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

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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 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.


22nd May 2023 Brissie Truckshow.

oodaye all, sorry for the day late entry, but last week did two Dubbo/Brissie runs with the intent of getting to the truckshow. On the way down after the first had a semi-plan, but it crashed and ended up with another that seemed ok and was till I went to load Friday. Nearly 6 hours to load empty things for Sydney, sat at the gate for two hours, then in the bay for another couple, heard later they were three forkies down on the morning shift, though the bloke I spoke to as he left, said plenty of forkies, not enough forklifts, so who knows? Then the load was not picked, was not due till the following week and had stuff in front. All worthy causes of a delay, but that long?

But I got loaded, back to the yard to drop the trailers and off to the show which had now closed two hours before, so other than check out the trucks outside, no truckshow today. Two other NRFA board members had arranged lodgings at East Brisbane for the three of us for the event and I parked up there, changed clothes and into a cab for an NRFA get together and dinner for those who had been at the show.

In Saturday morning and walked and talked all day. All those I spoke to from a wide range of fields all said the show had drawn huge crowds Thursday and Friday, more public and kids etc Saturday, but still busy right through till near close Saturday and Sunday. The organisers should be both happy and satisfied with the outcome. There were many stands and the only thing I did not find displayed was load restraint and that was something I was chasing, but will follow up directly elsewhere.

The two other specific items/products I wanted to chase weren’t there, so I will have to follow them up with suppliers, but spoke with many who have supported the TIV and it is really the one time many of them are in the one place to meet and greet, say thanks and or be able to chat with.

There was a stand out rig, but for the most part other than the obvious electric and hydrogen trucks being technologically outstanding in their own way, the only other real showpaint truck was a Volvo in different colours as it was to run on biofuel. Benz had many “SOLD” signs on trucks by Friday, the new 660 horsepower DAF looked good and I do wonder why it was not out in the K220, which by the way, won the Australian Truck of the Year from a field of four.

Whilst checking out the new IVECO, I asked the man on the stand about the tyres, it was on 315/80 on the drive on 9inch rims and he said I was the only person to notice or comment to them. Seems thee first couple were rushed out here for the show and still had the normal Euro spec tyres and rims.

From one of the smallest things, GME have a new push to talk button coming out for their UHF radios which I hope to trial soon, discussions on tyres, sizes, pressures and CTI fittings, suspensions for the new trailers, some stickers from supporters to go on the truck wings, upgrades to do and a few more little things to fit, I tried to catch up with most I have dealt with and then some new ones too.

Some Blue Boys, silicone covers for the airline fittings that look to vastly extend the life of the fittings, to grabbing Kenworth kids toolbag (and then finding a kid and Dad to give the plastic tools to) as the bag is the right size for so many other jobs and storage things, it was too good to miss.

NRFA had a joint drinks evening Saturday, where TBI Insurance and On the Road Radio had arranged it and invited us to participate and they then announced the return of “Truckin’ Life” magazine in the next few months. This follows on the return of “Kenworth Downunder” magazine in which I have a story about the TIV idea amongst other terrific Kenworth customer stories and it is available from Amazon direct and has no adds, just top trucks and stories.

I had a long discussion with one of the NHVR gents outside the show before I left Sunday evening to head to Sydney and have asked him to pursue some things and have just spoken with him again now to add another to the list, something I asked of RMS, but now NHVR have control of those sites in NSW, worth another try. We will see.

We had a very serious discussion about compliance, speeds and where the industry is going, during the show with some, then also amongst NRFA members at the drinks and as I was walking down one of the aisles, heard a lady say to another, “Yes he is over it, it is all getting too hard and he is looking to sell up and get out” so there goes another operator who has done it and got to the point of simply can’t take it anymore.

I had a gent ring me for a chat if I had time while there and again, he is a relative newcomer and small player in the scheme of things, is keen and involved with industry stuff, but the issues of bullshit fines and whether they actually improve road safety, the justice or lack of it when you try to fight them, the lack of drivers and or the increasing number of those who have a license as opposed to real skill and knowledge, the rising costs, not just the direct ones but the damage from the roads they want us to pay more for when they are doing more damage to trucks and drivers now than ever, the lack and quality of on road facilities etc, all make it too hard for many.

In the past, if you needed a loo or a coffee to get you through the night, the roadhouses where there. Yes the kitchens have nearly all gone, but with all the new ones having the toilets inside and many of them now closing early, we are going backwards. Would you let your wife go out and drive on the highways when there are not enough facilities for blokes and yes, we can and have made do for many years, but if we want women to drive trucks long distance, there is little chance of it with the facilities we have now!

