10th December. The K200 returns.

Goodaye all. The TIV K200 reached about 1.3 million kilometres two weeks ago. The Cummins EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) Euro 5 motor has been replaced with another. What do you think such an engine is worth? Well over $60,000 just to buy, then you have the removal of the old and the fitting of the new. What do you think a new K200 is worth? Well over $380,000 to replace this one as it stands, with all the extras fitted and supplied by those who support the TIV, on top of the truck itself.

You must agree we are talking large sums of money for most people. When you consider the cost of the whole TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle including the two trailers will then take the cost of the unit to above $700,000, no wonder I cannot get someone to give me one to do this fulltime. Anyone who is keen, please email me.

Trucks are seen by many as either a hindrance on the road, or a hazard, particularly when you hear about truck crashes and blitzes, yet if you look at the figures fairly, instead of going off the percentage of trucks versus cars simply by numbers and look at distance travelled, then the figures do a complete reversal. Most interstate truckies do 200,000 kilometres per year or more depending on the job they do. How many of you do that amount of travel?

In 5 years, that is one million kilometres travelled on our less than perfect roads, sharing those roads with many who are not taught to share them with us. Hitting all those potholes, culverts and road deformities which not only impact into the truck causing wear and tear, increasing maintenance costs, they impact into the driver and then, back into the road. Can you truly imagine that. Living in a 2m by 1m box, bouncing up and down the highways, trying to find a good place for a feed, a shower, a toilet and then, a place to sleep. Many of our rest areas have little or no shade and if we all drove mostly at night, how do we sleep in the day?

There are many worse jobs, but I feel there are few who really understand what we give up for you to have your food, your clothes and your fuel. It is a lonely life, hard on families and not for all. But it must be done and it must be done with the aim of getting home safely. We do not go to work to crash, we go to work to feed our families, even if we do not get to see them enough and we go to work to deliver for Australia.

Next week I will add some photos of where I live up to 6 days a week and some of the facilities I use. I would ask all of you to really give some thought to this life. We do not want Gold Plated toilets and showers every 50 kilometres, but we do need more rest areas, better facilities and shade and the occasional toilet would be nice and then we need good truck stops to get good meals at. With todays life of fast food, you might think it good to be on the road and eating out each night, but believe me, it is not good for your health, your pocket or your life, if you do not make the effort to control what you eat.

You all have the choice of going to a supermarket, probably a choice of more than one, but in the roughly 1800 kilometres between Melbourne and Brisbane I travel each week, there are three that if I am really lucky, I might get a park near them to do my shopping. Just imagine parking a 26 metre long vehicle at your favourite shopping centre, good luck. All we ask, is for some education of motorists about sharing the road with trucks, good safe roads, reasonable rest areas so we can safely mange our fatigue and a little bit of recognition for and empathy of the job we do. Would that be a fair request? Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

3rd December 2017 Blogging?

Goodaye all. I must admit I do not read many other blogs, there is not enough time. But I would welcome any suggestions. I am starting to get into planning my Churchill Fellowship trip for next year and that was the aim of this blog initially, to have it in place before I left, to disseminate info during the trip to those interested and to help with my report after the trip. My local paper, the Australasian College of Road Safety and Owner Driver have all shown interest in what I do during the trip and this blog seemed to me, the best way to do that.

Like anything it takes time to get it going, both for me as the writer to gain not just the ability, but the feel for those who will read it. My column in Owner Driver is mainly for and read by drivers with a few others, where here, over time, I hope to get to a wider and different audience. It has been my view and has been extolled by many others over time, that in Owner Driver, I am preaching to the converted, those on the road and that there is a much bigger need to get to a wider public audience with our issues.

The TIV K200 has a new engine fitted, the old block was beyond repair and now the list of other bits will hopefully be addressed, the seat repaired with new rollers etc. I have certainly missed it the last two weeks (thanks to Calvin for the loan of a frig from my last blog post), having all my bits and pieces, the daily things you use, the bed, curtains and Icepack, let alone the other extras. One thing was immediate in difference. The lack of pressure from not having the Electronic Work Diary (EWD).

