10th December. The K200 returns.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3rd December 2017 Blogging?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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