21st October 2017. A bit of my history.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

TRUCK That Australia 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8th October 2017 “TRUCK That”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

1st October 2017.

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

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

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

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

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