Goodaye all. TRUCK That Australia June edition put up last week. Please comment and share to see it grow and reach those who we need to make the effort. There are three things we would like to see addressed as a start for the TRUCK That Australia Drivers Club. The issue of fines under Safe-T-Cam, which will now be the National Camera Network run by NHVR, where you are charged with trying to avoid the camera by going over the fogline, yet can be clearly seen in the photo and re the distance between trucks, I have asked for a line to be on the road to help us achieve the gap required and not get caught by two metres, because the car driver in front propped in front of the truck at the last minute.
Second is the request to allow split rest, only twice a week and not on consecutive nights and to a total of 8 hours instead of 7. I have already asked this of NHVR and believe it will help many drivers, both to comply and to better manage their rest. It must not be scheduled or pushed by others, but available to use rather than only as a defense.
Lastly, a National Rest Area Strategy. In the last few weeks I have dealt with the loss of a green reflector site and a truck parking area. Each time one is closed and I complain, I am told “It is only one spot”, but if we lose ten a month, then we are going very quickly backward and we do not have enough sites now. Many times I have seen a road improved, only to remove the wide shoulders on crests that we have traditionally used to check/change tyres, inspect for animal damage, check straps etc or God forbid, for a leak.
Yes we welcome improved roads, but why do they then have to dig the shoulder down past the road level so we can’t stop safely. The crest is the highest point, so water will flow away, you don’t need to dig it down, it costs more and takes away those sites we can use when the next bay is maybe 100 k or more away and we do not know every road in Australia. Yes we know many well, but if tired, you can quickly forget where that next spot is and do you want us driving tired, or able to stop, walk round the truck and kick the tyres and then get safely to the next formal bay. We may need to have 15 minutes over the wheel to get to the next site and again, surely that is better than struggling on.
We need a national rest area strategy, finding gaps and showing deemed fatigue crashes and if there is a big gap, a cheap green reflector bay can be put in and the worst thing that will happen, it won’t get much use. But if it is in a needed spot and gets a lot of use, then perhaps it can become a formal rest area in the future when funds are available. Should we save just one life with a green reflector bay at a cost of $2 million or what ever figure is used for a life, then we will be able to do the whole of Australia and how many lives could we save then?
We need to recognise and include motorists and RVers as users of such sites as well and we need their support to get this up and more sites provided for all road users. We do need dedicated truck sites and or sufficient room to allow truckies the rest they need and are mandated to have (and punished severely if they don’t) unless we can educate other users on our needs and ask them to better utilise the space available.
I passed a site on the Olympic Way the other night which has a signed and separate Caravan area. The caravan in there could not be bothered to use this and parked right in the middle of two b-double spaces, so we could not get in in front or behind and leave room for anyone else. Am I to bang on his door and wake him and tell him to move?
I do not have the right or authority to do so, but you must understand the frustration when in such a situation where you are tired and planning for bed, only to find someone using that space possibly as free camping and not even thinking of anyone else.
We too as truckies mostly try and use the space available, as we know what it means to have to drive on tired. We also recognise the value of good clean toilets and I doubt truckies would vandalise something so rare and needed on the road, yet someone does and the authorities then complain that being a truckstop, it must have been a truckie.
How do we solve any of these problems? Not by complaining to your mate, but by joining a group, join the union, your state trucking association, NRFA or NATROAD or the TRUCK That Australia Drivers Club. Doing it on your own is hard work, time consuming and frequently unrecognised or worse, you get abused by some who will do nothing but whinge themselves. But do something to help your self, as too often, no one else will. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.