23rd February Home Sweet Home.

Goodaye all. It is good to be home and visit the family and the dogs didn’t bite me, thank goodness.

But as a mate said when passing me on the way home on Friday, no rest for the wicked. Got some work done on the truck and trailers Friday afternoon, damn puncture from Adelaide leaked again, had to remove and fix not one, but both patches, bad enough doing it once, but lucky I have the Central Tyre Inflation (CTI) system to get me home.

Still more to do, but others wanted to go home, what is it with people? Hoped to get some more done Monday, but a call this morning, means an earlier loading time and have to reset my floors first, so much earlier start and maybe after loading, get a few more small jobs done and then off to Brissie again.

I have just finished reading the Austroads Guidelines for Heavy Vehicle Rest Areas, all 58 pages and it is terrific to have new and better guidelines. I contributed to the old ones before 2005 when they were released and that was a fight at times, not just with the authorities. I wrote, not emailed, 6 pages and was told, “No one else raised these things”, but in the end, there was only one diagram and it seems, many only looked at that and did not read the document, hence too many herringbone parking bays that provide no shade, no separation and are difficult to get in and out of, let alone you can’t open your bunk door for fear of getting it torn off, let alone the noise issue.

One of my passengers in the TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle was Mr Paul Retter AM, CEO of the National Transport Commission and one of the things I asked him for on that trip was to update the rest area guidelines and whilst it has taken a while, it is completed and I thank him for getting this started.

The only problem is, the new guidelines, will not in themselves, see any more rest areas built. That is the responsibility of the road agencies and thus far, we have been falling behind. So, in two weeks I will have a new document to put out seeking that to change and would welcome any thoughts and suggestions to see that materialise.

So as not to get thrown out of home after so short a stay thus far and having more to follow up and complete tomorrow to keep the TIV and I relevant and up to date, I will wish you all a good night. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

17th February 2019 Filming for safety.

Goodaye all and the weather is lovely here at downtown Barnawartha Victoria. We finished filming in the early hours of this morning completing some night shots and were back in the factory for the final shots this morning. All the rest of the crew have now headed home and I will catch up on emails and some sleep tonight, before unloading at the DC in the morning, then travelling on to Melbourne.

Stephen from Whiteline has lots of work to do to convert the filming we have done, into what I am sure will be a highly professional and valuable resource for learner drivers about sharing the road with trucks. It will be available to driving schools. clubs and any group interested in road safety generally, or for the safety of their members on the road. We would like to see it included in all learner handbooks and testing, with only one intent, to make drivers more aware of sharing the road with heavy vehicles, to make them and drivers of trucks, all safer on the road.

Since last weeks blog, I’ve had a couple of drivers say, “Now you know what it is like” to be away on the road for weeks at a time, but I have done it before, just had a good run for the last few years with the work Pilon’s have. Each of us do different tasks, cart different freight, but all agree the job is not what it was, that it needs to change in many ways and that those we share the road with, simply do not understand our issues, whether they be a lack of courtesy, common sense or rest areas.

I did manage to get some photos of some magnificent Kenworths and anyone who wants to supply one for the next TIV, call now. We all want things done, but few can do it all. I was unable to attend the AGM for the National Road Freighters Association to be here for the filming and have been a board member and participant with them for some years. They are one of the few grass roots groups that are trying to represent our industry and whilst I am trying to get members into the TRUCK That Australia Drivers Club, it is not in competition with NFRA, but like all things, if you want things done, you have to put in.

Fees and meetings and having only a few members that actually do anything, limit any groups ability to see things change. The TTADC aims to start at an even lower level and simply having a register of drivers who work fulltime and who may be able to offer a view, rather than attend meetings or paying fees that may not see value from, no matter how reasonable, may well be of interest to those groups we hope to influence.

Next month I will have my latest rest area document out for comment, the fourth in as many years, but simply getting to those who will listen, let alone make good decisions for the improvements needed is hard work. Not physically, just in having the time and ability to get to the right people and not give up.

This will be my twentieth year involved with road safety, in December the twentieth year since the first blue reflectors went up and you might nearly forgive me for saying, damn it should not be so hard to get something so simple up and running, but it is! Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

9th February 2019 Third week away.

Goodaye all. Well this will be my third week in the truck without a visit home and with filming for our Truckies Top Ten Tips next week end already booked in, that will be four weeks. Now any of you who know anything about trucking in the USA will know many drivers spend weeks or months away on the road over there or “out” as they say, it is a big place. We have drivers here who travel away from home for long periods as well.

Last week end I was in Moranbah on the side of the road for my 24 hour break, but I did manage to have a good meeting with Graeme from RAAG, the Road Accident Action Group, who drove out from Mackay. They have been supporters of the green reflectors and did some work in the area nominating sites, amongst many other worthwhile local road safety projects.

I am now at Marulan for my next 24 hour break and stopped to do filming for TRUCK That Australia February at the Mundoonan Rest Area on the way up and have heaps to do whilst here. I had hoped to have time at our depot, but my timeslot on Monday is on this side of town, so this will do.

