16th December 2018. What do we do?

The following is from another frustrated driver in response to my latest Owner Driver column. He raises some good points and I have replied with others.

Morning Rod,

Great article.

I’m not sure if it’s the end of the year,but I’m feeling empty,frustrated and directionless.

I feel that most if not all the issues that impact the transport industry would not be tolerated anywhere else!

Why?

The transport industry is the lifeblood of this country!

It’s dependence is far beyond anyone’s comprehension.

I’m friends with an elder gentleman.
He’s retired and has been a large scale business owner for most of his life.

During a conversation we had recently,he told me transport is a “mugs game”,”the only business I know that sinks it’s own value “.

I thought about this for days.

Initially I was insulted.

The more I thought of these statements,the reality was there,he was right!

We devalue the industry that the country is most reliant on.

Question.

How do you sell a career in transport to a school leaver,outlining to them that a lot of their time will be spent for FREE?

Driver shortage,what driver shortage?

I look forward to chatting to you Rod.

I feel your frustration.

Goodaye Darren, I have asked the same question as you pose many times and as you suggest, struggle to answer it to the betterment of both current and future truckies. The world is a cruel place and I doubt we will ever be recognised for the sacrifices we have made in our lives, to improve the lives of others and now of course, they will be pushing the argument that as we cannot get drivers, we need autonomous trucks and the roads will be fixed for them, yet I cannot get them fixed for us now.

Frustration grows, but whilst getting slightly less enthusiastic, I have not given up. Cheers and all the best for a Merry Christmas and a Trucking Good New Year. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey. http://www.truckright.com.au http://www.truckright.blog 0428120560

The driver who sent this has approved me using it. I would not use it otherwise. In the UK they have shirts with, “Without trucks, you would be COLD, NAKED and HUNGRY”, yet we are still being treated badly, not enough rest areas, etc, etc, etc. I want to make the job safer, better and fair, but I can’t do it alone. I would welcome your comments. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

9th December 2018 Filming the Truckies Top Ten Tips (for sharing the road with trucks).

Goodaye all. Yesterday was the first day of filming of the Truckies Top Ten Tips (TTTT) for Sharing the Road with Trucks. With thanks to Rod Pilon Transport for the use of the Melbourne depot, we got underway in the morning and finished after 11 PM, so a long day with a break for lunch in between. Damn it was hard to find somewhere to eat after 2 PM, so many local small shops closed.

Whiteline TV was awarded funding from the NHVR to produce the TTTT and the aim is of course, to provide education for those who have never had the chance to ride in a truck and who may never have been taught about sharing the road with bigger vehicles. To all of you who are without any doubt the best drivers on the road, you may well have learned whilst on the road.

But every day truckies see and respond to people who have plainly either never been taught or who may simply not recognise the issues they cause in not respecting the size and weight of trucks and that we do need a bit more room to get going, to stop and top turn.

These tips came from surveys I did amongst a previous employers drivers with the permission of management and then followed up with a wider survey amongst truck drivers through Owner Driver magazine many years ago and I collated the responses and came up with the TTTT and have been promoting them ever since.

Whether you were taught by your parents, a driving school or simply learnt as you went along, were you given any real education about sharing the road with trucks? Or were you told, just keep away from trucks or even worse, how bad truckies were. Would you agree that such education should be included in the learning and testing regime for obtaining your license. It is true, truckies are not all perfect either, no one is, but we do go to work to get home safely to a family we see far too little of while travelling the highways of Australia to deliver every single thing you eat, wear, use and sell.

“TRUCKS DELIVER AUSTRALIA, OUR NEEDS, OUR PRODUCTS AND OUR WEALTH” is the slogan on the mudflaps on the TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle and of course you may have seen signs on trucks that say “WITHOUT TRUCKS AUSTRALIA STOPS”. In England there were shirts which said, “WITHOUT TRUCKS YOU WOULD BE COLD, NAKED AND HUNGRY” and the USA has a very big campaign to get the public to recognise the contribution trucks play in our everyday lives.

You travel in your car, often for convenience, yes you go to and from work and if you have no public transport, you may well not have another choice. We travel in our trucks, whether round the corner or across the country, so you can eat meals, at home or in a restaurant, be clothed, have fuel for your car, have a house built etc. It is said that every single thing you use has been in a truck, if not just once, but it could be many times.

I will end here as I have to get ready and off to filming, but all we are asking is that, and I hope you will agree, that if we can provide some education to new drivers about sharing the road with trucks, before they get on the road on their own and “learn by accident”, that we can help make them and all other road users safer, truckies included. What do you think? You can find the TRUCKIES Top Ten Tips at http://www.truckright.com.au I would welcome your thoughts. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

2nd December 2018. Truck That.

Goodaye all. Just been out to the yard to film our top and tail for TRUCK That December due out in the next few weeks. To those of you who have seen our TRUCK That videos, we had a bit of a break whilst I did my Churchill Fellowship Study Tour and my report on the study trip, as done for the Churchill Trust is now up on the Churchill Trust website. It is about 60 pages and covers the trip and who I met etc.

It was an incredible 6 plus weeks and I still hope to follow up with more work on rest areas. Last year I said January was Rest areas month and I will follow up with a document that also uses what I saw overseas, as well as our take on the problem here. They too have some of the same problems, but unfortunately, have not found all of the solutions. Some years ago, the US Government passed “Jason’s Law” requiring more truck rest areas. This came about after Jason was robbed of $6 and killed, while parked in an abandoned truck stop, as he had nowhere else to park.

His wife then spent the next three years travelling and complaining about the problem of insufficient rest areas, finally leading to the law being passed, an incredible effort. I am sure you will be shocked to hear, the problem still exists, though in some states more than others. There is currently another “Jason’s Law” rest area survey being undertaken there to get information from truckers, about where they have such issues.

Like too many things, it should not take someone being killed whilst simply trying to do his job and feed his family and his wife should not have to spend 3 years to get the government to even listen. Still those we are asking to recognise the problem, do no see it. To them it does not exist because they do not “live” on the road. How do we get them to see, let alone act? When you find out, please let me know.

One of the people I met on my trip was Bruce Outridge, an ex-driver, now author, speaker and industry advocate in Canada. Bruce left trucks initially to pursue another career and part of that was his love of and ability to draw. I was lucky enough to win one of his caricatures after being on his podcast during the trip. Bruce and his lovely wife took me in and looked after me for a couple of days in Canada and I do hope to get back there one day.

I will attach it here for your comments and any of you involved with trucks and rest areas, please feel free to add some comments as well. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.
PS, I will add next week when I have time to find out how to. It won’t go across, sorry and I have to get off to work to go to Melbourne. Cheers Rod.