Altona Truck and Trade Show 18th March 2018.

Goodaye all. We both attended the above show, a completely new event for drivers and industry suppliers held at the baseball club at Melton. Organised by Chris Smith (from Australian Custom Trucks) but trying something a bit different with his willing and enthusiastic team, too many to name here and many I could not give all their details. I am sure Chris will have the requisite thanks up for his team on his show page. Good to see industry people having a go at something new.

Stephen from Whiteline TV came down from Sydney and we did six interviews and will have a special edition of “TRUCK That” up within days of the show. NHVR, Natroad, Transport Women and both Yogi and Steve Grahame from Outback Truckers all spoke with us and there were some nice trucks in attendance, including some KLOS Custom Trucks and many other individuals, including a couple of nice Peterbilts.

I got on site early Friday while Stephen drove down having finished his trip that morning and this was a trade day with trucks arriving and trade stalls setting up. Friday night was snacks and a few drinks, (thanks to the sponsors who made this possible) and Saturday more trucks arrived including the new Prostar race car transporter and many others. The public came in from 10AM and milled about through the trucks and stalls. The Mack Muster may have drawn some Bulldog tragics away and I saw a few on the road on my way home Sunday and from a couple I spoke with, hear it was a good turnout there as well.

Outside of our filming for TRUCK That, I spoke with many drivers and also those in the trade stalls and made some good contacts and perhaps even some supporters, for the next TIV. A good day, many asking about the drivers club and I did a presentation on stage detailing the intent. Yogi and Steve from Outback Truckers also did a talk about the show and the music was good and the band on Saturday night even better.

I left before the brekky got underway this morning, as the rain was coming and I also had to go back to work to unload and reload due to a change of plan, but that is trucking.

It takes time to get anything started and running and with a few more trucks and more public, I think it will grow to become a regular event. I thank Chris for the invite and congratulate him and his team for this first up effort.

I found out the pins in the one trailer wheel we had to reline two weeks ago, was the thing that wore out first. I was hoping I would get the trailers to 2 million k with the original brake linings, but this one had stepped out a bit and wore the lining on one side, though there was still meat on the shoes, once the pins start to wear, you may as well do the linings. Still 11 sets to go and they should all reach 2 million. I must say a very good testament to BPW suspensions and the Groeneveld auto greasers, both considering I reckon the Newell is at least twice as bad as the Hume, if not more so.

We have the name registered for the “TRUCK That Australia Drivers Club” and an ABN and now just have to complete the bank account and we will be up and running. Yogi said he is one million percent behind the club in his interview. We are also looking for a co-host for TRUCK That, to spread the load and give another view, so if you are keen and enthusiastic about the road transport industry and want to help with your time and knowledge, send an email to telling us what you can bring to the show. We would welcome your comments and your helping get us some more viewers and subscribers to keep the ball rolling. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

13th March 2018. Look at the trucks!

Goodaye all. An interesting week, starting off with a breakdown, damn intercooler hose blew off again. Meant another 7 hour break on the side of the road, but hopefully sorted now. Never had the problem before and then 3 times in a fortnight. Seems the alignment of the turbo on the new crate motor was out and pushing the interconnecting tube and putting pressure on only one side of the hose and clamp.

Our local radio announcer from Dubbo has moved to Canberra and taken on a radio program there. He and I spoke of trucks semi-regularly over the years and he read of the ATA press release and asked me for comment. We covered that and discussed how we are seen. I finished asking his listeners to look at the trucks around them. Too often they see the one that does the wrong thing, they think it is too close or whatever, but they simply do not “see” all the others that are just doing their jobs and delivering the freight.

I was then invited to do a host spot on Big Rigs new podcast for this week and we spoke of EWDs, a driver getting pinged for a pee, women in trucking and the TRUCK That Australia Drivers Club. Thanks Kirsten for the invite and it is out now. Please let me know what you think. Then another radio interview with my mate from YassFM, the community station there and we again talked trucks. I spoke of the drivers club and why it has come about and again asked listeners to look at trucks. You will see this is my theme for this week and whilst more than usual, doing three radio interviews in a week, a good chance to put another view forward.

Lastly, still on the road on the way home Saturday morning, a radio interview with my mate Grant on the ABC in Wagga Wagga. We spoke of my upcoming attendance at the “Stone the Crows” festival in Wagga Wagga, where I have attended now for thee years and how the numbers who came to listen to me talk about trucks quite amazed them and I will do two presentations on sharing the road with trucks over Easter. More time away from family, but that is when the flock, gather. We are planning to launch “TRUCK That for RVers” and get some feedback. Of course, I asked for listeners to look at trucks.