I did receive my posters for the green reflectors during the week and have started putting them up in truckstops. Whilst at BP Lavington last night, the first driver who walked past made comment and I explained all about it and he said, what a good idea, we have all been in that spot at times, tired and needing somewhere to stop.

Last week the video was also released on the NHVR youtube page about the green reflector marking of informal truck bays and this week TCA released the data for green reflector bays on the Traveller Information Exchange (TIX) so it has been a big GREEN week.

I even saw “TRUCKIES HAVE BLIND SPOTS CAN THEY SEE YOU” on the overhead Variable Message Signs on the Hume, something I asked for many years ago, but it is good to see such messages being put in front of the public.

Later this month I aim to release my next rest area document. It is good to see the ATA and now NATROAD getting behind the need for more rest areas. With the release of the Guidelines for Heavy Vehicle Rest Areas from Austroads, we now need to follow through and push to get what we need on the road. If you are a driver, where do you have a problem with lack of capacity and or facilities?

We need someone at a high level of government to help us to achieve an improvement in truck rest areas. We are all told to manage our fatigue, yet how do we do that when there are not enough places to do so? It cannot be done overnight, it will take time, but we could do something quickly with green reflectors and with input from drivers. Who will help us? Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

3rd February. Hello from Moranbah Queensland.

Goodaye all. It has been an interesting week. Off to an unusual late start on a Tuesday, to little ol” Sydney town for a visit to a DC, but with a bit of time before my slot, got the Mobileye system in the truck finally sorted and working. It may well have saved me the next day, pulling away with a car, then of course looking for other traffic and the car stopped. The Mobileye yelped, but I would hope I still would have stopped anyway.

There are times technology can help as above, even now getting this to you with a dongle from Moranbah in Queensland, yet we all want our skills recognised. Would you say you do recognise the skills of an interstate truckie? Have you ever seen this?

“When God Made Truck Drivers”¬
Author Unknown

When the Lord was creating Truck Drivers, he was into his sixth day of overtime when an angel appeared and said, “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one?’ And the Lord said, “Have you read the spec on this order?” “A truck driver has to be able to drive 10 12 or more hours per day, through any type of weather, on any type of road, know the highway traffic laws of 6 states and 2 territories, he has to be ready and able to unload 40 tonnes of cargo after driving thru the night, sleep in areas of cities and towns that the police refuse to patrol.”

He has to be able to live in his truck 24 hours a day 7 days a week for weeks on end, offer first aid and motorist assistance to his fellow travellers, meet just in time schedules, and still maintain an even and controlled composure when all around him appear to have gone mad.” “He has to be in top physical condition at all times, running on black coffee and half eaten meals; he has to have six pairs of hands.” The angel shook her head slowly and said, “Six pairs of hands… no way.’ It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” said the Lord, It’s the three pairs of eyes a driver has to have.”

“That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel. The Lord nodded. “One pair that sees the herd of cattle in the scrub 3 miles away” “Another pair here in the side of his head for the blind spots that motorists love to hide in; and another pair of eyes here in front that can look reassuringly at the bleeding victim of a drunk driver that crashed into his FUPS bumper at 110 kph and say, ‘You’ll be all right ma’am, when he knows it isn’t so.” “Lord,” said the angel, touching his sleeve, “rest and work on this tomorrow.”

“I can’t,” said the Lord, ‘I already have a model that can drive 1000 kilometres a day, without incident and can raise a family of five without ever seeing them, on one dollar a kilometre.” The angel circled the model of the truck driver very slowly “Can it think?” she asked. “You bet,” said the Lord. “It can tell you the elements of every HAZMAT load invented; recite Australian Road rules and regs for each state in its sleep; deliver, pickup, be a father, offer timely advice to strangers, search for missing children, defend a woman’s or children’s rights, get 8 hours of good rest on the street and raise a family of Law respecting citizens, without ever going home… and still it keeps its sense of humour”.

“This driver also has phenomenal personal control. He can deal with delivery and pickup areas created from scenes painted in hell, coax a loader to actually work for his money, comfort an accident victim’s family, and then read in the daily paper how truck drivers are nothing more than killers on wheels and have no respect for the rights of others while using the nations highways, which are mostly paid for by truck taxes.”

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek of the driver. “There’s a leak.” she pronounced. ‘I told you that you were trying to put too much into this model.” “That’s not a leak,” said the lord, ‘It’s a tear.” “What’s the tear for?” asked the angel, It’s for bottled up emotions, for fallen comrades, for commitment to that funny piece of cloth called the flag, for justice, for the family without its father. “You’re a genius,” said the angel. The Lord looked sombre. ‘I didn’t put it there.”

I found this on the notice board at the Boggabilla truckstop some years ago and asked for a copy. I will happily admit I have Australianised it a bit without I hope changing the context. Yes it might be a bit over the top, but much of it is true in what we do.

We work on roads that are not all highways, we share them with you, many of whom have not been taught to share them with us, we carry freight worth millions in total or for one load and we live in our trucks and on the road. Would you do it and if someone doesn’t, how will you eat, where will you live and how will you run a business?

Do you honestly recognise most truckies are professional freight relocation engineers, or do you think I am full of it. Let me know your views. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.