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.

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