Lastly the latest “TRUCK That” episode is up, a special edition seeking support for the next TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle. I have so many people to thank, from Ken Wilkie who helped by virtually giving me his truck for two years, a truly magnanimous gesture, one unmatched by any, to Rod Pilon and all at Rod Pilon Transport who have allowed me enormous scope and support with the current truck over the last ten years. The only way I can do more than I do now, is to have a truck and trailers supplied and so have the time to do more and still feed my family and pay my bills. If I win the Lotto I will buy a new TIV (or if you win the Lotto you can buy me one) and I am very proud of what the TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle is and what it has achieved, but it and I are only one truck and one driver and we need more involved and more and better understanding of the job we do.

This to get better conditions on the road, better laws and not only recognition for the job we do, but some empathy from those who rely on all we deliver, for the life we lead. It is not all roses, being your own boss and king of the road. It never was and it is worse now than it has ever been, but sticking to the positive, I would welcome you listening to the podcast and watching the video. Your comments and support and sharing these in your own networks might just help me find the right person, to make it all happen. Thanks and Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

4th March 2018. How do you see trucks?

Goodaye all. Got my submission into the Staysafe committee last Sunday night, but not allowed to reproduce it anywhere else according to the rules. When I looked before submitting, still only 7 submissions. So will we get heard and will we get a fair go? Let’s hope, but with only one driver submitting, will they understand how we feel and what our needs are? It is unlikely I am sure you will agree.

Still waiting for the club registration to come back and will then register an ABN and open an account. Three of our drivers have spoken to me and are keen to join and others as well, so sorry to carry it on for so long, but if we want to have a proper club and act legally to be heard, then we have to comply. Don’t give up on it, I have been involved for many years and little that is worthwhile is achieved overnight.

I have done interviews on “Nighshift” on MMM with Luke and he has offered support and I will send him the club aims and intents for his Facebook page to keep it going along, Thanks Luke and Jess. Once we have that in place, I will get it out there as and when I can.

To the members of the public, how do you see trucks now? Do you recognise what we contribute to your way of life in delivering your food, clothes products and fuel? Do you understand that those who say put it on rail, do not understand how rail works and that you need trucks to get the product on the train and then to deliver it from the train. How do you put 1,000 consignments on all at once and get them off all at once because everyone wants it delivered now!

Do you have a rail siding in your backyard, does the local supermarket? Of course not, so we need trucks to deliver the things we need to use and to live. Yes rail has its’ place for very long haul and bulk commodity freight, but road transport delivers over 75% of domestic freight, not only because we do it well, but we do it efficiently. Now that means we need the road to deliver it to you and we go to work to earn a living and to pay our bills. We DO NOT GO TO WORK to be involved in road trauma and all too often, it is not our fault, yet we will be blamed first and then after such an event, those who survive it will see it in their nightmares till the day they die. Do you think that is what we as truck drivers want? No.

So I would welcome your honest appraisal and comment.

  1. How do you see trucks?
  2. Do you really understand what it is like to live and work on the road?
  3. Do you recognise the need for trucks?
  4. What do you suggest we do to improve both road safety for all and how we as the trucking industry is seen?

I would welcome your serious suggestions. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


17th December, Christmas 2017. Seems I missed publishing this one, so will do now. 4/3/2018.

Goodaye all. Two things I would like to raise. First is I would like to wish all a Merry Christmas and a Trucking Good 2018. It is a time of year for reflection on what has happened and towards a time of year to set goals and yes even, New Years resolutions, but either way, a chance to reflect first, what have you done and what can you do better.

You are responsible to yourself first, your family and friends and then perhaps the wider community. I wish I could change the world, or at least, parts or pieces of it, but that is a dream that I will not achieve, yet I can make plans to change the things I can, or at least try. I want to be a better Father and one day, a better husband, as with this job, each I have failed to do as good as I would have liked to.

This leads to the second thing. How many of you outside of the trucking industry truly recognise or understand the life of an interstate truckie. This is not a whinge session or woe is me, there are worse jobs and many better, but ours seems to be so lonely in so many ways. When you start, is it being not really, but the King of the Road, like the old days getting the mail through, delivering the goods, being your own boss out on the road, seeing the country. If only any of that was true?

I wrote this years ago and will include it over the next few instalments. I would welcome your comments.


Out here in highway land life is like a fairy tale. There are good princes and knights of the highway, there are beautiful princesses waiting at castles across the land, there are wicked monsters and RMS officers, waiting to prey on the good and simple folk. Now for the story. Once upon a time there lived a happy truckie, Drivealot was his name. He lived in a small castle, (well a man’s home is his castle, isn’t it) in a beautiful valley far away from the city with his wife Laughalot and his two children Talkalot and Hungryalot.

He was happy because he was his own boss, sort of. He could do whatever he liked with his truck, a big Carryalot with 400 horses under the bonnet, (and couldn’t they go through the chaff), but only as long as he paid the finance company, Takealot. He could come and go as he pleased as long as he wasn’t too fast, too heavy, too slow and or too late because then his customers would be wanting to know why he wasn’t where they thought, he should be. Of course Drivealot did his best, like all truckies do.