I still have to fill in my logbook and comply and all the cameras and inspections mean you cannot fudge it much anyway, but I have read reports and spoken to others who use them as a company tool as well for compliance and they have said, from the minute you start, you are running to meet the clock. I have had a working EWD for over two years, though they are not yet legally recognised. I was on the EWD Advisory panel, the only full time driver involved and only because I badgered them as soon as I heard such a panel was being convened.

I wanted to make sure drivers got a look and were heard before it became legislation and we all know how hard it is to have it changed before it becomes law, let alone once it is law. I have argued you cannot introduce an EWD under the current rules and regs, which see work and rest in 15 minute increments. The road authorities say that 1 minute work is 15 minutes work, but won”t recognise anything less than 15 minutes as rest and this can see you lose time in a day, that you cannot recover and the EWD just exacerbates that. For those of you who work to a time clock, imagine having to record every change, where and when you did it for every minute you work with little flexibility.

This is all we are asking, for some recognition and flexibility in that, not all drivers and often, not all jobs and days, are the same in this job. According to some authority staff, if I stop at 3.01 then I cannot record 15 minutes rest until 3.30, so I could lose 14 minutes. Now if my clock is one minute slow, and that is the time I use all the time, then I would not lose that 14 minutes, but an EWD takes away that flexibility completely. Yes it can help you manage your time, but it can be the biggest stress to comply and the penalties are severe. Not only that, there are people now who think having EWDs in every truck will stop all truck crashes. What rot, but they will push that barrow and do not care, because they will not be monitored or punished for being 10 minutes over time that night.

The fact that the majority of truck/car fatal crashes are caused by the car (see the latest NTI crash stats report which quotes 93% car at fault in such crashes in which they were the insurer) and what will an EWD do to stop that? Absolutely nothing, but it will put me under more stress and scrutiny than most other workers. Do we need more stress while driving on the road? What are we doing to educate those car drivers about sharing the road with trucks, both for their own safety and for ours, very little, though I have been pushing for that for years. I do recognise the NSW Centre for Road Safety has finally just done an add about sharing the road with trucks and thank them and would welcome your comments on it. But there is a long way to go. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

26th November 2017 Melancholy.

Goodaye all. It would take me three pages to fully detail this week. Some downs, some ups and like much in the life of an interstate driver, most of it came either unannounced, or by the actions of others. Nothing much different to all peoples lives true, we all get hit by surprise, with the good and the bad. Some win more, some suffer more and we all hope that those who suffer, have someone to share their pain and or to help them through it.

I will give you the dot point version, so as not to bore you all and certainly after the last couple of weeks, I don’t want you to think I am getting a bit down at heel.