Amongst many true and telling remarks, one fellow who we thought should try stand up comedy, said he was uncomfortable with the current level of industry risk. This in itself means little to those outside the industry, we are all just whinging truckies aren’t we? This level of risk varies of course. But for those who try and do the right thing to have it come back and bite them hard, then to those who do mostly the right thing and hope nothing goes wrong, to those who are simply in the wrong time and or place and have some idiot run into them and not only does the shit hit the fan, it explodes and takes away their lives efforts.

Then there are those who simply should not be driving or running trucks. No matter what I do, the associations do, the NHVR does, whilst ever we are treated like criminals and guilty until proven innocent as opposed to the rest of the community, that risk is real and if you don’t even know it exists, or you do nothing to try and prevent it, God help you when it goes wrong and I doubt even he could fix it. If you have nothing in pace to show you try, then you may as well have nothing. Yet you can do all that and still be treated badly.

This is not defeatist, it is genuine and of course, does follow from listening to the compliance podcast on “Copy Southbound” which I do recommend you all listen to. Big Brother is not only watching, he is coming and you don’t need a crystal ball to know that following yet another tragic crash involving a truck, that no one will even recognise the countless lives we save everyday, but will be out for our blood again.

I don’t want to be negative, otherwise why would I spend over 30 years trying to be positive, but there is so much to do, fix and improve and so few doing it. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


14th May 2023 Road Safety week.

Goodaye all, well my Tik Tok (under “Safe Travelling”) on the way home from Darwin has got a few views and comments, a couple complained about me parking near double lines, but I had just turned the corner and anyone who has ever pulled a train will know you have to find a spot where you can at times.

Road Safety week starts today, have you pledged to be safe, signed up or are you taking part in any way? As truckies we too often see the hazards in cars, see their failings and mistakes, none of us wants to be involved, but when you watch some of the dashcam footage, you really wonder do people simply not look, not think or not know any better? Make the effort to watch out for others and yourself and I hope you all get home safe every day.

Monday off and had I not got home yesterday evening, would still have been less than 3 days home on five weeks. Started Tuesday, got a couple of jobs done on the trailers Monday then and hope to do the same tomorrow, as now have Monday off again. Week looked like being short, but ended up, Dubbo to Brissie, back to Wee Waa, then load Moree back into Brissie, unload reload some bulk DG for Sydney Friday and looked like I was stuck there for the week-end, but they found me a load home, so with a bit of time before I had the load home, got the truck and trailers washed in Brissie.

I checked the forecast, thought yes, maybe, but took three hours to get washed with the que, then traffic on Beaudesert Road, much more and worse into the Gold Coast, then had one shower south of Tweed Heads, but still nearly clean, into Sydney, had some dramas loading a wide piece of gear without the slippers and lost another hour, took off thinking it would be Ok once I got out of the tunnel, but rain there and later and it is nearly as dirty now as it was.

I was not impressed as I had done my good deed, there was a horsefloat with a trailer and all loose stuff laying on the trailer and once past I tried to call them , but no reply, so in the end I slowed down till they caught up as the bits of steel frame could well have gone through someone’s windscreen on the bumps on the freeway from Newcastle in to Sydney. It can be frustrating putting in the time and of course the cost to wash a b-double and then it rains and worse, I had clear sunny skies and without the initial delay waiting to get it washed, could have missed the rain, but who knows.

My podcast on ERMHA, LISTEN HERE (or wherever you get your podcasts)…/12689369-life-on-the-road… was released last week, I did my spot on “Nighshift” in Dubbo for a change, but still from the truck for an early start, then made it back into Brissie for a live spot on the Paul Murray show late Thursday evening re the budget, then had a call from “The Age” re the Inland rail, so managed radio, tv and newspaper and a podcast for the week.

Now working on a list of bridge and road problems for Transport for NSW, am still waiting for their reply to my 5 pages plus an extra bit re truck rest areas and of course, a trip home on the Golden Highway made the Newell look good, but it is not of course! Hope to chase a few odd ends tomorrow and then load Tuesday with a plan to be in Brissie for the truckshow Friday or at least Saturday. Till then, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey,


8th May 2023. Roadtrains to Caravans.

Goodaye all, so even after four calls on the way up, still got messed around unloading in central Queensland and having started loading three trailers in Darwin Friday, that meant not enough hours to get back to Brissie, so needed a 24 hour break in Maryborough. Got in, had tea and made more plans. Up in the morning and had by then arranged for a one hour zoom session with a group looking into doing mental and physical truckie health training for supervisors and the like, went over time a bit but they said it was worthwhile.