He looked after his truck like it was his own, it would be in 200 years when his son’s sons had paid the last installment. He serviced it and washed and polished it and of course he drove it all around this large bountiful and beautiful but unforgiving land. While he was off on his travels his time was his own, sort of. As long as he drove, stopped and slept as was decreed by the Royal Log Book he wouldn’t incur the wrath of the Lord’s Armies.

Now one army wasn’t enough to watch over truckies, there was the normal army in blue uniforms and then there was the special forces in the brown uniforms. The blue uniforms watched over everyone, their job was to protect the people from themselves and each other and by and large they did a mighty fine job. The brown uniforms were especially interested in truckies. They were there to protect everyone else from truckies and make sure they (the truckies) complied with the Royal Log Book which we will look at next. Safe Trucking, Royal Subjects.

So what do you think? It does not cover the depth of this job, though gives a somewhat jaded but comedic view I hope. Does this make it look worse or better? I can only see things from where I sit and I would hope over time you can help me to help others.

Please consider the truckies who will be away from home and family during this season, those who will be on the road perhaps thousands of kilometres from those they love. so someone else can have their food, fuel, clothes and presents to have an Australian way of life. Merry Christmas all. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


25th February 2018. Clubbing along.

Goodaye all. Let’s start a truckdrivers club, that will be easy and we will get it going in no time. I wish. Thanks to all who have offered support and who have committed to join. As it is some time since I have looked at this (there was a time years ago when I considered this) simply opening a bank account for those joining to pay into was the first thing to do.

No you can’t do that, because you need a registered incorporated club, ABN, constitution and more and more. Still, if it was that easy, someone else would surely have done it before. Do not give up on us, or the idea. TRUCK That was started months ago and it will take more time each month to organise and film and then to edit and put up, unless of course we have thousands of members.

As per the aims and intents in last weeks blog, we will have it up soon. There are costs simply to register, many forms etc, but it is coming and we will need your participation. What will you get for your $50 joining fee? We will have a logo and you will get a club emblem, (format yet to be confirmed) and the aims, Home Safe, Road Safe, Mateship.

We will continue on with TRUCK That monthly and we will ask you to contribute to industry submissions, report bad roads and industry mud throwing. Speaking of submissions, how many of you are aware of the request for subs to the NSW Staysafe committee  due 25th February on technology in heavy vehicles and how effective the current strategy is?

Now that I mention it, I must be off to bed for filming our club introduction and welcome, next episode of TRUCK That and TRUCK That for RVers tomorrow and will then get into my submission to the Staysafe committee, along with a few emails about rest areas, work on the itinerary for the Churchill trip and the rest of it.

How about I add in Knights of the Road 2 and you can tell me what you think. Did you enjoy number 1, or should I not give up my dayjob.

KNIGHTS OF THE ROAD 2, the Royal Logbook.

Now the Royal Log Book came into being like everything else, because rather than pursue and punish the few baddies, who it seems were too hard too catch, it was thought that everyone could be punished and besides a bit of extra revenue raising wouldn’t go astray. That bloody Robbing Hood was making things tough stealing from the poor, poor rich people. It’s tough at the top, everybody wants what you have. Anyway some bad highwaymen had been driving all over the land, raping, pillaging and burning, sorry wrong story, driving all over the land going too far, too fast, too heavy too often, so the Royal Noblry said “Woo up, we can’t have this going on”.

Henceforth by Royal Decree, from now on all truckies will have to fill in the Royal Log Book and hasn’t it been a revenue winner. Do I hear you all saying it doesn’t help you manage your fatigue, an obvious but minor oversight by those in ivory castles and with uni degrees. Remember, this is only a fairy tale.

Now it’s all well and good to decree these things but driving the Royal desk around the Royal office is not quite the same as poor old Drivealot answering the needs of the Royal subjects in delivering all and sundry to all and sundry. An enormous task and very much a thankless one you would have to agree. So as in all stories, we are looking for a happy ending and we’ll be looking for a bloody while yet.

The new improved ? Royal Log Book is coming and I’m sure you’re all looking to its vast improvements ? to wipe out the need for you to have to write fairy tales like this. Good luck. If Drivealot’s dad, Toldhimalot, could see the industry now, that he knew and loved, or at least thought he did, he would not only rollover in his grave, he would come back as the Pilliga Princess (a quick sexchange to suit, is OK in fairy tales) or the ghost of Little Sydney Harbour and many were scared half to death there in the past and scare Drivealot sensible, a challenge if ever there was one. In our next episode (it will depend on you how long this goes on) we look at the Royal Highways. SAFE TRUCKING, ROYAL SUBJECTS.

Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

18th February 2018 Where to?

