18th February 2018 Where to?

Goodaye all. I would ask how many of you saw the 7.30 report on the ABC two weeks ago 5/2/2018. I did not learn it was going to air till that Monday afternoon and so could not give any notice. I would like to thank the ABC, Julia and the crew who came along for the ride. We started at 10AM in Dubbo (and we filmed and interviewed Julia for TRUCK That as well) and finished at 2.30AM in Wellcamp near Toowoomba with a few stops along the way.

They said I was very patient and thanked me for my time, but that is why I suggested a Sunday start. I wanted the chance to put our view forward and doing it with the logbook dictating times, would either see me rushing them or not getting where I wanted to and that would have caused more dramas than needed and may not have got the right message out. I have just finally watched the show, having had many comments but a busy couple of weeks and all have said my bit was good and I raised some of the issues.

As you will imagine, much more was filmed and they decide what goes to air and certainly needed a wider perspective, than just a drivers. However, we still need more input and information to get to the public about what we do and how we do it. I still feel we are being punished by the actions of the few truckies who do the wrong thing (and we are human, we do make mistakes too) and was taken to task by a Police Officer for not supporting operation “Rolling Thunder”. I have responded asking for the full details of the infringements and defects and is it just me, or do any of you agree they are pushing all the negative against us and nothing of the positive?

At the NRFA AGM it was offered that yes, there were truck drivers found using drugs and none of us condone that, but the percentage was far less than rampant in the general community with one figure of 26% of car drivers in one RBT operation alone, showing we are not all drug addicts. Again when you look at who is at fault in car/truck fatal crashes, what are we doing to educate car drivers? I have been asking for this to change for years and had we had some education when you get your license, we could have saved many lives, including those of truckies. But it seems all stick and no carrot to me.

I had a phone call one night during the week. “Are you listening to the ABC? Get on there and sort this out. They are talking rubbish and don’t have a clue.” I went over to listen as I pulled into the BP at Goondiwindi and tried to ring in a few times. The lines were full, not surprisingly with the content of the first call I got and I only managed to get through as it ended and did leave an offer of a trip with me.

The guests were Tony Sheldon from the TWU and Geoff Crouch the ATA Chairman. Driving hours and logbooks brought them undone and I am told the UHF ran hot for a long time after, as people discussed the issues and comments. Further discussions the following day from most said they did not do us any favours. I heard the ABC presenter ask a number of times, “So when do you sleep” and if nothing else, it shows he had concerns on what he was told by those who should know, but it seems didn’t or couldn’t get the message across the line.

As they took calls, many of those who phoned in went some way to diffuse the situation and make good and relevant comments, but if you are going to have “experts” on the panel, then they need to know the rules and laws of those they purport to represent and to then help us to be seen to be trying to do the right thing. You cannot let us be maligned yet again, when you are there to put our view forward, or you are simply not doing the job properly.

How do we get a fair go? How do we get heard for the issues we face and have a chance to improve things on the road? We will start the TRUCK That (Australia) Drivers Club in the next two weeks. It is not as simple as I had hoped and we need to get some things in place, so don’t give up on us yet. It alone will not solve our problems, but I do hope it will provide a place for those drivers who want to do something, to see things improve. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.
 

12th February 2018. TRUCK That Drivers Club

Goodaye all. Well “Operation Rolling Thunder” went a long way to solving the industries problems did it? It educated all the car drivers and got the rest area problem fixed too I am sure. What’s that, you disagree! You mean you don’t think it helped. Yes, they got 2000 defects and fines, but won’t release what they were. Why do you think that is?
There is a lot of truck driver frustration with the way we are being portrayed and maligned and many are talking of blockades. Will that work or solve our problems? From what I have seen or heard, few can agree on the problems and even fewer can agree on the solutions. Blocking the roads will only aggravate the public, too many of whom from the way we are portrayed in the media, are not likely to back us at the moment. If we all stayed home and had someone to put our problems and the suitable solutions forward, we might get heard, but the way things are now, that seems unlikely.
Yesterday I attended the National Road Freighters Association 10th AGM in Toowoomba. Senator Pauline Hanson was amongst four members of Parliament who attended. John Gilbert and Andreaus Drahaim attended from the NHVR and all gave a short presentation and then took part in an open forum with good audience questions and participation.
I spoke at the end offering my solution. I will start a drivers club as many drivers have been reluctant to join an association or union for whatever reason. I have said previously that you cannot affect change on your own, unless with years of effort and associations can only achieve improvements with sufficient numbers behind and participating with them. I want something simple and easy that may well suit those who are passionate and keen to see things change, but are not sure where to do something that will help, but who also do not want to pay large fees for little return or who won’t commit to meetings and events.
The “TRUCK That Drivers Club” will have four requirements.
1. Drivers will be asked to comply with the “TRUCKIES on Road Code” as included below (though if we get sufficient numbers, I will be happy to put this up for review and improvement). We will ask what route you regularly travel and what sector you operate in (tankers, general or stock etc), so we can set up a database and when an issue arises, we will ask for your comments.
2. We will ask drivers to ring road authorities when they see or encounter road hazards or irregularities so, that more than one driver is reporting such road failures and we can get them fixed faster to keep the roads safer for all.
3. We will ask for members to contribute submissions to government inquiries, but will help with outlines and details so we can be heard as drivers who are on the road.
4. We will ask that should you hear negative and or inaccurate comments on our industry on radio or in the press, that you respond and or notify us, so we can respond with a balanced reply. We cannot monitor all media, but with such a network, we could respond better and quicker than we do now.
Members will be asked for $50 per year to join, so less than one dollar a week and we will not promise discounts or deals, just give those who are passionate and want to do just that little bit to see the industry improve, a place to help do that. It will be set up on Facebook and have a members’ only section, as one of the issues of open groups, is those who may not even be drivers, can get on and destroy any good intent.