Then after chasing TMR re them doing a Warrego Highway rest area strategy, set up another zoom meeting with them, so it was time well spent at least in that regard. Wide ranging, critical but genuine concerns raised including seeking support for the green reflectors and listing lack of shoulders where roads are “improved” and again, still a long way before it will see actual change or improvement on the road, but if they do this one right, others may follow. Glad to have had the chance to have a say, but did say we are coming from a low base and have a lot of work to catch up to where we need to be.

But without getting to Brisbane that night, would not then be in time to load Friday, had to ring and get work to pick up my southbound load, not happy as I had thought I would make it, but the 144 and 84 hour rules meant, no.

So leaving Maryborough after 6PM, into Brissie, one of the local fellows loaded me while a had a shower and tea, as then had to get to Coonamble and unload and try to be in Narromine within my 17 hour window. This last two weeks, have had to squeeze and push a bit, to make all happy and yes, I had been asked to do the talk at Narromine months before and it would normally have been easier to accommodate, but nothing is easy at times.

Had given a time window for unloading in Coonamble the day before, but sent a message, then rang another, no answer, more texts and calls “coming into town early and need to unload asap if possible”, all opened and undone before they even arrived, sorry, no phone service at home there, but unload then out and running and made it to Narromine only 3 minutes late. By then needed a kip, so check out where and when for my talk, grab a cuppa and a kip.

I was then invited to attend the dinner they were having, a garden theme and some went to great lengths with garden gnomes, bees, butterflys and moths, a bug exterminator and a bloke dressed as a bush who won with the butterfly for the best costumes. Even shouted a beer with tea by one of the vanners, then rang into On The Road Radio to talk about sharing the road with trucks and vans and my visit. Ended up chatting for a good while, got a lift back to the truck at the showgrounds and to bed.

Up this morning for my one hour session which went over a bit, then more questions and comments while many came out and looked into and over the truck. I had many say thanks and or shake my hand, most saying they have learned and now understood trucks more and even a couple who said they will have more respect for truckies. We aren’t all perfect, neither are all vanners and like truckies, I can’t get to them all. Those who came wanting to learn, are far more likely to get something from it and use it on the road.

There was close to 100 vans on site and I had maybe 70 attend and we discussed rest areas, UHF use, overtaking and much more. Some did say they recognise we are working and they are holidaying and try to give truckies a fair go. One said it was good to see the industry making the effort to speak with them and I said yes, I am. I had a few copies of Owner Driver to give away, many were going to follow up for the RV Survey and Truckies Top Tips etc on my website as I didn’t have any copies with me to give out. There are and will be, more and more vans on the road and we can try and help them understand us, we can offer advice or explain an issue on the radio, but the few who will call them up and abuse them will only ever make it harder for all. If you get abused, are you likely to listen, NO.

So will you do your bit and talk to a vanner, on the road or on the radio and will you do it in a way that makes it better or worse? Few others offers advice about sharing the road with trucks and caravans and whilst I have been involved since starting Channel 18 as the caravan channel many years ago, I simply can’t get to every caravan club meeting or rally, but will it I can fit it in with work. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod.


3rd May 2023 A triple to Darwin

Goodaye all, last post may have left you guessing, we were told we could not discuss trip till after arrival in Katherine and all was in place. We loaded out of Sydney Friday, back to Dubbo for a 24 hour break, early Sunday morning jump in roadtrain and off to Bourke to hook up third trailer with another triple in front of me, so 6 trailers in total to Katherine for the NSW Rural Fire Service. There was some politics involved, which I can’t and won’t comment on, other than to say we did our bit and got there on time, for them to tranship and then set up a tent city for those who had been moved out after their town was flooded and were moving back, still without much repair done.

Unload my three trailers Wednesday morning, off to Darwin for another 24 hour, actually over 38 but who is counting, so I could make it back home in one trip. Load the three trailers singly Friday morning and off. Into Bourke late Sunday night and then into Dubbo Monday, pick up my A trailer and off to Newcastle, unload and reload and now in Moranbah. Have been pushing and squeezing hours, as have committed to do a talk on sharing the road with trucks at Narromine on Sunday and trying to get there and be legal and keep all happy, work and customers alike. It might still work, but getting close for another 24!