Goodaye all. I would ask how many of you saw the 7.30 report on the ABC two weeks ago 5/2/2018. I did not learn it was going to air till that Monday afternoon and so could not give any notice. I would like to thank the ABC, Julia and the crew who came along for the ride. We started at 10AM in Dubbo (and we filmed and interviewed Julia for TRUCK That as well) and finished at 2.30AM in Wellcamp near Toowoomba with a few stops along the way.

They said I was very patient and thanked me for my time, but that is why I suggested a Sunday start. I wanted the chance to put our view forward and doing it with the logbook dictating times, would either see me rushing them or not getting where I wanted to and that would have caused more dramas than needed and may not have got the right message out. I have just finally watched the show, having had many comments but a busy couple of weeks and all have said my bit was good and I raised some of the issues.

As you will imagine, much more was filmed and they decide what goes to air and certainly needed a wider perspective, than just a drivers. However, we still need more input and information to get to the public about what we do and how we do it. I still feel we are being punished by the actions of the few truckies who do the wrong thing (and we are human, we do make mistakes too) and was taken to task by a Police Officer for not supporting operation “Rolling Thunder”. I have responded asking for the full details of the infringements and defects and is it just me, or do any of you agree they are pushing all the negative against us and nothing of the positive?

At the NRFA AGM it was offered that yes, there were truck drivers found using drugs and none of us condone that, but the percentage was far less than rampant in the general community with one figure of 26% of car drivers in one RBT operation alone, showing we are not all drug addicts. Again when you look at who is at fault in car/truck fatal crashes, what are we doing to educate car drivers? I have been asking for this to change for years and had we had some education when you get your license, we could have saved many lives, including those of truckies. But it seems all stick and no carrot to me.

I had a phone call one night during the week. “Are you listening to the ABC? Get on there and sort this out. They are talking rubbish and don’t have a clue.” I went over to listen as I pulled into the BP at Goondiwindi and tried to ring in a few times. The lines were full, not surprisingly with the content of the first call I got and I only managed to get through as it ended and did leave an offer of a trip with me.

The guests were Tony Sheldon from the TWU and Geoff Crouch the ATA Chairman. Driving hours and logbooks brought them undone and I am told the UHF ran hot for a long time after, as people discussed the issues and comments. Further discussions the following day from most said they did not do us any favours. I heard the ABC presenter ask a number of times, “So when do you sleep” and if nothing else, it shows he had concerns on what he was told by those who should know, but it seems didn’t or couldn’t get the message across the line.

As they took calls, many of those who phoned in went some way to diffuse the situation and make good and relevant comments, but if you are going to have “experts” on the panel, then they need to know the rules and laws of those they purport to represent and to then help us to be seen to be trying to do the right thing. You cannot let us be maligned yet again, when you are there to put our view forward, or you are simply not doing the job properly.

How do we get a fair go? How do we get heard for the issues we face and have a chance to improve things on the road? We will start the TRUCK That (Australia) Drivers Club in the next two weeks. It is not as simple as I had hoped and we need to get some things in place, so don’t give up on us yet. It alone will not solve our problems, but I do hope it will provide a place for those drivers who want to do something, to see things improve. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

12th February 2018. TRUCK That Drivers Club

Goodaye all. Well “Operation Rolling Thunder” went a long way to solving the industries problems did it? It educated all the car drivers and got the rest area problem fixed too I am sure. What’s that, you disagree! You mean you don’t think it helped. Yes, they got 2000 defects and fines, but won’t release what they were. Why do you think that is?
There is a lot of truck driver frustration with the way we are being portrayed and maligned and many are talking of blockades. Will that work or solve our problems? From what I have seen or heard, few can agree on the problems and even fewer can agree on the solutions. Blocking the roads will only aggravate the public, too many of whom from the way we are portrayed in the media, are not likely to back us at the moment. If we all stayed home and had someone to put our problems and the suitable solutions forward, we might get heard, but the way things are now, that seems unlikely.
Yesterday I attended the National Road Freighters Association 10th AGM in Toowoomba. Senator Pauline Hanson was amongst four members of Parliament who attended. John Gilbert and Andreaus Drahaim attended from the NHVR and all gave a short presentation and then took part in an open forum with good audience questions and participation.
I spoke at the end offering my solution. I will start a drivers club as many drivers have been reluctant to join an association or union for whatever reason. I have said previously that you cannot affect change on your own, unless with years of effort and associations can only achieve improvements with sufficient numbers behind and participating with them. I want something simple and easy that may well suit those who are passionate and keen to see things change, but are not sure where to do something that will help, but who also do not want to pay large fees for little return or who won’t commit to meetings and events.
The “TRUCK That Drivers Club” will have four requirements.
1. Drivers will be asked to comply with the “TRUCKIES on Road Code” as included below (though if we get sufficient numbers, I will be happy to put this up for review and improvement). We will ask what route you regularly travel and what sector you operate in (tankers, general or stock etc), so we can set up a database and when an issue arises, we will ask for your comments.
2. We will ask drivers to ring road authorities when they see or encounter road hazards or irregularities so, that more than one driver is reporting such road failures and we can get them fixed faster to keep the roads safer for all.
3. We will ask for members to contribute submissions to government inquiries, but will help with outlines and details so we can be heard as drivers who are on the road.
4. We will ask that should you hear negative and or inaccurate comments on our industry on radio or in the press, that you respond and or notify us, so we can respond with a balanced reply. We cannot monitor all media, but with such a network, we could respond better and quicker than we do now.
Members will be asked for $50 per year to join, so less than one dollar a week and we will not promise discounts or deals, just give those who are passionate and want to do just that little bit to see the industry improve, a place to help do that. It will be set up on Facebook and have a members’ only section, as one of the issues of open groups, is those who may not even be drivers, can get on and destroy any good intent.

