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.