During the trip to Darwin, had the good vanner (and this couple of stories will work well on Sunday) who when I called up did answer, though had no sign on the van and was happy to back off and help me past. Then there was the other vanner, no radio, at least did not answer on 18 0r 40, who sat on his 84 while I overtook him for over a kilometre with a triple roadtrain. Yes I could see for 3 or more k, yes I had waited till I had such sight distance and yes, I was trying to meet that deadline for Katherine. Good vanner even commented “I was waiting for him to at least back off a bit” and I said, “Yes, me too”. The other vanner I met on the way home from Bourke now with only two trailers on, had his car on the whiteline, but his van well over the centreline, so he got a good flash and point to move over!!

Outside of a flat at Threeways going up, (thanks Jason for the hand with this one) and another at Cloncurry on the way home, the only other real issue, was the idiot who tried to overtake a triple with little to no sight distance and had I not been empty and swerved to the left and braked to let him in, he may well have hit the oncoming car headon beside the lead trailer.

Good some good photos etc and enjoyed the trip, but now have yet another list of things to follow up. Yes a few more green reflectors in the Territory and I did ring and speak with Dept of Transport whilst there, road failures long overdue for fixing and not just the 200 potholes, but the craters and complete road failures still there months after the floods will be part of next call.

Then the roadworks to improve??????? The road north of Augathella, nice but narrow surface with NO Shoulder, but 45 degree slope that go a long way down and this on a road for triples!! I thought they were to make the roads better and safer, not pretty but unsafe, so yet another thing to follow up. Getting time for bed, so will add a photo and hope to talk to many interested vanners Sunday if all goes well. Safe Travelling, Rod.


25th April 2023 ANZAC Day on the road.

Goodaye all, well better late than never and why will be revealed next week. But last week, three capitals and heading for a different fourth this week. Melbourne, out to Condoblin to unload (and just heard from a mate who have some electrifying fun out that way around the same time) back into Dubbo, some freight off for Moree and reload and into Brissie. After an interesting loading game, go here to load your DG, then go there to load other stuff, no there is no DG here, I was told by your bloke to come here, no, there is no DG here for you, they have now all gone home and you will not be getting it!

Make a phone call, get customer involved, I was there on time, did as I was told and now, no. Then ah well yes, it was the supervisor and yes the paperwork is here for your DG, but the product is back where you came from and you will have to go back there to get it after we load here, OK thanks. Then we start to load and another order is wrong, my paperwork is right, but someone transcribed it wrong and it is then wrongly picked, then I have brought the right paperwork, it is your mess up, I have a long way to go and a customer who is expecting this freight and an hour later we have sorted that and back we go for the DG balance.

So instead of a lovely nights sleep at the door to deliver early, I don’t make it there, have to stop on the way to find their own truck still loading and then another gazumps me to unload, as I have waited outside and to unload a b-double without completely blocking the yard, we have to come in the out gate. So another delay, that means I get back into Dubbo with just enough time to split trailers and go and load a single for Sydney for a change.

That’s fine, but then Sydney says when I ring to see what I am bringing home, “ We didn’t know you were coming and who did you upset?” Beats me, but will see what happens re load home. They rang back and said would I do a load for Melbourne, which would have meant getting there and Saturday and then being stuck there till Monday and I said, “Not my first choice, but I will if I have to” so then went home to get a few things to do while stuck in Melbourne using reverse psychology, if I get this and take it with me, I won’t end up going and that part worked.

Into Sydney, found a park, a reasonable night sleep, up and unload, but can’t reload till 11, so back to the yard for a cuppa and stuff. Pruned (read broke off out of the way) some tree branches at the gate, over to load, no you can’t come in, the first truck hasn’t arrived and we need it first. That’s OK, I will have lunch and have a job to do on the trailer. Get all my gear out, phone rings, come on down the back and we will make a start and that dear readers is where this story must end till next week.

I will be able to tell you then where I am now. Hope you did your bit for ANZAC Day, I was on the road all day till earlier. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


15th April 2023

Goodaye all, well to those who say b-doubles are only for linehaul and that we shouldn’t have to split after my last post, I reckon I did pretty well, 8 splits in three hours. And we all know not every place is set up for them, but I recall years ago ringing a place and asking, “I am in a b-double, will I be able to deliver there?” “Yes we have them here all the time” only to get there, have a struggle to even get in the gate with the cars parked in the road and then be told, “You won’t get that round the back”, ah the joys of trucking. “Yes we had trucks here with two trailers (19m double it seems) but yours is much longer” “Really!” I doubt if I had said a 26m b-double would have changed anything.

