27th May 2018 This life we lead.

Goodaye all, I am off to work now having had a different week last week from my usual. Out to the farm to unload, friendly people and nice trucks. Back into Moree and then loaded cotton with no facilities, not even allowed to make a cup of tea and in que for four hours before loading, then to Sydney and treated pretty much the same there.

Made it to Newcastle for the next morning, now a day late, but had to get the roadworks crew to shift witches hats, as I refused to try and drive under a 3m tree and branches when they wanted traffic off the side of the road for resurfacing work. Didn’t sleep all that well, up early to be told, yes you can turn around down the street, not on your life, back to wait to load to be told yours won’t be ready for maybe two hours or more, so back to bed.

This is the life of many drivers. Hurry up and wait. There are now some companies in the USA about to start paying by the hour and some do here. What do you think? How many people go to work expecting to do up to 70 hours a week, but only be paid for 50? Would you? Yes there are issues, but do we want to have drivers in trucks in the future or robots? So many drivers cop a fine for something completely unrelated to actual road safety and then say, bugger this, I can earn more driving a forklift with less stress and no fines and be much safer.

It is good to see rest areas getting a run in the press, but as with all things, it can be good or bad. Those promoting the “fight” between truckies and RVers want to sell press time. Those of us on the road want a fair go for all, somewhere to be able to get good sleep and rest and to be safe on the road and education will get us much further and faster than fighting.

I would welcome your views on how to solve the problem. Please check my website for the RVers Survey, the Truckies on Road Code etc. Channel 18 for RVers is to me, one of the best tools for those with a UHF, and or at least being confident and happy to use it. To those truckies who abuse RVers on the UHF, all that will do is show them what gooses we are. Yes I understand frustration on both sides, but abuse will not get you anywhere.

We need more and suitable rest areas and I have been asking for this for years. As an interim measure, I started the green (previously blue, but Vicroads and WA would not recognise them saying the fireies would get confused) reflector marking of informal truck bays now on 19 years ago. If it has taken me that long to get one major highway done plus parts of four or five others, no wonder it has been such a fight to get good rest areas. I welcome the support of the ATA, NATROAD, CMCA and Caravan Club of Australia and many others, but we have waited too long.

The idea of a summit where we can all work towards the same goals seems worth a try and TRUCK That did seek funding to do the Truckies Top Ten Tips for motorists and the Top Ten Tips for RVers and are still awaiting the answer as we simply can’t do it alone.

Let us hope we can get the government to provide for us at the very least, suitable and safe places to sleep and rest. We will not get what they have, nor have we ever asked for 5 Star facilities, but we need someone to be fair dinkum and get something started now. What do you suggest? Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

 

20th May 2018 Phone calls and messages.

Goodaye all. This weeks calls have been a mixed bunch, but all with a theme of drivers in crisis in one way or another. One driver wanted to chat for 15 minutes and two hours later, after discussing all the industries woes, he explained he is alone and living in the truck after thirty plus years of marriage.

The next was again, concerned about the industry and rates and spoke of being so angry with where his life and business was going, that he made a mistake, but thankfully no damage, only wounded pride. Then there was a call about a driver involved with a suicide and did I know of others, yes, but few want to talk about it and we will as always, get the blame first and the impact will not be recognised nor treated the same, as for others.

Then a message about the “fight” between truckies and caravaners in the west, but no recognition of the issue anywhere else in Australia or any real positives. I have replied offering another view and info and will see if I get a reply.

I spoke of the drivers club to the drivers, one wanting a new union, one wanting us all to stop, others in other discussions simply wanting things to improve, but how do we do it? Did we really get any real improvement from the original blockades? Yes genuine blokes trying to make a difference, but no real change to the life we lead on the road. Others have tried since and my view overall, is that until we all agree (and yes, more chance of me walking to the moon) and put forward a maximum of 6 issues with 6 solutions, we will never get any real change.

For over thirty years we have asked for better roads, more and better rest areas and education of drivers about sharing the road with trucks. Yes there are more things, rates and how they do affect not only our lifestyle, but the ability of owner drivers to compete and make a living and maintain their trucks, but how do you fix that? When I started in road safety over 20 years ago, I knew as an individual driver, I would not have any chance to influence this.

So what do we do and what do I do? We cannot get any real change and I have tried to do so for many years. Do we give up? No of course not. Will the drivers club be a better way or a good start, or simply not get any traction and just be another good idea that fails to achieve any real change? That my friends is up to you.

I will not give in and will keep trying and I would hope at least some of you recognise 20 plus years of effort and whilst some do have some idea of that cost and effort, there are still those who have a problem with what I do and want to, mostly behind my back of course, say I am doing it for me. To them my question has always been, what have you done to get anything improved and more that happy for you to step in and step up. How many of you will join the TRUCK That Australia Drivers Club and help, instead of whinging in truckstops? Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

13th May 2018. A Megaweek.

Goodaye all. By early AM tomorrow, “TRUCK That” May will be on the air at http://www.truckingnation.com.au for your viewing pleasure. It covers Ben Maguire’s trip with me in the TIV and his interview and my attendance at Megatrans and four interviews done there. I would welcome your comments and your sharing it with your friends if you see fit.

As always, without the help of Rod Pilon Transport, I would not be able to attend such events. Thanks also to the Megatrans show organisers for their support. I had initially hoped to take Ben to Brisbane, but with the Public Holiday up there, it meant there was only one way to go, south, if I was going to get three trips in and be at Megatrans, so thanks to all at Pilons for the help with the loads and their ongoing support.

