25th August 2017 TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle Sponsors.

Goodaye all. The TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle (TIV) would simply not exist without the help of those who have supported, sponsored and or, assisted with product. The first major contributor, was Ken Wilkie. Ken also writes for Owner Driver magazine and has since the first issue. He is an owner driver and leased me his K104 to start off the TIV. I had a dream and lots of thoughts on what could be done to improve how we are seen, particularly by the public. We have magnificent looking trucks on the road that promote tractors and dog food and vineyards, but there were none that promoted us.

In very simple terms and truly without sufficient recognition from me and many others, Ken was buying a new truck and knowing I was looking to do something a bit different, he offered me his current truck to start off the TIV. Ken told me later many had asked why he would support “my” dream? His answer was that his father had offered his life for this country (and we recognised that with words on the side of the sleeper “In the Anzac Tradition, Truck supplied by Ken and Dot Wilkie”), but Ken was only lending me his truck.

As a single truck owner driver, it was a magnanimous gesture and I was able to take the truck into the Rod Pilon Transport fleet and will cover their support next sponsors blog. I had Ken’s truck for two years and it changed from this when I picked up the new Rod Pilon Transport trailers from Vawdrey in Melbourne,

IMG_0860

to this, when I returned it to him, thanks to many hours and many contributors.

IMG_0762

I will never be able to thank Ken enough and some of the story will remain untold, but suffice to say, Ken did help me get the TIV on the road and without that help, it may never have happened. Things changed after I started with the truck, but Ken honoured that commitment for the full two years, an incredible level of support. Thank you Ken and Dot Wilkie for your friendship, help and unequalled support.

The current TIV has been far more than a part time hobby on top of my job, it is a passion and I am proud of my efforts and its achievements, but more could be done. The only way to do that is to do it more and it is hard to do that, as an employed driver. I will look for and find someone who will supply a truck and set of trailers to allow me to do this fulltime, but still be a working truck and am actively working on the next (and most likely the last) TIV now. My aim is to have it on the road when I return from my Churchill Fellowship trip next year, or soon after.

It will then be able to attend more events and be in front of more people to show another side to our industry. Getting people into the truck on the road, getting in front of them at events and shows and explaining more about trucking than they will ever see on a sensationalist grab on tv, I believe can and will, make the roads safer for all, not just for truckies. If you want to help make this happen, please let me know. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

18th August 2017.

Goodaye all. Finding oil in the radiator is not the best way to start the week, so back home Sunday night. Into work Monday morning, workshop pulled it apart, EGR cooler failure, wait for parts for Tuesday morning, some then missing but luckily only locally, got them and back on the road Tuesday afternoon. Had Channel 7 and the paper arranged as I was going to Toowoomba for Monday unload, missed Channel 7 but met up with the journalist on Wednesday morning. Both were following up on my raising of the issue of rest areas on the new Toowoomba bypass.

Tom the journalist did have a responce from TMR, saying there was a rest area being built on the west side of the Warrego overpass, but it is a roadtrain hook up pad. I will follow up and seek the plans and will pursue. All well and good for them to say it is a rest area, I can just imagine getting good sleep while blokes hook up roadtrains with lights and reversing buzzers etc. Owner Driver will follow up with me next week as well.

I do have a caravan story for 2 weeks time and plan to start doing a plug for each of the TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle (TIV) supporters monthly from next week, but for now will stick with media and specifically videos. How many of you saw the Volvo video with Jean-Claude Van Damme? I would like to recommend a few more for your interest and comments. “I am a Volvo trucker” won a number of awards and shows a completely different, though American side to those of us who live on the road and I would love to do something like that here. It will happen one day. The video I did with the NRMA “We hitch a 10 hour ride” on the NRMA Facebook page was my first viral event and I have since done 5 videos on Youtube, TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle Video 1 etc, with the aim to explain to people what the TIV is all about.

A mate has a hobby, OZTRUCKINGTV and has spent years trying to get a better image for the industry and now in the USA, there is a campaign Trucking Moves America Forward run by the American Trucking Association which has a number of streams, videos and now over 100 trailers wrapped with their messages. We have never had a such a campaign here in Australia and granted their population, number of drivers and market are so much bigger, but we do need to get the average motorist to recognise what we contribute to their way of life.

Is video the way to do it? Let me know what you like of those mentioned and what you suggest? Happy to have a major supporter for same in the future. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

Trucks and the media.

Goodaye all. Years ago I was invited to participate in the TV show, “Enough Rope” with Andrew Denton. Now many would of course wonder about the show from the name, are you expected to Hang Yourself, given, “Enough Rope”? They did struggle to get people involved, with many in our industry either previously badly portrayed or misrepresented in what eventually goes to air or newspaper and so reluctant to be hung, yet again.