Yes it has happened since, then on the other side I have been told no, said I will have a look and got in all but once and that was for a car opposite and the likelihood of damage as I screwed round and down through the gutter. Some were impressed, others don’t care, they just want their freight picked up, taken away and their money made.

A short week on the road, early on arranged for new drive tyres and to fit the rest of the Atlas balance rims to the drive, having fitted to the steer previously. The tyre fitter made Simon’s (from Atlas) day when he said, “You will be surprised how much more milage you will get with them fitted”, “Why have you seen many around here (Dubbo) with them fitted?” “Not a lot, but one group got over 300,000 on the drive after fitting a set.”

I of course rang Simon to pass on and he was impressed as all too often, people don’t know what so many others who use them, have gained from the fitting of Atlas balance rings. Even one of our mechanics wanted to know how they worked and what was in them. I should have painted them though and that would have made them stand out more and added a different look.

Also found my other Durabrights, seems when the truck was painted and they put the rims back on, they did not know the difference and I had wondered why they were not all the same shine until I looked at the markings, but it was a big job to pull them all off for fun if they weren’t on there anyway. That would have meant a couple of calls to find out why,  but I will email the man there and ask him to be more aware. It has of course marked the inner circle, but the outside having been covered in so much crap, shines better than the others now cleaned up. When I left the tyre shop, at least two there and then some of our blokes at work said, did you put the rims back on wrong?

The 509 we have has super singles on the steer and had after a wheel alignment and everything else checked, still not got a lot in mileage and I had told Ben Pilon of my fitting a set to truck 55 and suggested he try a set and he ordered two and had one set fitted to the 509 the same day. Then before I left for Brisbane, got my new rego plates, so another little thing many won’t notice, but mean something to me.

I had been told on the way back to Dubbo, “We have a bit of a plan for you” “Should I be scared?”, “We’ll sort it when you get here.” So a train to Adelaide then Alice, nearly like my Christmas break. But not till Thursday, so OK make my plans, then yes, no, yes, no, yes but later then no not going after all my plans made to suit. Truck was in for service as well, a little over, but did A,B and C all in one, so good time use there. With having to now load Friday instead of simply hooking up Saturday, had to forego the eye test, but got the back of the b trailer all sign written (and I have been trying to get that done since November) finally got my scales hooked up, another long term project and a few other little jobs and after all that, then loaded 3 pickups of wool for Melbourne Monday, so off tomorrow.

So some jobs at home, Swift grow the lawn as soon will be too late and it will stop growing, wait for some 3M tape to finish the sides of the trailers and we will see what the back of the b trailer will bring. There has finally after only 30 years, been much talk and discussion and awareness of mental health issues in road transport. Transhelp and TRUST were two groups who, in different ways and levels, helped drivers and their families with stuff after the often tragic events we see or can be involved in on the road, or simply when there was no one else to turn to. How many companies really care and what would or could they do, if you had such issues?

So the attached photo shows the back of the trailer. Those of you who remember my old trailer set will recall the TRUCKIES TOP TEN Tips (and I will fit a different one each month) but in conjunction with GME, the new back suggests “The road can be a lonely place, if you want to chat, Call Rod on UHF 24”.

I did do a counselling course when I became an Ambassador for Health in Gear and thank them for providing that, but no, I don’t have all the answers, but how many people could you honestly count on to offer you good advice or to really listen to your problems? Again, I can’t fix them, but I may be able to offer a friendly listen or someone else to help. We will see how it goes.

I know and have spoken to drivers who have been the first on site, or who have been involved in a fatal or even a vehicular suicide and again, I have not been in that situation, but bottling things up often leads to worse outcomes. Can I help, maybe, will I listen, yes, will that help, that is up to you.

But yes I get calls from many, some have an issue, some don’t know who else to ask, some want job advice etc, the list is long and varied and I have never refused to try and help, but of course, cannot always solve the problem or fix it. Yes, there have been some who have been critical, some who have become nearly pests, but also some who have become really good friends and supporters and who now ring road authorities and report stuff that I don’t see or know personally and that may never have happened without that initial call.

I have had some, often through Facebook as well, who say, “I know you are busy but” and again, my number has never been hidden, is on every Owner Driver column and elsewhere and whilst my Facebook page is under my name, it is my main contact site and where some have said, “Sorry to bother you on your personal page” I have only had two who have taken my initial response to a friend request wrongly. In the interest of seeing if someone is genuine and in road transport, my initial reply is nearly always the same, “Re friend request, I usually ask where you know me from and for some background info please, cheers Rod.” The couple who replied suggesting I thought I was someone special or too good, missed the point. I don’t know anyone who is asking to friend me more than anyone else does, many have been hacked or scammed and I am sure you will be shocked, but there are some out there who don’t have anything in mind except to hassle people. What do you think, is my reply fair?