Thanks also to Kenworth for their support and for the posters showing the current range, an excellent promotional piece and give away. The TIV was the only Kenworth on site and I was proud to fly the flag for them. The fellow guiding me out at the end was very impressed, saying this was a real truck and he wanted to drive one like it one day.

After arriving in Melbourne with Ben, I unloaded, reloaded and was back on the road to Dubbo Monday night, unloaded and reloaded in Dubbo Tuesday and back in Melbourne with just enough time to get the truck washed and be the last truck in to Megatrans ontime at 4PM Wednesday. Getting in and onsite proved fairly easy, getting out was a bit tighter and more fun.

Whilst the TIV was washed and clean, any of you involved with trucks will know and recognise, that just getting it washed does not make it ready for a show. To be honest, I could have spent another full day on it, but once on site started on the little bits and the detailing that can take hours and would have loved more time to do a better job, but am happy with how it presented.

A bit of touch up paint, tyre black, tidying all the little bits (sorry no time for polishing anything) and worked till 7PM that night and back onto it again the next morning before the show opened. A couple of people asked was this just a show truck and when I explained it was a fulltime working truck and the truck was 7 years old in July at 1.4 million k and the trailers nearing 10 years old and 2 million k, many commented on how well it looked for what it has done.

The first visitor to the truck when the show opened came up saying he knew I was attending and wanted to shake my hand for the green reflectors, saying he was tired and they had helped him, even though the first three were missing. Everything after that was just a bonus.

I spoke with many exhibitors, including some who are supporters of the TIV, like Tramanco, ANCRA, NHVR and TCA and did interviews for “TRUCK That” with Paul Retter AM, CEO of the NTC and Peter Anderson from the VTA and others. I had a fellow from Boston in the USA compliment me on the truck and its aims and efforts and held discussions with many visitors and exhibitors.

Megatrans was more a coming together of many in the supply chain rather than a truck show, with many exhibitors at one end focusing on cargo handling, forklifts and storage, then into freight movement and control with robotic display in a number of stands. Then there was the data and freight management section flowing into the road transport suppliers section, which included the newly launched in Australia, Diamond Reo brand.

A gentleman near me with a prototype of straps for load binders across the roof of trailers, said he had terrific inquiries and could have sold the truck he was using three times and it would be sold after the show to one of those for sure. Congratulations to the organisers for the aims and intents of Megatrans. There was a Ministerial Breakfast and other major meetings which I was not able to attend to comment on, so cannot say how they were attended, but I am sure we will hear from other press who did.

As I do not go to such events to sell, my aims are different from most and I was happy both with those who visited me and the TIV and those I managed to visit. With “TRUCK That” it also allowed us a terrific platform for the interviews and access to those we would not normally meet on the road. Thanks to those we interviewed for their time and the rest of the attendees we filmed.

I would now like to ask all readers to answer one question for me. What do you see as the biggest problem in road transport. I would like a wide view snapshot, please give me a list if you wish, but for this exercise, pick what you see as the biggest problem from your personal perspective, but make sure to tell me which perspective you are responding from.

If you are a driver, is it the fines, the scrutiny, the lack of rest areas or complete lack of respect for the job we do? Is it pay, the roads or the rules?

If you are a regulator or deal with road transport from a policy or policing aspect, what do you see as the biggest issue?

If you are a motorist, what do you see as the biggest problem, but then I will need to know if you have ever been in a truck. One of the reasons for the TIV to take passengers, is to allow those who may not have the chance, but who may well be in a position to influence our lives on the road to see and feel the issues, not just read about them. All who have done a trip have said, it was very worthwhile to help them better understand some of our issues.

If you have another perspective, please feel free to contribute. I aim to start a short list of target issues and then to tackle them with the best effort I can. Rest areas, split rest and ridiculous fines with no relevance to road safety, are currently at the top of the list, but I would welcome your feedback. Cheers and Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

7th May 2018

GOODAYE all. I have just arrived in Melbourne having brought Ben Maguire along for a trip. Ben is the CEO of the Australian Trucking Assoc and we discussed many of the issues drivers want addressed during the trip down from Dubbo. Rest areas and the need for more and the recognition of the need for decent facilities for drivers was at the top of the list.

I have dealt with the ATA for many years and welcome Ben to the roll and look forward to working with him to achieve some improvements and changes. Ben agrees there is a lot to do and that we have every right to say that not enough has been done thus far to improve the lot of drivers on the road.

The ATA did also contribute to the new truck rest area design guidelines and will support a serious push to see more provided. The ATA does have far more access to those in power than I am likely to achieve and I aim to continue to work with them to achieve improvements for drivers.I will be sending Ben my ideal rest area plan and other pieces for comment and action.

We discussed a number of things we may be able to do together in the future and I thank him for giving me his time and for coming along for a trip in the TIV. He will be asked to fill in the TIV riders form with comments and suggestions and we will see what we can do together.

We stopped at Wagga Wagga on the way down and filmed a TRUCK That interview with Ben and another with Lee Campbell who is trying among other things, to get a truckstop built there and has put quite a lot of effort in to see it happen. Whilst there is a long way to go, nothing will change unless you have a go.

I will be unloading and reloading in Melbourne TODAY for Dubbo, then plan to reload for Melbourne to be here for Wednesday to get the TIV washed and then into MEGATRANS from Thursday till Saturday. if you are planning to attend come and say hello and I will be working on the next TIV and we will be doing some further interviews for TRUCK That for May.Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.