However I enjoyed the event, found Andrew to be a terrific bloke (and they later did a book on the series, sending me a copy with a signed inscription from Andrew) and the show did portray us to be both human and also I hope, interesting people. I was contacted last week by the Toowoomba Chronicle to comment on a story about the Toowoomba Range, following a major incident there that left the road blocked and traffic clogged for hours. I started off with the proviso that all roads should be driven subject to the conditions of the road and that I did not want to criticise the road authority, but wanted the article to raise a concern towards a better outcome for the future.

Tom, the Toowoomba journalist pretty much stuck to the script, though failed to mention the one specific issue I raised, complaints I have had from A-double drivers of breaking traction on the new steeper bit of road. The Courier Mail, not only went a lot harder, they used photos of myself and the TIV, without ever speaking to me at all. The headline was “Toowoomba Range Dangerous” and by virtue attributed to me, but not words I ever uttered.

No wonder we are wary of making comment. I do not subscribe to the Courier Mail and so cannot, without paying, answer the replies to the story. Some say the same as I did initially, the road should be driven subject to conditions, others were so stupid, saying trucks should be restricted to 10 KPH and imagine the que and stupidity that would ensue, while cars were held up.

For over 12 years, a fellow I once talked to on live radio, who then did a trip with me to see and feel our issues and then spoke to me nearly monthly for that time, allowing me access to his radio audience across three stations as he moved in his career, from Muswellbrook to Deniliquin an then finally, Murray Bridge in SA, talked to me about trucks on the road.

We started off with the Truckies Top Ten Tips (for sharing the road with trucks) and ranged across events and issues with some replies to stories and issues, but mainly, just giving me the chance to give our side. Thank you to Chris Lewis for such long and helpful support and I wish him all the best for his now, off radio life. No one else has come close in my books yet, but two years on the ABC in Early Mornings, two years on Rig Radio from Wagga Wagga and then another two on Overnight Express and now weekly on Yass FM with Mark, will all help to change how we are seen and perceived by the public, when all too often the only press we get is “TRUCK KILLS”.

How do we change this? How do we get a fair go? I wish I knew and could solve that problem along with others in our industry. All I can do is keep trying. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

6th August 2017

Goodaye all. I turned 60 on Friday, another day on the road, another day away from family and something, few others really care about, a truckies life. The public just want their goods available in a shop and or delivered, they do not consider how and when it gets there. That is the job I do, delivering the goods. Life has certainly changed in many ways. My Father worked for the Post Office and many in his day came back from the war and got a job and many worked on in, if not the same job, for the same employer for most of their lives. Our road transport industry really started after the war and I would highly recommend the book, “They Came Like Waves” by Jeffrey Ffrost as an introduction into those early years.

Years ago many truckdrivers came from trucking families and you went for a trip with your Dad, liked the life and carried on into the job. Now with both graduated licenses, insurance issues and the way most people want a job where they can have a family life, not being away living in a truck, getting people into trucking is harder than it has ever been. Many truckies will say to their kids, “If you go anywhere near a truck, I ‘ll kick you that hard you won’t land for a week” as they know how hard a job it can be on family.

So why do I do it you may fairly ask. I got involved when I left school and have been ever since. It has also become my hobby and yet that alone, does not explain that someone must be driving the trucks for all to survive. Even with online shopping, true you may not need to go to a store,  but how will the products get to you? To be made they need ingredients going to a factory or to be made somewhere, they need to be distributed for sale and or delivery and true, that chain may be shrinking, but it is still there and without it, you will starve, have no clothes and no fuel for your car.

Trucks do truly deliver Australia. We have a large country and relatively small population and at one stage, we had 28 different rail gauges in Australia. Only a few years ago did we finally end up with a rail line to Darwin, we have nothing like the fast trains overseas and the rail link from Melbourne to Brisbane is certainly closer that ever before, but still a way off. Rail did have a bad reputation in the past and yet, it can do some jobs better that trucking can, like bulk commodities, but even if you want more general freight on rail, you still need trucks to get it to the rail, then to get it off the rail and then again to deliver it. Which is where trucks do things well.

Trucks carry over 75% of domestic freight, they do it well and yes, there are crashes involving trucks, but from where I sit, the biggest issue is that we do not teach young drivers to share the road with trucks. If the only education they get about trucks is what they learn from video games, will that give them sufficient knowledge to not only make them safe on the road,  but make the road safer for truckies too?

I would welcome your thoughts on education about sharing the road with trucks. How and when should we do it? Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.