  1. The engine in the K200 finally had enough of cracked rings, (they have been cracked for sometime, but it still went well and there were others in the fleet worse off than me, though mine was next in the que). It told me so with some warnings, but did not quite make it waiting for it’s turn. Cab up and down 3 times, covered in oil along with the exhaust, not recommended for either. Towed home, boy do truck towies have some things to fix. How long it is off the road will be decided next week.
  2. My children, I love them all and each is different and in this job, you are never there for them as a father should be. Yes you can ring them, you can tell them you love them, but you are too often, far away when they need you. That will not explain fully, but it is another weight on my mind. How can I do enough for them?
  3. Into another truck, short of drivers, change some gear over, not enough as I have mostly lived in the K200, 5 nights or more a week for over 6 years now. I have put too much of my life not only into the TIV, but spent too much of it in there. But we must earn a quid. This truck needed some TLC, one view says the driver did not get fixed what he wanted, another says he simply would not write it down or push hard enough. Working on getting it sorted, nothing serious, or I would not be driving it, but little things that either make my job harder, or less enjoyable.
  4. Go to Sydney, do two DC drops, each its own challenge, then find I am off to Melbourne direct, not home via Dubbo as originally told. Things change, I accept that, but a little notice or the effort to tell me, instead of me chasing to find out will make a big difference in my life on the road. Road works at loading point, “Choose Alternate Route” sign at the turn off in a b-double, looks OK, bugger that, round the corner, what clown said a semi could not get in? Told open 24 hours, on site, not inducted , “Go back” the man said, then “Only joking if your first time here”. Funny heh?
  5. Loading, hurry up we go home at 5.30PM, now 5 and another truck in front. Told 24 hours, “Not this part of the plant”. Loading me in his hurry to get home, lucky bugger, load of recycling on, he’s gone. Love the smell, too late to lift boards or floors, mmmmm.
  6. Ah well, time now to catch up on sleep and a shower, will ring my mate Stephen. How about meeting me for some “TRUCK That” filming on the Hume instead of coming to Dubbo next week. Good idea. We planned, then I spent an hour adjusting headlights, tea, shower at Marulan and to Gundagai to bed. Stephen arrives, filming all good and we decide to do “TRUCK That for RVers” to follow on from the good comments on the sharing rest areas video. Walk past a van, “No sign for the UHF I comment”, “Yes we do he says” and we chat. I ask would he like to be in a video to help others and yes he will. Thanks Steven and Bev, though Bev watched. Let us hope it will help make the roads safer in the long run. Watch this space.
  7. No keys for depot, try and sort to get in, so not locked outside for whole week-end. Thanks Katie and Anthony for your help. Will unload Monday, what time slot I was asked. What time slot? No one said. Check back copy of paperwork, due 11AM SATURDAY! Yeh right, that was going to happen, not. Help me and tell me such things and I will do my best. Don’t and I can’t. Many calls and numbers tried, no phone to receiving, will go and try my luck. Yes will unload me, thanks. I’ll start said forkie, then shiftchange and they will finish you, never saw him again.
  8. Phone calls, to Vicroads, fix the hole (again) just up the hill from Glenrowan please.
  9. ARRB starting on new National Guidelines for truck rest areas. Good and you will be able to contribute soon.
  10. NTC, excellent the guideline review is under way, but there is a much bigger problem, not enough rest areas. My new years program, make a lot of noise and have started working on the plan.
  11. Have to make a list for the K200 for all the little jobs while off the road and work on a week off.
  12. There were other bits and pieces, none of major issue yet.
  13. Wash the trailers inside from end to end to get most of the smell out. Love my job.
  14. About to run out of clothes, no frig, mine died and still tied in K200, so no way to carry much, working on another, anyone got a spare for a couple of weeks?
  15. Well that will do for now, time for a shower, though it has just stared to piss down outside. Missing my Icepack and my bed, in the 200 of course. Loading bulk DG tomorrow and back on the road again. I think there could be a song there. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

18th November. TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle History/Sponsors 2.

Goodaye all. I first got involved with road safety when on the road one Christmas and some truckies were bagging vanners out. I thought at the time, who will teach them unless we do? So I did the Caravan Survey and that lead to lots of other efforts. Working for Finemores Liquids driving tankers at the time, I spoke with Ron Finemore with a list of ideas and they then took me to my first Australian Trucking Association convention in Adelaide. I was told by a senior boss there “We would open a dialogue with you for a drivers view” and never heard from him again.

Toll bought Finemores and over the years I tried writing emails and went over and around my boss at times (and he happily told me he knew and it would not help me) and got frustrated I could not get them to support my aims. After meeting Paul Little and giving him another proposal (at another ATA conference, this time in Newcastle) I was called into another meeting and told, “We cannot afford to do what you want”.

As you might imagine, I was not impressed and along with some other issues, after 29 years continuous service, decided to leave and find someone who at the least, could see value in my ideas. After again trying all levels in Toll except for Mr Little, who it seems I could not get to through working there, I gave notice and wrote letters to 30 transport companies. I detailed my plan/dream of a truck to promote the industry and one company did reply weeks later after I had started with Rod Pilon, saying they would love to have me as a driver, but could not afford to support my road safety.

In my letters, I detailed the idea of the TIV as I did not think it fair to get a job and then ask for the support needed to do such a thing. I sent a copy to Rod Pilon, had a meeting with him and he said, “I’ll give you a go and if it all works out, I’ll buy you a new truck and trailers in 12 months”. I started out in truck 7, an ex Bunkers K104 with series 60 Detroit (just like old times from Finemores) with trailers 142 and 132, then Ken Wilkie offered me his truck and I started the TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle at the Dubbo show with Ken’s truck and Rod Pilon Transport Trailers.

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Rod Pilon agreed to support my aims and efforts and said as long as it did not cost him an arm and a leg, and he still has them all, we would see how it went. True to his word, he and I separately attended yet another ATA conference, this time in Canberra and Vawdrey supplied the semi-trailer for the conference auction. We were sitting apart and the trailer got sold, then they asked would the under bidder like one at the same price?