I will then put forward a list of four problems and solutions.
1. We will guarantee that in 6 weeks we will provide broadcast quality videos of the Truckies Top Ten Tips and so in 8 weeks, that will be available to include in young driver learner education across Australia. That will make a start on improving driver education about sharing the road with trucks and will be available for television adds and campaigns.
2. We will ask that the Green Reflector Marking of Informal Truck Bays be rolled out across the national highway network as an interim measure and that in marking such suitable sites, an audit be done highlighting areas needing more rest areas and these then be funded and begun the following year.
3. We will ask the NHVR to allow split rest, but only a maximum of twice a week and not on consecutive nights to assist us in managing our fatigue. If you pull up and sleep to manage your fatigue, but then are forced to stop for another 7 hour break, you will be awake and then simply tiring till you are legally allowed to go again. This is completely against us when we all want to drive when fit and sleep when tired.
4. We will contribute and seek industry participation to see improved truck driver standards of licensing and training. Just having a license does not give you the skills needed to load and travel in trucks on the road and overseas drivers must also be tested, rather than simply given a b-double license when they say yes, they drove a big truck where they came from.
I welcome any constructive comments or suggestions, have been trying to see things improve for a long time and do not wish to hijack the blockade page or supporters, but we have a group there who have some passion and much frustration and I want to offer an alternative that could work. We have been doing the TRUCK That videos since our “Sharing rest areas” video and that got good coverage and exposure and while they are for us, they are also aimed at the public and I am getting good comments on my blog but can only do so much alone.
We will start the club next week. What do you think? I already have 6 who will join and the first bloke has paid. The National Road Freighters Association have said they support the intent and if it gets more drivers a chance to participate, then it could work and help us all. Cheers Rod Hannifey.

Truckies on Road Code. If members wish, we will review this when we get to 50.


1. Respect, assist and treat other truckies as you would like to be treated.

2. Make allowances for car drivers. They don’t drive or understand trucks.

3. Your behaviour on the road and to other motorists is how we are all seen. Try to be courteous and show a good face to represent the industry that feeds you and your family.

4. Do not tailgate.
Cars – you are seen as pushy cowboys, particularly where there is no safe place to pass for some time. It’s one of our two biggest public issues.
Trucks – help one another, use CB and or flash highbeam when overtaking. Be, and be seen to be, working together as those who spend their life on the road.

5. Blatant speeding is the other biggest issue that the public abhor and use to beat us up in the press, and brand us all as irresponsible cowboys.

6. Jake brakes – in hours of darkness turn off at 60 signs and back on at 100 and only use when absolutely necessary in these urban areas at night.

7. Appearance – make an effort to look and act as a professional truckdriver. Even if you do not like this term, there’s more chance you’ll be treated better if you make an effort to look and act the part.

8. Bad language – on CB, particularly UHF with rural community use and longer range. You are not in a closed room. You don’t speak in front of your family like that, don’t do it in case of others who may be listening.

9. Dip your lights first at night. Show a good example for truckies and others.

10. Safe equipment and safe operation will see you home safe as well.

Whilst any effort to educate the average car driver will take many years, we can only do our best to travel in safety on the road. Your best efforts may often be overshadowed by bad press from an incident or accident involving a truck and often wrongly blamed upon the truckie, but only with time and education will the public, both motoring and general, come to appreciate the enormous contribution that the road transport industry makes to their comforts and way of life.

Your efforts and time on the road will either assist or destroy the attempts being made by many to improve how we are seen and treated, both on the road and off. It is a hard life on families and not respected for the money in equipment and cargo carried, or lifestyle involved. Australias’ truckies do carry this country.
With your help this message will go someway to lift the standard for all.

Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey. Road Transport and Road Safety Advocate.
Email Web:


Frustration by the Truckload. 4th February 2018.

