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.