The under bidder was heard to say, I want a b-double set and Paul Vawdrey said, “We can do that” and it was announced that Rod Pilon had bought a b-double set of trailers. I got up and walked over to Rod (and on the way got stopped by yet another bloke who had gone to school with him, they are everywhere!) and as I approached, Rod got up, shook my hand and said, “There are your trailers”.

We worked out a list and I said to Rod, I wanted to design a set of curtains and did I ever bite off more than I had thought, but in the end, I came to Rod with a graphic of the curtains and he said, “MMMMM”. To be fair, it did look busy on a small laptop screen, but he waited for me in the yard when I got home with the first load after picking the trailers up in Melbourne and this time he said, “You have done well, they look terrific”.

That support has continued, my ten years at Rod Pilon Transport came up this year and with the current curtains, when the new K200 was ordered, I said to Rod, “I want to do new curtains for the new truck” and he said OK and never saw them till I turned up in the yard with them fitted. There are few company owners who would allow a driver to ever do that and there are things on the truck and trailers Rod Pilon has never seen, but he has given me the freedom to do all this to his equipment and I will be forever grateful for such support. If not for that support, the TIV would not exist.

Thank you to Rod Pilon and all at Rod Pilon Transport for their help and in allowing me to at the very least, start the TIV and then to continue those efforts for now into the tenth year. How do you really say thank you to that? Cheers and Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

13th November 2017

Goodaye all, it has been a bugger of a week, so my apologies for my tardiness. Roadtraining on Monday with liquid fertilizer, that for the second container did not want to come out, so a long day from 6.45AM till just in time home, at 11.45 PM that night. Hooking up trailers in the dark after unloading and being hungry, as was not in my normal truck, so no tucker. Geez, getting a good feed, particularly outside of hours or when you are in a different spot, is getting harder.

A breakdown Tuesday evening, put me behind schedule and then chasing to keep things in line, meet timeslots in Brisbane Wednesday, a yard where you can get in, have to split to unload, then can’t turn without screwing the wheels off, so a few goes backing the b-double to get out, drive 2 kilometres to have to split trailers again to load, back to the yard, getting repairs, picking up a gearbox for one son, back to Dubbo, tyres and filter and an air leak to be fixed and then ran late, so a later timeslot to load that meant an even later get into bed, though did manage tea and finally a shower, but want to be in Melbourne to unload and reload Friday, or be stuck there for the week-end.

Going into Melbourne, rang Vicroads about a pothole I rang about 2 weeks ago, patched it seemed, but now worse that before, next complaint about another closed rest area, only an informal one true, but still one less space, then another call to Vicroads coming into Melbourne about the 5kilometre traffic que, in a line to unload, then just in time to load to be told it was stuffed up Friday and why am I there so late? Sorry mate, I have been trying since early this morning, then missing paperwork, leftover pizza, thanks Rick and into bed.

Got out of Melbourne in the early hours after my regulation break thinking traffic will be gone, to find bridge beams being delivered, needed a kip on the way, nearly home, a leaking tyre, rang to organise to find I am also due at youngest son’s formal for school, got there in time, next morning off to help another son move, just needed to go for another drive, home in time to jump in truck and go to work, then problems with a fuel card, that delayed me another hour and a half, meant another late night, and now here I am back in Brisbane, loading out tomorrow.

You have to love this job. There is always something and far too often, something out of the drivers control to delay us, yet the flexibility to deal with such things is often not only at our cost, lack of a shower, a feed or sleep time, yet everyone else still wants the freight delivered, timeslots met and if I don’t, then you get held over, lose wages and productivity. All we need is some flexibility, instead of a logbook that tells when I can and cannot drive, based on what, not its’ knowledge of the job or my needs and who will fine me for my lack of compliance?

Someone who gets paid overtime, who can do a double shift, who does not have to live by those rules, made by those who will never sit their bum in a truck to see the goods for people delivered. And now I have to get mine in one to get to the other side of town to go to bed to load in the morning. Gotta run, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

5th November 2017. Newcastle Transport Awareness Day.

Goodaye all. My humble apologies for missing last weeks instalment. I attended the Newcastle Transport Awareness Day, the 22nd, all previously held on the Newcastle foreshore till this year, but now at the Maitland Showground. They have raised very serious money for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter service over the years and have had a few new faces involved on the committee in the last few years. Unless you have been involved in setting up such an event, and even with a long history such as here, if you walk in to take over from those before you, it is a lot of work.