Goodaye all. I am sure you have seen and heard of “Operation Rolling Thunder” in the press etc. The biggest ever blitz on the trucking industry across four states? The Police officer I heard on the radio said they were “sick and tired” of crashes involving trucks and I have to say, so say all of us. What happened to all involved is a tragedy and it was also for all those car occupants, killed by other car drivers, too! Yet has there been a blitz on them for causing all that loss of life and for causing far too many of the crashes involving trucks? NO!

We do not go to work to kill people, we have been asking for education for drivers about sharing the road with trucks for years and what has been done? NOTHING! I did years ago, after writing to each state, get more questions on trucks in the driver handbook and in the test, but it is not enough.

There is a lot of frustration building in the trucks and on the road. Many drivers are talking about blockades and the like, as the only way to get heard. My view is that unless you have a maximum of six issues and you can supply six solutions and you can present a united front to the government seeking those changes, you will get nowhere with a blockade and will simply piss people off.

We do need some changes, both to help us to have the flexibility and rest areas to safely and individually manage our fatigue. We need education of motorists from the early years to share the road with trucks for their safety and ours and we need the bad bits of road fixed, as too often after a crash, they do not get recognised and it seems even harder to get such things fixed now than it was years ago.

Many crashes are a contribution of events and circumstances, where if only one thing changed, it may not have happened, or the consequences may have been different, perhaps even worse. Do you go to work to be involved in a crash? Of course not.

But can we improve things, yes. So readers, what are your suggestions. If you have the power and capacity to change things, then I offer you a ride in the truck with me to see our side. Can those who have never even ridden in a loaded truck for more than 5 minutes, really tell us how to do it? We want to deliver our goods, we want to have a safe workplace and we want to get home to a family we see too little of. What can you do to help? Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

27th January 2018.

Goodaye all. Submissions for the NHVR Electronic Work Diary proposal close on the 30th January. I will publish my submission here.

TRUCKRIGHT ABN 17426245866
TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle (TIV) 2018.
Rod Hannifey, Road Transport and Road Safety Advocate, TIV Driver and Operator. Telephone: 0428 120560 Email: Website:
TRUCKRIGHT Awarded Highly Commended, 3M ACRS Diamond Road Safety Awards 2015. Finalist 3M ACRS Diamond Road Safety Awards 2016, Green Reflector Marking Informal Truck Bays. Awarded Churchill Fellowship 2016.
EWD Submission from Rod Hannifey January 2018.
The current logbook when introduced by the NTC suggested that 10 minutes was sufficient for a break or change of activity, but due to the logbook being in 15 minute increments, it was agreed to have that time as the minimum. If EWDs are to record to the minute as I understand, then it must be agreed how time will be counted. The authorities have long had their way saying that rest time less than 15 minutes is not rest and work time less than 15 minutes is 15 minutes work. That means we can be robbed of time or lose it and cannot get it back. That could mean if I work for 5 minutes, but show 15, I can lose 10 minutes, and for four times, that is 40 minutes and if I need that time to achieve any objective, it is lost and you will fine me severely for working over hours. Similarly, if I stop for 25 minutes, currently I can only record 15 minutes rest and lose 10 minutes, four times that, another 40 minutes lost, so over an hour I cannot control or use to the best intent of my fatigue and comfort.
I propose that any work time be counted and tallied by the minute, so 18 minutes work time is 18 minutes and that rest, where I agree that 2 minutes rest is not reasonable, that rest from 10 minutes or over be counted as the time involved. I have been led to believe that the current intent is for a 20 minute break, to only count 15 minutes rest, but start the next period from the 20 minutes. If this is how you propose to cheat us of our time, then no one that has to deal with customers who do not value or pay for our time, will voluntarily fit an EWD. (I have just been informed at a meeting with NHVR that they cannot change the law to accept 10 minutes as rest, but will be counting rest time above 15 minutes as rest, so 25 minutes rest will be 25 minutes rest.)
WA rules allow that a walk around the truck is a change in activity, yet if I look at a tyre, in other states that is work. Not only is this impossible to control or monitor, it leaves us open to more litigation.
The next step from that is work time, loading etc. When I arrive at a site, I will hit rest. No one will run backwards and forwards to the truck, each time they change activity and we have no control over times on site, let alone delays. Do you really think that a forkie or anyone will wait for my 15 minutes rest to roll over, before I move the truck or a gate etc, or that we will happily be on site for an hour and give all that time away when my physical loading time may be only 20 minutes. Until such time as COR solves this issue or we get paid for any time on site above a prearranged loading time, then I seek to have the ability to log work time after loading. I cannot guess how long or badly I will be screwed around on site and you will then argue I lied, if I put time down and then want it back. For a driver who does 3 or 4 drops in a day, he could be cheated of well over 2 hours.
I have an EWD device fitted to help with what we need and to find problems. I have contacted my supplier with issues regarding how it can better help me with information displayed, warnings of upcoming breaks etc, but there are two big issues. Once the clock starts for each period, I am running to meet the next time deadline, whether a break or hours maximum. I have spoken to other drivers with fleet systems and they too complain of this and drivers in the USA regularly complain of this minute monitoring and its effect on stress and compliance. If I am two minutes late with a logbook, it is not an issue, nor is it in any way a safety issue, but with an EWD, it could be.
I have previously asked for a 30 minute tolerance, even if only twice a week for those days when everything goes bad and all of those things are beyond my control. I am aware of the proposed 8 minute tolerance and also that authorities wanted not one second allowed and if that does not show they are in it for the money and not safety, I don’t know what does. I do not run to maximum hours every day. I never intend to run to maximum hours, but there are times when those hours allow me a better place to eat or sleep. There are still times now, 90% caused by customers or others over who I have no control, that I have to decide on a decent meal, a shower, or another hours sleep.

