25th November 2018. On the roadside.

Goodaye all. For a bit of a change, I did a trip to Sydney and back as a single semi this week. Having just flown there and back the week before and the airfares were not cheap, I did not have half as much fun in the truck.
I missed the start of a big truck blitz on my way out of Sydney and whilst I was pulled into the weighbridge both on the way in and out, I was treated fairly and the fellows I dealt with were OK, though they did find something for me to get fixed and I don’t have a problem with that. Many years ago pulled up by the then RTA at Ballina, after an inspection, I chatted with the officer and he made the comment, they were there to look after my safety and we agreed, I would rather have them find something I was unaware of and prevent an issue, than not.

On the other side of that is the attitude of some of those we deal with on the side of the road. We, just as much as them, can be affected by the days’ issues, but they are meant to act professionally, as they will shove down our throat when we make a mistake, you are a professional driver and should set an example, know better, etc. If they are the (much better) paid professional, who get living away from home, motels and meals paid (that I am sure are better than some roadhouse tucker) and have showers and toilets available at the least each night, then all we ask if we do behave with respect, is that they do the same.

I will be the first to say not all truckies are respectful, professional or the worlds best drivers, but surely we should be treated with initial respect on the side of the road, unless we act badly. To be accosted with “LICENSE AND LOGBOOK”, no please or anything, no wonder some of our blokes do not respond so nicely. And just imagine, as will have happened during this blitz, last week, some drivers will be pulled in and grilled, delayed for far more than a few minutes, and then still get pulled into the weighbridge less than half an hour up the road.

I have had drivers tell me of being stopped four times in one day for a “roadside inspection” and one fellow topped this with five times. On the fifth, he asked the policeman who had stopped him, who he had killed to be stopped so often in one trip. The officer said, well, how did you go with the last four, no problems, was the reply, well I’m going to ping you for this. Strange then that the driver involved was not overly impressed with the roadside inspections. There must be a better way to spend the taxpayers money than having some trucks stopped three or four times in one day and many not stopped at all.

I have been stopped southbound by TMR Qld before Goondiwindi during one blitz, only to be stopped again at Boggabilla by RMS NSW less than 20 minutes later. How is that reasonable to anyone? When such blitzes occur, then the public see all the police etc stopping trucks and think we must all be bad and the resources and costs involved, must be astronomical and so they then have to issue as many fines as possible to both justify the cost of the operation and then to crow about how many things they found wrong or illegal. The fact they will NEVER release the full outcome and list of offences, which, I truly believe, would show many minor and non-safety related things, but which they still include with the few bad things, then they are wrongly portraying the whole industry.

But will I, as a single driver, get listened to or even heard in the media? Believe me I have tried, sometimes getting a fair go and others, not even being able to get through to give a reasoned view. Then some that might get through, are either already riled at how we have been treated and portrayed, but may not be the best spokesperson we might have to give our view. I am closely aware of some television shows, that will far more likely give time to a yahoo who will yell and scream and swear, which makes us all look like idiots, than give that time to someone who can and will offer, a far more reasoned and reasonable response. Still, as one driver, I can only keep trying. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

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