So some more things to tidy, shopping to do for the road and have to be in early for the que at Packtainers. Till next time, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


9th April 2023 Happy Easter

Goodaye all, hope you get time with those you love and or miss over Easter. To all who sat in the traffic trying to get out of Melbourne while the electrical work was done off the road but with one northbound lane closed and the traffic queued all the way from Kalkallo back to Cooper Street, I hope you rang and complained. Yes the work must be done, but why that day? Anyone with half a  brain and any understanding of traffic patterns (it is not like the ringroad was only opened yesterday) would know the traffic volume heading out of any capital will increase substantially before a long week-end, so why not piss them all off because we can?

Then in the longer term, with “Australia’s largest planned city” being now built along with more houses and expansion than is likely even in Sydney or Brisbane, why is not the work already started on more lanes northbound out of Melbourne? Where are the 30,000 plus people who will live here going to work, there is no manufacturing there, so they will be going into Melbourne and back out each day when the roads can’t cope now. So let’s build more homes without the infrastructure to support them!

And then of course we will all be held up more and for longer to deliver and carry all the goods they want and or make to sell to others. On another note I see in our local paper that the Inland Rail cost has doubled to over $30 billion, it won’t be finished for years yet and the longer it takes, the more that cost will rise. Lucky we have trucks to deliver all the stuff till then, but wait, then I read another piece about the push for autonomous trucks is going gangbusters with more millions spent, yet the car effort seems to have slowed because they are really still a long way from making it happen.

So my question is and has been for some time. If governments are pushed and agree to spend more millions on making roads suitable for autonomous trucks, why are our lives not worth that investment now? If you can answer this, please do. So some time with the family, home Friday afternoon and off to Brissie with a drop at Moree tomorrow evening, but then a later afternoon timeslot Tuesday, means some time with the kids, though now all grown up. Will see all bar one in Tassie, love you Banon. Take over the week-end, be safe and talk soon. Cheers Rod.


2nd April 2023 No April Fool.

Goodaye all, as I have time and it is too warm here in Mackay to yet walk up to Woolies, I will tell you a tale of how one thing can impact your week severely. There were like always, more than one thing that affected the week overall, but the hose leak caused all the stress, at least to me.

 The plan was to load flour in Dubbo and go to Melbourne, simple enough. Had a loading time, rang to say I was coming, yes all good, one loading and should be done by the time you get here, Ok Thanks. Got there and the other one took over an hour, so I could have got the tyre and light fixed, but anyway.

So yes, I understand the need to maximise loading, but my load sheet showed I had 25kg, not 250, not a tonne, but 25kg leeway to be perfect and at gross on every group. And yes, if you keep the same trailers, (my normal back trailer was in for brakes and bushes) and the load is pallets all the same weight, maybe, but with two drops, weights varying from 500kg to nearly 1300kg and 34 pallets for a 34 pallet space, a bit of juggling, mental arithmetic and some luck was needed.

First time I was over on the link, but was able to swap two pallets from the front of that trailer to the back and was then within 100 each end. So off to the yard to get the tyre and light done. When I had seen my A trailer parked, I mentioned to the workshop foreman, the airbags had gone flat. I had been so impressed after getting two airbags, one on each trailer and the front trailer brakes done and the bags stayed up and I could near pull away without spending time and fuel to pump them all up on the trailers, I thought what has changed?

But away we go and whilst I often stop at the Tiger Moth Café in Temora for tea, (I ring ahead and they have my chicken schnitzel, chips and gravy and lemon ready for me) but I had some food from home though needed milk and stuff, so pulled up near opposite Woolies there. In the rain, back from shopping and link airbags flat.  Start the truck and see if I could get enough air to get them up, no, but can hear a leak. Overalls on, under to find the line rubbed through, so now wet, rang the workshop manager, who said he would be back to me. Rang he did, is it at the end of a line, no, so then till tomorrow you must wait and we will get someone out. MMMMM

I was parked in front of the Ford dealer and the ambulance, but was not blocking any driveways, so dried myself as best I could, read and went to bed. Texted before 8, is your man coming, text back, no, but have another. Man came after I went walking looking to go to the loo. There is one at the supermarket and I had used it before, but now it is locked, perhaps for center staff,  but no help to me.

