31/12/2017 A TRUCKING GOOD NEW YEAR to all. Looking Forward, Looking Back.

Goodaye all. How many of you recognise the song name? Slim Dusty is an Australian legend and made over 100 albums and one of the last was “Looking Forward, Looking Back” and the title song was the same. Not a bad idea at this time of year, would you not agree?

We must look back at what we have done, learn from our mistakes and seek to improve and look forward to what we are yet to, but can, achieve. I do believe in goal setting, though not to the degree that it rules my life. I look forward, I do some planning and in doing that, I do look back to what worked, what didn’t, what I learnt and what I can do better.

I would like to thank all who have helped and or contributed to the TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle (TIV) and what it has achieved. It is still like peeing in the ocean and expecting the level to rise, it is a small part of a large industry and will never fix all the problems, but it is my attempt to do something, rather that just sit and moan and expect someone else to do it for me.

Without the help and contributions of all those who assist, it would not exist and my dream would never have seen the light of day. I look back to events attended, things I have contributed to, issues I have tried to improve and or at the least, be part of and I look forward to the next TIV.

In February in will be asking for more support from any who would like to help. I can only do so much as an employed driver and my hope is to have a truck and trailers supplied so I can work for two weeks and generate enough income to feed my family and pay my bills and have two weeks to work for the road transport industry, attending events, taking people for rides in the truck and contributing to industry issues in a bigger way than I can now. I would welcome any who might want to consider contributing to give it some thought till then.

January will be rest areas month. I am planning to have articles in all industry press seeking more rest areas, an agreement from all road authorities that no truck rest areas, informal or otherwise, will be closed without replacements being built FIRST, not later, as we all know how hard it is to get something done later when it is not important to that person in the first place. We continue to have one shut here and one shut there by different groups or districts and they say, it is only one spot. But when ten different places are closed and nothing is replaced, we continue to fall behind in the number and quality of the truck rest areas we need NOW!

Please keep an eye out for submissions being called soon for comment on the new national rest areas guidelines and are you interested in and or contributing to the call for submissions from the NHVR re Electronic Work Diaries currently? There is also funding available from the NHVR and Federal Government for Heavy Vehicle Safety Projects, so if you have any good ideas, give that a go as well.

Kirsty the new editor at Big Rigs, did a trip with me from Brisbane to Dubbo last week. She has agreed to fill out a TIV riders form and to support my rest areas and TIV requests over the next couple of months and I have spoken with Tim Giles at Diesel Magazine as well and would welcome any suggestions or other avenues to push these issues forward.

So, thanks to all of you who read this, who have commented and or passed it on. I hope 2017 has ben good to you and if not, hope even more, that 2018 will be. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

25th December 2017 Merry Christmas.

Goodaye all. Just a short note as it has been a long day and I am about to go to bed to get up for Christmas Day. Over my life I have been very lucky to enjoy most Christmas’ with family. As a child with Mum and Dad and my two sisters till I was 15 and my Mum left home and life changed. Then there was Dad and I and my sisters till they were taken by Mum. In the scheme of things, I had a reasonable childhood, got smacked a few times, warned a few more and never really did anything seriously bad.

My luck continued when I met my wife and we have had 7 wonderful children, though there have been tough times and this job puts enormous pressure on partners, children and relationships generally. Too many drivers I know have lost one or more families because of this job. There are many drivers who will still be on the road and or alone at this time of year and whilst I cannot prevent or change that, I would ask that those of us who are better off, at the very least, recognise the life truckies lead so that we can have our Christmas feed, the presents etc and the time off, they may not enjoy.

So in wishing you all a very Merry Christmas for this year, I ask only that you have some empathy for those on the road, that you recognise what we contribute to your way of life, that you endeavour to share the road with us and that you make every effort to get home safely to whatever family you may have and that if you can’t, no matter what the issues, that you tell them you love them, because it will be too late when they are gone.

Thank you for your interest and reading and comments. I hope I can continue to offer a view from the truckies seat and perspective, that will occasionally entertain and more often, educate and help all those on the road. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

 

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.