I will then put forward a list of four problems and solutions.
1. We will guarantee that in 6 weeks we will provide broadcast quality videos of the Truckies Top Ten Tips and so in 8 weeks, that will be available to include in young driver learner education across Australia. That will make a start on improving driver education about sharing the road with trucks and will be available for television adds and campaigns.
2. We will ask that the Green Reflector Marking of Informal Truck Bays be rolled out across the national highway network as an interim measure and that in marking such suitable sites, an audit be done highlighting areas needing more rest areas and these then be funded and begun the following year.
3. We will ask the NHVR to allow split rest, but only a maximum of twice a week and not on consecutive nights to assist us in managing our fatigue. If you pull up and sleep to manage your fatigue, but then are forced to stop for another 7 hour break, you will be awake and then simply tiring till you are legally allowed to go again. This is completely against us when we all want to drive when fit and sleep when tired.
4. We will contribute and seek industry participation to see improved truck driver standards of licensing and training. Just having a license does not give you the skills needed to load and travel in trucks on the road and overseas drivers must also be tested, rather than simply given a b-double license when they say yes, they drove a big truck where they came from.
I welcome any constructive comments or suggestions, have been trying to see things improve for a long time and do not wish to hijack the blockade page or supporters, but we have a group there who have some passion and much frustration and I want to offer an alternative that could work. We have been doing the TRUCK That videos since our “Sharing rest areas” video and that got good coverage and exposure and while they are for us, they are also aimed at the public and I am getting good comments on my blog http://www.truckright.blog but can only do so much alone.
We will start the club next week. What do you think? I already have 6 who will join and the first bloke has paid. The National Road Freighters Association have said they support the intent and if it gets more drivers a chance to participate, then it could work and help us all. Cheers Rod Hannifey.

Truckies on Road Code. If members wish, we will review this when we get to 50.

 

1. Respect, assist and treat other truckies as you would like to be treated.

2. Make allowances for car drivers. They don’t drive or understand trucks.

3. Your behaviour on the road and to other motorists is how we are all seen. Try to be courteous and show a good face to represent the industry that feeds you and your family.

4. Do not tailgate.
Cars – you are seen as pushy cowboys, particularly where there is no safe place to pass for some time. It’s one of our two biggest public issues.
Trucks – help one another, use CB and or flash highbeam when overtaking. Be, and be seen to be, working together as those who spend their life on the road.

5. Blatant speeding is the other biggest issue that the public abhor and use to beat us up in the press, and brand us all as irresponsible cowboys.

6. Jake brakes – in hours of darkness turn off at 60 signs and back on at 100 and only use when absolutely necessary in these urban areas at night.

7. Appearance – make an effort to look and act as a professional truckdriver. Even if you do not like this term, there’s more chance you’ll be treated better if you make an effort to look and act the part.

8. Bad language – on CB, particularly UHF with rural community use and longer range. You are not in a closed room. You don’t speak in front of your family like that, don’t do it in case of others who may be listening.

9. Dip your lights first at night. Show a good example for truckies and others.

10. Safe equipment and safe operation will see you home safe as well.

Whilst any effort to educate the average car driver will take many years, we can only do our best to travel in safety on the road. Your best efforts may often be overshadowed by bad press from an incident or accident involving a truck and often wrongly blamed upon the truckie, but only with time and education will the public, both motoring and general, come to appreciate the enormous contribution that the road transport industry makes to their comforts and way of life.

Your efforts and time on the road will either assist or destroy the attempts being made by many to improve how we are seen and treated, both on the road and off. It is a hard life on families and not respected for the money in equipment and cargo carried, or lifestyle involved. Australias’ truckies do carry this country.
With your help this message will go someway to lift the standard for all.

Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey. Road Transport and Road Safety Advocate.
Email rod.hannifey@bigpond.com Web: http://www.truckright.com.au

 

Frustration by the Truckload. 4th February 2018.

Goodaye all. I am sure you have seen and heard of “Operation Rolling Thunder” in the press etc. The biggest ever blitz on the trucking industry across four states? The Police officer I heard on the radio said they were “sick and tired” of crashes involving trucks and I have to say, so say all of us. What happened to all involved is a tragedy and it was also for all those car occupants, killed by other car drivers, too! Yet has there been a blitz on them for causing all that loss of life and for causing far too many of the crashes involving trucks? NO!

We do not go to work to kill people, we have been asking for education for drivers about sharing the road with trucks for years and what has been done? NOTHING! I did years ago, after writing to each state, get more questions on trucks in the driver handbook and in the test, but it is not enough.

There is a lot of frustration building in the trucks and on the road. Many drivers are talking about blockades and the like, as the only way to get heard. My view is that unless you have a maximum of six issues and you can supply six solutions and you can present a united front to the government seeking those changes, you will get nowhere with a blockade and will simply piss people off.

We do need some changes, both to help us to have the flexibility and rest areas to safely and individually manage our fatigue. We need education of motorists from the early years to share the road with trucks for their safety and ours and we need the bad bits of road fixed, as too often after a crash, they do not get recognised and it seems even harder to get such things fixed now than it was years ago.

Many crashes are a contribution of events and circumstances, where if only one thing changed, it may not have happened, or the consequences may have been different, perhaps even worse. Do you go to work to be involved in a crash? Of course not.

But can we improve things, yes. So readers, what are your suggestions. If you have the power and capacity to change things, then I offer you a ride in the truck with me to see our side. Can those who have never even ridden in a loaded truck for more than 5 minutes, really tell us how to do it? We want to deliver our goods, we want to have a safe workplace and we want to get home to a family we see too little of. What can you do to help? Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.