended and for their efforts whilst there. I do hope it was worthwhile, but only time will tell. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey

Categories
Uncategorized

1st May 2022 Not enough hours.

Goodaye all, off to Albury Sunday night, I reckon the CTI (central tyre inflation) on the steer could have saved me from at the least, a big fright and at worst, having the left hand steer tyre go flat as I hooked in at 100 kph through the sweeping right hand bend over the top (it is a long way down there) of the Hume Highway at the end of the Olympic Way. It went off and I thought it an unusual spot, no rain or slowed down for the pressure to change and all felt ok, but then it went off again with blow out front. It was of course, already putting air in to balance the loss and as I can see the pressure live, I knew it was not flat yet, so I slowed down, got down the road to where I could stop, found the piece of steel, (looked like a chain link opened up when we pulled it out the next morning) and so took the earliest exit and idled down to the BP for the night.

A delay in the morning, some ours too, phone messages not passed on etc, but it seems some low life had been slashing tyres round Albury and the tyre fellow was as busy as. Managed to do a repair, a clean in and out to plug, no other damage and that left me late enough, not to be able to get to Melbourne and reload, but then managed to get a service done at Twin City Kenworth. Took a bit longer than planned and did not get my one extra done. Leccy was too late back and they had waited hoping he would arrive in time, but I will prevail one day with this hanging on issue. Thanks for fitting me in.

Rest of the week I had planned, others had different plans, but got 4 legs in, service, picked up a couple of bits for Rod mods to the TIV for when I get those hours spare and home yesterday. Did a bit of sorting, then checked trailers to go, one tyre needed doing, then backing it in, thought front axle not right, found broken U bolt, run back to catch workshop, and that took up much more of my afternoon than I had planned.

After only near three full week-ends spare time, not full days or week-end of course, have managed to complete most of clear coat on bullbar. Wish I could have had it done by an expert, you won’t tell from 5 metres away, but will preserve paint on bar, just the front of the cab and fuel tanks to do now!!!

Still have some of the things I had planned to be done before it hit the road (like the clear coat), still to do, lights etc, but you can only do so much while working fulltime and on the road. Still managed to fit in a meeting with Transport for NSW for a couple of hours on rest areas on the Newell at Moree, Narrabri and Dubbo. Six others in meeting, but I had my say and I sincerely hope they are now listening. They did say the need for consultation only came up recently and I will take some credit, because I have certainly been giving them a hard, but respectful, time, saying they have been doing it wrong, not talking to those who sleep in such places and therefor, not PROVIDING US WITH PLACES TO SUITABLY MANAGE OUR FATIGUE.

Then another meeting with the ATA, as I will be presenting there on Thursday at their convention o the Gold Coast on “The Future of Truck Rest Areas”, so a big rest are couple of weeks. The ATA have come out in support of my National Truck Rest Area Strategy and I welcome that and will of course be pushing that hard and it is part of one of the following recommendations.

NRFA will have a delegation of 8 members attending and we aim to seek all association’s support for the recommendations from the Senate Inquiry into a Safe and Viable Road Transport Industry.

Had an MRI, yes have torn the left bicep clean off, not too much pain, but what to do. Seeing doctor tonight for clearance from last one and hope he can stitch it up for me and back to work (in my dreams, you all know how keen I am) but we will see. Have to do shopping etc and could use another 10 hours for stuff, but not available, yet again. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.