28th January 2019. Green Reflectors and Rest Areas.

Goodaye all. Sorry for the gap, so many things to do. From the ATA Facebook page, “The Austroads research report ‘Guidelines for the Provision of Heavy Vehicle Rest Area Facilities’ was developed in response to calls for updated standards and will assist in the planning, design and prioritisation of truck rest areas” and it has just been released.

We are still a long way off having what we need, but now we have a document we can use to get better facilities. As you will imagine it is fairly detailed and I aim to read through in the next week and respond further. The “Green Reflector Marking of Informal Truck Bays” has been included and I have received some comments from others, congratulating me on the effort over the last 19 years to have them instigated.

The Newell Highway is all done and there are others in NSW, Qld and Victoria, but until we have suitable and sufficient rest areas for trucks, we need to know where there are safe spots to park, if and when we need them. Let us hope this report can help get the green reflectors national, until we have enough formal spots.

How many of you use roadside rest areas and what do you think of them generally? Years ago we did some trips when moving and found those with either a playground or of course, only at certain times a Driver Reviver, were the best suited for those with kids. Toilets and shade are the essentials for getting out of a car of truck for a break and of course, then we need rubbish bins. Is there enough bins, are they close enough or is it just the lazy and stupid who can’t be bothered to use them and then throw their rubbish out the window.

On the Newell with its gaps between towns, from just after 15 minutes out of each town, the rubbish starts. How do we get people to do the right thing and can you imagine what their homes must be like, or is that different? Then when the mowers come through, it all gets chopped up and spread even further. We need someone to design an attachment to go on the front of the mower and pick up all the rubbish first. The problem would be the first time it was used, you would need a fleet of tippers to cart the rubbish away!

What and where is the best rest area, car, truck or other, that you have ever used and why? I used to travel to Gladstone via Taroom and the toilet block there was always clean and tidy and I wrote to the council to thank them. Have you ever written or rang about a good, or bad site. If we don’t thank them, they may not feel recognised and if there is a site that is not up to standard, someone also needs to know to get it fixed.

How you report it is also important. Just abusing someone on the phone will never help and may make it worse. I have rang and told of a problem rather than just complained and I empathise with those who have to clean up after the morons that do things we must imagine, they would never do in their own homes.
The worst part is the often the trucks do not even get the facilities car drivers do, or simply can’t access them, by signage or design, deliberate or otherwise. We do need toilets too! The ATA are planning to follow up on the report at their conference in Perth in April and I hope they get good comments and suggestions and that there is then follow up to get some more rest areas built. To you in a car or RV, it may be just a spot to stop for a break, but for us it is where we sleep and live.

I would ask all, truckies included, to read the report and submit comments and to all to respect the value and needs of all drivers on the road. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

10th January 2019. Happy New Year.

Well a Happy New Year to you all.

Sorry for the late posting. Last week end we continued the filming for the Truckies Top Ten Tips and hope to complete more this week end. Five and a half hours to wash the TIV by hand on a hot Barnawartha day last Friday (after me helping a fellow fix two blown tyres and a damaged airbag, for a good start to the day, though he did then buy me breakfast) for filming Saturday and Sunday had me knackered but the TIV looking good. No internet access when I got to Melbourne, late Sunday meant no blog, so I started painting the rope rails on the trailers instead, finishing at 9PM.

I had quite a discussion with a mate driving north from Dubbo yesterday about the Christmas period road toll. What a terrible way to start the year for all those families involved who have lost someone. We weren’t there and only when the crash investigations are completed will most of the facts be known, but unless you are involved or follow up months or years later with coroners reports and the like, do we really listen and learn from what happened?

Those involved may know, they may well accept some responsibility, but none of us want to see anyone killed, let alone members of our own families, yet it continues to happen. Coming out of Melbourne Tuesday afternoon approaching the Shepparton exit, a car passed me as I passed the exit and I looked down to see the passenger point to the exit and the car lept forward across three lanes less than a metre in front of me to take that exit. I am sure the kids in the back appreciated the care and consideration given to their possibly very short lives.

Imagine being the person to kill them all, because the driver simply didn’t think, maybe we should drive on and take the next exit. I never want to be that person, yet others can find themselves in exactly that position, simply by going to work. If they are blamed in the press for those deaths and quite possibly may not be the guilty party, what sort of a life will they have in the future?

I really hope that when we have the Truckies Top Ten Tips (for sharing the road with trucks) available in the future, that it will become part of learner driver education. It will not stop every crash, but it may save a life or more and may just stop a truckie being blamed in the media for something they were not responsible for. I do hope it will prevent a truckie from seeing any such event in their nightmares every night after such a tragedy, but we must do more.

What can you do to improve road safety? Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.