Man looked, tried a joiner, but hose had been rubbing for a while and was flat and the joiner would not seal, so even if I had one, might still have had a problem. Then he did not have the right size hose, so had to go and get some. Back hose fixed, had scoffed brekkie but no loo yet underway and on the phone. “What time do you close?” to the first drop, Melbourne markets, we close at 2, “I don’t think I will make it by then, but will give it a shot and call you closer”.

Hooked in, some roadworks and idiots, but maybe? Called at Beveridge at 1.55PM saying I will be there in 15 minutes, will there be someone there? The forkie is going, but if you can drive a fork, you can unload yourself, OK thanks, see you soon. I had been talking with our Melbourne depot, messaged when I broke down, etc and she and the customer we had promised delivery for Wednesday morning were not impressed. But after I unloaded and had been told the other drop closed at 4, rang again and was told, they really want what you have on, I will ring you back. Yes, if you come and split trailers and hurry, they will unload you now.

By this time I was starting to get hungry and keen for that loo, but ok, will hook in some more. Yard, split trailers to deliver the rear one, so a double split, then over and unload, ring again, on my way back. Do you want to load and go tonight? MMMMMMMMMMMMM, I suppose. Back to the yard, double split to hook up the b-double fuel and back in to load and bugger it, starving and loo visiting next. Load the full b-double and head off, made it to Henty and to bed. A fairly long day.

Up and into Parkes for the first of two drops there, “We did not expect you till tomorrow, but good you are here, but we will have to unload on the street” yes no worries, thought they might have told you I was coming, but yes the breakdown with the airline stuffed things up a bit. Round to the next drop and I had texted Dubbo asking where to next, hoping to still get my four legs in for the week? Unload, got a call to ask something re work, and said was unloading in Parkes. One fellow was away and another doing it all, Oh, how much room do you have, can you reload there? Yes what and details, yes can do.

By the way, can I then go to Newcastle and load for Mackay? No, that was in the message I left earlier, have a doctors appointment Sunday night (yes you wonder, but the surgeon who did my shoulders comes to Dubbo by plane Sunday, does consultations that night, then does surgery Monday before flying back to Sydney, top bloke DR Cass) and have made plans for tyres and graphics for rear trailer, ok will find someone else, thanks.

Back to Dubbo, unload and is Mackay load still there? No was cancelled and new plan to load for Sydney next afternoon, so off home in a rush, take two grandsons out to get tea and back just in time for NRFA board meeting. Then had some letters and a presidents report to write for the newsletter and finally to bed. Out to the yard Thursday and wanted the other airlines on the A trailer checked, secured and tidied/zippy tied so no further air leaks etc. Then ring Sydney depot to confirm load home, no you are loading for Mackay, no that load was cancelled and in the end, no it wasn’t, must ado and ifs and buts, but can you go?

Had now hooked up my B trailer from repairs, found some more stuff, got that fixed I thought, off to Parkes to load, but a dragging brake, yes will watch and get back to yard, had them checked, one slack adjuster had gone feral, so readjust and away to the Castle. Load there Friday and here I am in Mackay for another 36 hour break till I unload tomorrow. So I had time to tell you a tale. This is not a whinge, it is not a pity me, but to those who have said my stories only confirm why they left the road, all I can say, is I used to love it, but I am getting closer to not.

I will go to 70 plus, if I can get the license bullshit of a test and medical every year once 70 to keep my MC, NSW the only state that does this as far as I know. The major crashes, the load on family and the time of which there is too often not enough, have drained me a bit, but I just need a good week and a good win and I will be good for a while longer. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


26th March 2023

Goodaye all, an interesting week for me with calls back from TMR and a Heavy Vehicle Rest area Committee meeting, finalizing our application guidelines, but a bad week for industry with some sad and serious crashes. My thoughts go to the families of those involved.

So I have a mate who drives in Central Qld and there is the McKenzie River rest area on the Fitzroy Development Road south from the Peak Downs Highway towards Dingo. I have previously spoken with TMR asking who put up some green reflectors (though the border for TMR Mackay finishes at Middlemount) and there were (till I was there some months ago) not only no green reflectors, but only one signed bay for that stretch to Dingo! They are still to get back to me.

But at the meeting called by the Assistant Police Commissioner which I attended in Mackay some months ago,  I raised the issue of new signs at this rest area stopping westbound trucks from entering from that end. Two other drivers had agreed there was now a problem. There was no come back from the TMR chief who attended that meeting, so I have chased again. Finally got a call three months later after I had complained about the new toilets on the road towards Belyando from Clermont having hand written signs saying “toilets out of order” and the fellow apologized for the delay, saying he had been off on leave and thought it was sorted now.