Allowing the 30 minutes twice a week would recognise that I cannot control others, that COR is yet to reach all and if I go beyond that, then you will fine me as you do now. For drivers who do not deal with customers etc, it will not matter, but for those of us who do, you will be making us criminals due to the simple lack of empathy for truck drivers by others.
My view is that you must meet us somewhere in the middle or no one will want an EWD. For some jobs, it will be an improvement, for others, it has all ready cost them lost earnings and substantial stress as companies use the device to cover themselves for hours etc. Until we have suitable and sufficient rest areas and customers will be held responsible for delays, then you must have some understanding of the job. Currently the laws and penalties are designed, implemented and policed by those who do not have to live by them, who have every facility available to them within reach, yet we live on the road where those facilities can be rare and are at the mercy of customers who do not care if we wait hours for them. Distribution centres who give you a 15 minute window in which to arrive from nearly 1000 kilometres away and yet then expect you to happily be stuffed about for up to 4 hours. This must be fixed before you completely take away our flexibility. Thank you, Rod Hannifey.

I add this here not to influence you or suggest you should resend it as is. I add it to cover my thoughts and hope you will consider other issue you see and raise them now! Once it is law, it is too late and it is hard enough to get heard before, but after it is law, good luck on getting any changes through.

My meeting with the NHVR was fruitful and has allayed but not completely removed some of my concerns. However, I am sure most of you have seen the Toll letter and the comments from some about making EWDs mandatory. Of course by those who will never have to live under them. Yes, we have to do more and there are some truckies that should not be, but the rest of us should not be punished and micromanaged to the tiniest degree, because of them. It is like saying because one politician did the wrong thing, so all should be controlled more. Is that the answer, no.

Please make your thoughts and comments known to the NHVR by contributing a submission and perhaps, we will get a better result. I have just got home from filming our next issue of TRUCK That and tomorrow should have the ABC 7.30 report coming for a trip from Dubbo to Toowoomba, hopefully to better see and feel things from our seat.

Thanks to VicRoads for finally overlaying the northbound section of the Hume at Erreys Road, it has taken nearly 4 years to get that bit done, but only a 7 out of 10 for the job, still some minor undulations there which I fear, will again become bigger over time.

I would also hope many pollies read Steve Shearers comments on the issues raised from the crashes of the last couple of weeks. Let is hope we get good improvements in safety for all, not just knee jerk reactions form those who want to be seen to do something, even if that something makes things worse. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

21st January 2018 A tragic week.

Goodaye all. It has been a tragic week for crashes and deaths on the road and unless any of us were involved in each of these incidents, we can only go on what we hear and learn from press and others and most of them, were not there either. Yes in weeks, months or years, there will be completion of a crash inquiry and for those involving deaths, a Coroners Report, but that will not stop a crash tomorrow and is so far away, we are unlikely to learn much to help now.

Following the tanker crash the CEO of Toll issued a letter to the Prime Minister and others as an operators perspective, saying we have had enough inquiries and that we must do something now and that was before the Dubbo crash. He also said Toll as the biggest, must be included.

These are his 6 points taken from a copy sent to me by one of the media groups I spoke to. 1. Have one rule book for heavy vehicles and drivers across the country including  a national approach to mandatory stationary rest times, speed limits and driver licensing. (abridged) 2. Introduce a national operator licensing system. 3. Enhance community understanding of how to drive around trucks, including through the graduated licensing system and education campaigns. 4. Incentivise and reward safe, modern fleets with life-saving technologies. 5. Make telematics mandatory for regulatory purposes. 6. Draw on private sector expertise from transport operators in any discussion on improving road safety outcomes pertaining to heavy vehicles.

I applaud him making the effort and he is far more likely to have the Prime Minister take note, than he will of my list. I agree with points  1, 3 and 6 with the note 6 must also include those who live and work on the road, not just the big companies who are not there for us, as drivers. In point one he mentions mandatory stationary rest times, but completely fails to mention the lack of rest areas or penalties, or lack of flexibility.

