29th December. Goodbye 2018. A TRUCKING Good New Year to all.

Goodaye all. Well as per a favourite Pink Floyd song, “but your older, shorter of breath and one day closer to death”, yet still keen to both make an effort and make a difference. It is terribly sad for those drivers who have just lost their job a week before Christmas, who’s fault is it? Will the truth ever come out and will those responsible ever pay the price they should? Or will they get away with it and just start again?

One driver I heard from, has now had it happen more than once and will be unlikely to ever catch back up, let alone get the wages and benefits he was entitled to. How can such a big concern, working full time and with set runs for some of the biggest transport companies in Australia, fold like that? Lets’ hope someone is held to account and wish that it doesn’t happen again.
If you were lucky to have family at home, presents and good food and everything else, take one minute to consider those who did not, those who work to give you the lifestyle you have, truckies and many others who all work through such days and we all forget them at times, I fear.

I did a radio interview with a mate on a local community station Friday afternoon and we discussed the TRUCKRIGHT year. He was very happy to give me the chance to get a view to others and I thank Mark for the opportunity. I even got a Facebook message from another who heard the conversation travelling along the Hume. Mark, after asking when I was working over the break, did say it was the first time in the years we have been chatting on the radio that he recalls, where I did not go to work Boxing Day, but I will quite likely be on the road across New Year’s Eve.

I can’t recall spending Christmas night on the road, but did get home one Christmas morning, telling my children I had driven from one side of the country to the other, over four full days to get to them at the end of the U2 Tour. From Perth via Melbourne to Dubbo and you can read all about it in “Rock and Roll Trucking” in “The Best Australian Trucking Stories” by Jim Haynes and it is available on audio as well, if you are interested. Many times, on the road Boxing Day and New Year’s Day to deliver the following day, but too often away when family needed me and for that I will ever be ashamed I could not be there, when they did.

But it is the start of a new year and so I wish you all a TRUCKING Good New Year. My aims are to get;
1. A National Truck Rest Area Strategy up, so we have national standards for design, placement and capacity. The same standards for roadside bays, informal green reflector bays in all states and recognition of the need for more for all, but specifically for truckies. How we can use stockpile sites and old road alignments when roads are improved and or duplicated, instead of wasting those assets.
2. Some minor changes to fatigue laws allowing split rest, personal use and nose to tail shifts for all, but not on consecutive nights and with other limitations.
3. Keep on with the work of the TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle and get a new one on the road.

That should keep me reasonably busy. Any help or suggestions welcome, so travel safe and see you next year. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

25th December 2019 Merry Xmas.

TO ALL DRIVERS.
Please give this some thought, not just now for Christmas and the coming year, but everyday on the road.

Do you want to make the roads safer? Here’s how.
1. Drive like the people in every other car around you, are your own family members, young and old.
2. As above, but know how good they drive!!!!!
3. Treat all others as you would like to be treated.
4. PROBLEM solved. No road rage, no stupidity, no reckless actions.

Nearly every truckie I know, goes to work with one thing on their mind, to get home safely to a family they see too little of. If you really want to get home each trip, use the above idea and see if it will help you drive safer.

If only ten people do this and we save one life, then it is worth my time on Christmas day and will be something that can do good, far more than I can ever do alone. Merry Christmas and a Trucking Good New Year to all and to all the truckies still on the road, “Keep On Truckin’”. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey http://www.truckright.com.au

23rd December 2018 Merry Christmas.

Goodaye all, a hectic week, Dubbo to Swan Hill to Melbourne, to Bundaberg, Brisbane, Newcastle and home Friday night. Late on Sunday night on the narrow section the other side of Balranald I think, I moved over a bit for car and with the narrow (read none) shoulder, thought I might have been in trouble. It grabbed me and wanted to drag me off the edge and if I had reefed it back, may not have gone well.

Our roads are not being well maintained, we are falling further behind with rest areas, we have achieved so little, yet tried so hard to put information out to the public, both about sharing the road with trucks and that we are mostly, not the at fault party in car/truck fatal crashes. The figures are similar in the USA and I see Canada has just released figures showing they have similar stats. They will be following up to see what can be done to educate car drivers about sharing the road with trucks following the release of the figures and it seems strange they had not been aware.

I am back to work tomorrow to unload, then off till Thursday to reload and be on the road. I did a radio interview with my mate Boz, from Yass FM and on asking when I was off, he said it was the first time in the years we have been talking, that I was not going to work Boxing Day. I doubt you would believe me if I said, I won’t know what to do with myself.

I put the week end in doing a bit of shopping, lashed out and bought myself a tape measure, set of Vice Grips and ordered a $22 watch for me for Xmas, as I have just broken the band in mine and it looks likely to cost more to fix than the other one and if I break this one, I won’t be so badly off. Even two new “Jackie Howe” blue singlets and some undies (as they were half price, but also did some Xmas shopping for the family and even a bit of gardening. I did try to ignore trucks for this week end and will again for Xmas, but can’t get away from it completely.

May I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a TRUCKING Good New Year. Thank you for your interest, your comments and to those who have shared. TRUCK That Australia for December is out now on http://www.truckingnation.com.au and as I will be at work tomorrow and then back on the road Thursday, we will meet again next week end. Cheers and Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

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.