I had planned to attend the dinner on the Friday night and was asked to speak, but had to do another trip, so offered an apology and got out of Melbourne late Friday evening. There was a few in front of me when I arrived, so a few hours delay, but thanks to the boys at King of the Road Truckwash in Albury for a terrific job, considering it had rained every one of the five legs that week and also the previous week, so it was dirty.

I pulled up south of Gundagai to go to bed and found oil leaking out of the axle gasket. At 1AM, nothing to do but go to bed. I rang the workshop foreman in the morning and we arranged to get it sorted at the Sydney depot and while I fuelled and the gasket was replaced, I then touched up the trailer curtains with a felt pen. Got into Maitland and after some more tidying up, completed some pinstripingĀ  and then went and had tea with Stephen from Whiteline TV who was also attending. Back to the truck, wiping down wheels etc till they turned the lights out and to bed in my usual abode, this week 7 nights in the TIV.

We went up to watch the convoy converge, I was loaded so did not want to drop the trailers and had banners to put up etc and on return Stephen did some filming of the convoy as it arrived at the showgrounds. Well done to all who put in thousands of hours in total to present their trucks in such a gleaming showcase, millions of dollars of new and old equipment, proudly displayed during their mostly, one day a week off.

I thank the organisers for the invite and was glad to attend, my third time over the years. The first time was the very first event with the original TIV trailer curtains and they had a hole in them from someone else’s failure to do the right thing. It became a dragged out row, but was eventually resolved and that curtain was patched and now resides at the Road Transport Hall of Fame in Alice Springs.

I went with the specific aim of doing a seminar and showing our sharing rest areas video, but due to someone else booking the hall, could not do so. I was asked to help with the judging and then when that was done, we did the interviews and our bit for TRUCK THAT November, which should be out this week. There was a good crowd during the day, I gave away copies of Owner Driver and the Truckies Top Ten Tips children’s version, had many take photos and ask questions and thank Stephen for looking after the TIV and inquiries while I did the judging with others.

Such industry events are often our one chance to not only have the public see and hopefully appreciate our vehicles, but I still feel we often let them get away without having them educated about the other side of our industry to that which they are exposed in the media, generally all bad. The seminars were a chance and I again, wish it could have happened. Obviously the families of truckies do not need to be told, but when the only press we get is bad, we must take every opportunity to show our good side, the side that delivers the food, the clothes, the fuel and the life we lead in Australia.

How many of you have been in a truck for a trip? How many have spoken with a truckie and truly understand our issues? Not enough and unfortunately, getting the right people who will not only recognise the issues and perhaps, even do something to help us, is damn hard work. If you want to help, let me know. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

21st October 2017. A bit of my history.

I started work in transport with Tony Newton Transport when I left school at 15. Tony ran roadtrains from Brisbane to Mt Isa each week and I looked after the office, took bookings and loaded trucks. With Tony I drove my first car on the road, first semi and roadtrain and did some trips, including to Mt Isa to recover a trailer, bogged and dumped near Kynuna when the road was still dirt. I still recall having to ring Ma’s at Longreach to check to see if the road was open, before the truck left Brisbane each Friday night, sometimes riding home on my bicycle after 10 at night when the 2nd trailer was finally loaded.

Tony sold out to Frigmobile and he did arrange a job there for me as well. I again started in the office, doing manifesting, then went onto the dock loading trailers, then on the forklift in the coldstores and then onto rigid trucks doing deliveries etc. I did country runs to Kingaroy and other spots in my Commer 8 tonner with a Perkins engine. A few subbies let me drive their trucks including a then big truck, a G89 Volvo. Frigmobile had an old Atkinson, then Isuzus for local prime movers and mainly used subbies for linehaul. I remember an old Oshkosh and all manner of rigs

John from Trial Bay Haulage was a character, Sally Watkins with his black and gold Kenworth doing the roadtrains to Mt Isa and many others come to mind and Kelvin and Stanley Fuller, now a large concern in Brisbane, K and S Transport, ran a purple and white K100 which did the Brisbane to Sydney shuttle. Stories from drivers obviously helped fuel my passion for the road and some scared me even more!