I have done a number of media interviews during the week and heard others. I do agree with the Australian Trucking Associations’ call for better crash investigation and this has been asked for by others for many years. How can we change things if we do not have the unbiased and unemotional data from those who can do a complete investigation? Those involved at such sites have enough tragedy to deal with at the time and later investigations can have media push and frenzy, pushing them for someone to blame.

In the media I said that there must be drivers involved with any of this, as I have for years. I have pushed to get better notice of industry requests for submissions towards better outcomes and my view is that those who make, implement and police our laws, do not have to live by them and have all the toilets, facilities and their needs met close at hand, when there are not even enough rest areas, let alone recognition of the job we do and the life we lead, to feed and clothe every Australian.

So this is my list and I would welcome your thoughts. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

  1. Driver education is the biggest issue. For car drivers about sharing the road with trucks, to learn 60 plus tonne of b-double will not stop, simply because you pulled out in front of it, is a bad lesson to learn as it kills you. We do not teach young people (who like you and I are all bullet proof when they get their license) about sharing the road with large trucks. If we included a video of the Truckies Top Ten Tips at time of licensing, that would help. It is visual and so will be retained, it could be done from the truckies seat and so be accurate and surely 10 minutes at time of licensing towards the next 60 years on the road, is not too much to give. There must also be better training of truck drivers, particularly those who come from overseas. All must be tested and capable, instead of just being given a license when they may never have driven trucks of the size we operate here. A national licensing system with national standards can only come when we have suitable training.
  2. The impacts that our roads have on crashes is often overlooked. Yes our roads are better than they were in most places, but our maintenance is terrible. There is a section of the Cunningham Highway just south of Yelarbon that I have been asking to have fixed for over 4 years! It is dangerous. Yet after threatening to make more noise, they got surveyors out who agree it is a problem, but they have no money to fix it they say. I told them if there is a fatality there, I will hold them responsible as they knew and did nothing about it and this is everywhere. Roads must be built and repaired to a safe standard, not patched each week, or have the patch make it worse. Road irregularities that cause impacts that are double the weight of the truck, because the surface is so bad, (and I can document and list these) will kill people. There must be a national road standard, so that I can show a problem that is likely to cause and or contribute to a crash, that it is fixed quickly, not in 5 years. There must also be some value in what we get for our money. Fifteen, million dollar machines all idle while 3 blokes sweep a road, is not good value. There must be some warranty period, so that they can’t just come back next week and charge again, for a lousy repair in the first place.
  3. Rest areas. There are not enough! How can we manage our fatigue when there is no shade, not enough room to get away from a frig van or stock truck or to open your windows and bunk doors, or if you are lucky enough to have an ICEPACK, to get far enough away not to interrupt some other drivers sleep. We need sites to encourage car drivers to stop, so they need to be clean and have toilets, we need enough for caravaners so they do not take up truckies spots, we need sites with all the facilities for all, as we cannot afford and never should have, separate sites for each. If well designed, such sites will suit all and with more cars stopped during the day and more trucks stopped at night, we will get the best utilisation and benefit for the money spent. Like the roads, do it once, but do it right.
  4. We need recognition that not all people or drivers are the same and that the fatigue regulations must have some flexibility for different people. Telematics for companies to monitor is fine, but micromanaging drivers to the minute and the metre, will not stop crashes. Yes we need rules, but a fine in the thousands of dollars because a driver went 15 minutes further to get a toilet, a shower or a better meal, and they are becoming harder to find, cannot be justified.
  5. Yes we need national regulations. We are closer now than we have ever been and it must be completed. I do agree to some differences, but not thousands. National registration and licensing to give both a view to how we operate, what we need and a base line for those entering the industry is good, but not to exclude all so big companies can do what they like. If you help or subsidise big companies to adopt new technologies, how will the little bloke ever compete. In the aim of fairness, we should be helping the little bloke to be safer and more competitive and give better service.
  6. There must be more truck driver input and understanding of the job by all. Yes car drivers are on the road with us and yes, they too have a right to have a say, but few of them have ever been in a truck and so how can they understand trucks, let alone tell us what to do. Our industry is so wide spread and diverse, we cover from one end of the country to the other and we have so many different parts, livestock, general, tippers, tankers, frig vans, oversize etc, that we struggle to get together and agree on what we need.

I cannot fix the problem, nor can you, but if we do recognise those that do the job, I believe we will get a better response. Some of the media did recognise the improvements we have made, some did specify that the majority of car/truck fatal crashes are the fault of the car driver, but many did not know nor were they interested. I “expert” raised concerns about the safer b-doubles being involved in these crashes and that implied they were not as safe as told, but has he ever been in one?