Yes it had been, they were not even technically opened and neither were the ones at the intersection of the Peak Downs and Fitzroy Roads when I rang and complained there was no toilet paper in any of the loos. Then if they are not open, why are they left open with no signage to say otherwise??

So I explained the McKenzie problem, weeks later he came back and said, no, there are no new signs there, so I asked my mate for photos and sent them in, more quiet, then the call. “Yes there are signs there as part of an upgrade”, really well what do you know? “But your new signs now expect a loaded AB triple at over 100 tonnes gross to do a U turn across and block both lanes to get in and then do the same to get out when there is a corner blocking line of site!!!!!!!!! Yes they seem to think that is safer and I and others disagree vehemently. So I asked them to remove the signs, they are wrong and have created a hazard, not removed one, that I want a response and will keep asking and emailing and ringing until they are removed, unless they will build another rest area on the other side. No we don’t have the money and he does not have the power, yes I understand that, hence the request for you to put my comments forward and to respond to them.

This is yet another time that those who think they know what it is like to drive trucks, have no clue. Their intent is genuine, did they consult anyone, let alone a truck driver, many will ignore the signs, but then will the local copper decide this is an easy mark? I will follow up with the TMR boss from the meeting and the Police, but this is why we must have a voice, even if only to know what they are doing and to comment first. We all see what we think is sometimes a stupid waste of money and we do know there is no bottomless pit of same, yet we must get better value, because it is our lives they are playing with. If they won’t even agree the signs are there, how will we get them to listen?

If you have any such issues, let me know. Another mate rang, tearing his hair out over the crashes, saying and rightfully so, you have been trying to fix this shit for years and nothing changes, no one listens, but please tell me who can and will? He wants, like many, a changeover site on the Pacific, during the week it was mayhem at Kempsey. I gave him some steps to take and he has said he will and with a new NSW government, maybe we will get some action, so we will have to push and even scream to get this underway. Again, if you use the Pacific, if you see and live this problem, write me a paragraph, not ten pages, but a fair and reasoned explanation of the problem we can put forward. I don’t do changeovers and certainly not on the Pacific, so I need five who do to give me something to push with. Will any of you do this? Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.  


19th March 2023 A week-end in Dubbo and jobs done.

Goodaye all, a week-end at home, got in Friday and unloaded, checked for a week-end job, but nothing extra so will load Monday afternoon. Fitted a short term water tank to the truck, got a few more things tidied and have plans to see the scales fitted Monday morning and some brackets welded for another piece. Made some calls, some nice reflective tape coming for the trailers, got a call back from Vicroads about a ripple on the Hume they have been unable to find for over 12 months now and note TMR did do some work on the culverts south of Yelarbon.

Sunday night now, lights on side done and a couple fixed and lit as well, fitted the Ecofins to the top of the cab and roof light bar, am getting small extensions for the cab wings and once fitted will complete the Ecofin perimeter. Mowed, pruned, cleaned as well and now to scrub the shower. Then off to bed, will be a long day tomorrow but such is trucking. Been hot, didn’t even have breakfast or lunch, keen to get the lights fitted and on and thanks to Toby for the effort, still a few jobs to do, but getting there.

Spoke with our workshop manager and asked to get jobs done Friday, saying if we get these few things done, they will be all finished and I said, “I will leave you alone for months, you won’t know what to do with yourself” and he said, “They will never be finished”. True there will be minor repairs, but I had this list when I first put them together and always had intent to see most of it done overtime. We have plenty of other trucks and trailers to work on, yes they are the 50 year RPT set, but they have to work as well and yes, I want them to look good and will do my best to make that happen and then keep them that way. Have had comments from customers and some on the road saying they look good and will be better when completed, just little things I will see and know but few others will appreciate or care about.

Same with the truck, yes I am always looking for ideas, little things and the biggest cost and item will be to have the water tank and toolbox specially made to fill the gap and complete the chassis, but that will be one of those jobs I will work on and sort over time. Some dash lights to sort, some blue lights to set up on a switch for shows and some cupboards to fit and nearly all done, again to the initial plan I had from the start.

Am hoping to do some stories for mags and get to some shows, pity to miss the Oaklands show today, had I a load for Melbourne, could have gone, but we will see for the future. Hope to have some photos for next week. Off to the showers, till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.