I had a dispute over a truck and left in a huff, went to drive for Inghams chickens in their little Fiats, doing deliveries of fresh chickens to KFC stores far and wide, even overseas to Bribie Island on occasion and put on a bit of weight eating too much each day. Then I went to Luya Julius, where I started as a courier driver, then went into the container park, becoming supervisor for a number of years. I also did costing, fleet allocation a few times and did occasional trips, or week end runs to the rail or wharf.

Finemores then bought them out and the container park slowed, so I moved over to fuel tankers, running petrol and diesel from Ampol in Brisbane to Dubbo, 2 drivers sharing a truck and b-double set of tanks, based in Goondiwindi. We started with an F10 Volvo and tri/bogey 23m b-double, went to an FH 10 with 25m tri/triĀ  and then into Ford Louisvilles with Detroit Series 60 engines, which did very well for Finemores, being nearly the mainstay of the fleet till Ford stopped making trucks.

Then we started running all over the place, to Melbourne and Sydney and often, you did not know where you would be tomorrow, let alone next week. At one time I was inducted into 12 different fuel terminals in three states and that was a bit unusual, as even the AIP passport books we had to keep, simply did not have enough pages.

Toll then bought out Finemores and eventually after 29 years of continuous service, though with three companies, I left there, not having been able to find anyone in Toll who would help with my aim, to have a truck to promote the road transport industry and road safety. Had I not left, I doubt the TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle would exist. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

 

TRUCK That Australia 1

Goodaye all. Last Sunday night we launched TRUCK That Australia and whilst I have played with the link, I can’t sort it now and must away to work, so please go to Whiteline TV and view there.

The way we see the world and interact, is changing and how we get our news and get our information is too. It is our aim to offer a short regular update, on what is affecting us on the road, to seek comments and contributions to industry issues from those on the road and to help where we can to ensure those views and issues are acted upon, where possible. I have been trying for years to get roads fixed, car drivers educated and rest areas improved, to see what we do for the Australian public recognised and to see us given some respect by those we serve, be they a road authority or customer, but it is a big and probably lifelong challenge.

It has also been a horror week for crashes and none of us goes to work to be involved in such an event, but unfortunately, some are. Facebook covered some of these events and there are always different thoughts, some simply don’t want tragic photos and links listed, for reasons of privacy and some say, get over it, it is the news.

Of course if it is you or your family involved, then you don’t want it across the world and you would not welcome someone blaming your partner for such an incident, long before the truth is able to be confirmed. Those who will make such accusations, blame a driver or offer views would most likely scream blue murder if it was done to them and some may be educated views, some may be complete crap, but how do you or they know? From such deliberate and malicious comments, people and families who are already hurting and in shock and even those not so directly involved or afflicted, can be terribly punished and maligned, by those words and actions.

From my view, the worst part is the intent to destroy or damage people who these trolls, do not even know, but would not be happy if it was done to them. I still tell my children and grandchildren if they are squabbling and the comments get nasty, “What do you say?”, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” and if only more agreed and lived by it.

Where does that leave us? Open to abuse and conviction on social media, by those who see themselves as better or simply, removed from the damage and harm they do, when you may have done nothing more wrong, than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you are guilty or at fault, it will come out and those who are guilty surely deserve punishment under law. which except for road transport law, is to my understanding, to treat you as innocent until proven guilty.

The world is a scary place and the only certainty is change. I see a Mr Buffet in the USA is investing in a major truckstop chain and when asked, said he thinks there will still be truck drivers for awhile yet, so maybe many of us will be able to live out our current driving lives on the road and autonomous trucks may be a bit further away. One comment I did read from a driver was that if the majority of car/ truck fatals are the fault of the car driver, then make the cars autonomous and get rid of the idiots in them who try to kill us and leave the trucks alone.

The other side of that is if we cannot get roads fixed now, then where are the billions of dollars going to come from, to make our roads suitable for autonomous trucks? How will we as drivers get better and fairer laws to do our job safely? And with the carnage this week, what do you think will happen. Will we all simply be blitzed yet again, or will someone somewhere, actually look at the real problem instead of a blitz today and a band aid next week?

TRUCK That will not solve any of this, today or tomorrow, but it might help you stay in the loop a little bit more. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

8th October 2017 “TRUCK That”.

Goodaye all. Owner Driver magazine has got a very good responce to the Sharing Rest Areas video from their online portal, having put it up last week and most comments were favourable. Thanks to all who have shared it and the more the merrier. If all goes to plan we will launch “TRUCK That” this evening. Stephen from Whiteline Television, who is putting it together, has a few more tweaks to do and if he has the time this afternoon, will get it up.

Many drivers I speak with say they do not read the trucking press, as when they get out of the truck, they don’t want to have anything to do with trucks. We no longer have any real trucking radio shows, where in the states they have a 24 hour a day satellite network, but you need a suitable set and have to pay. So how do we get two important things done? One is to get news and issues out to drivers and the other, is once they are aware, to give them the chance to respond.

Now I have been arguing with the authorities for many years that if they want feedback, they must not only make us aware, but they must do so in a timely way. Many drivers still get their industry info from the trucking press and let’s face it, no one else really covers it nor has much interest. We used to have Big Wheels in the major newspapers that at least gave us some access to the normal person, but that has all but disappeared as well. Big Rigs magazine has started doing podcasts (and I have done a few with the aim to do so more regularly) but the idea of a video news program for the trucking industry on social media, could well go some way to achieving the above aims.

When industry issues, for example the “Personal Use” request for feedback come along, if the industry press is only given it a week or two before the deadline, by the time they get it to press, it could be all ready closed. A cynical person would say that is a deliberate way to reduce the number of responders and I have raised this with NTC and NHVR. If only a few respond, they do say, no one replied and so we will just do what we want.

Where do you get your industry news and information from? Is it always timely? Does it give you the chance to comment and does it offer you the ability to contribute and comment when things are planned for change? Please let me know.

Does that get us a better result and do those who have the power to make the laws, yet do not have to live by them on the road, let alone at all, really care about us? Too harsh or too true? So how do we get fair representation for such issues? Yes we can simply rely on those at the ATA or NATROAD or the TWU to represent us, but how many of those now live on the road and how hard will they fight for us? If you are not personally affected by a new law or a change to a law, will you even make an effort to see it fair, not likely.

What the industry really needs is less acceptance of what we are given and more input from those on the road to see better outcomes. How to make that happen, when many simply do not care anymore, is hard, but if we can harness the comments, participation and support of those who still do want to see things improve, then we have far more chance of both being listened to and of having those concerns acted on. Thank you to all of those who read and or respond to this blog. It is as always, one small part in trying to get things better for all drivers on the road. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

 

1st October 2017.

Goodaye all. The caravan video was well received but has not gone as far as I had hoped, but you can only do so much. We have filmed the first episode of “TRUCK That” a new idea to do a weekly or monthly news update for the industry, on a social media video platform. Subject to how it looks, we hope to release it soon.

I mentioned the fatigue research a couple of weeks ago. When the RSRT was killed off, some of the funding for it went to funding fatigue research. Now many of us believe the current logbook and laws do not manage our fatigue. Yes, they may well regulate the hours we do, but no book can tell when you are tired and unfortunately, that is the only thing we have. There is no test for fatigue and even many experts agree you cannot measure fatigue. This may well change in the not too distant future, but for now, we have two real alternatives, live with what we have, or see research done to truly understand the issues.

The unreal third alternative is for all truckies to agree and nominate a workable platform we will all agree on and have the states accept that, as you agree, a fairy tale. So we put up, or we take part in this research being done by the NTC. They have said there will be no changes to the current laws until such research is done. Some think the results are all ready in, that they have decided what they want and the research will be made to give those answers. A some what cynical view, but with the way we have been treated for the last 30 years, not completely unwarranted.

But if we do not take part, how can we argue what we do need? How can we seek to have better rules when there is nothing to validate our concerns about logbooks and safe t cam actually working against our fatigue. How can we force more discussion and effort into more and better rest areas, when we cannot show the actual need? I have put my hand up, I have spoken with the NTC and now the people doing the research and I have raised my concerns and issues and still aim to be involved. Like all things, if only two drivers take part, will we get a good result, of course not.

What will you do to see better laws that do allow us to manage our fatigue better, to see more rest areas? Will you take part, or will you whinge later, that the bloody current laws are no good. Go to the NTC website and look for fatigue research and take part please. Cheers and Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.