Goodaye all. Home for my one day of Easter yesterday after attending the Stone the Crows Festival in Wagga Wagga for two days, then off to Brisbane today. Got loaded in Melbourne Thursday, out reasonably early, up to the King of the Road Truckwash in Albury to get the TIV and me too, all washed up for the show. Thanks for a terrific job, boys, it hadn’t been done for a couple of weeks and came up pretty well for its age. I grabbed a shower while in the que. When we were both all clean, up the road to Henty Man rest area for the night and had it all to myself, which would never happen normally with trucks and caravans often filling it.
Up early doing the detailing, touch ups and interior clean for a good few more hours, then filmed driving into the mass of caravans and motorhomes on site at lunchtime. I was last in and had to wait for all the others to arrive and get to their sites. Nearly 500 and almost at capacity for the grounds, but the range of activities for those attending going from craft, many different information sessions and entertainment from the cocoa club with bedtime stories, to comedy, music and Little Pattie performing one night.
Some stay for the four days of Easter and some for a total of 7 days. This is my fourth year attending and for the first time my second eldest daughter Katie, took part with me on stage. We launched the Truckies Top Tips videos, showing all 9 videos with comments and questions from the audience, along with covering the usual discussion points of trucks and vans on the road, rest areas and the like. A good crowd, very interactive and we kept going for an hour and a half and still had a mob of people at the end with further questions. The TIV was on display just outside the venue with my banners covering the tips, the TIV and one about last year being the tenth year of the TIV on the road.
The organisers had a survey form printed out for those who were new to the Stone the Crows and we had a few left over which I gave out on Saturday for my second session, which was more about my Churchill Fellowship trip last year. The few copies of Owner Driver I had went quickly along with many business cards and I hope to gain a few more followers and comments in the future.
Stephen from Whiteline Television, the man behind both the “TRUCK That Australia” videos we do and also the camerman, producer and video editor for all the Truckies Top Tens just released, filmed some of the session each day and we did the next “Truck That Australia” episode, introducing Katie as our newest team member. Stephen is a full time truckie as well and worked Friday night, before driving down from Canberra to do the filming at the event.
I must say all at the Stone the Crows were very welcoming with Katie making the same comment, the people who organise this event, all the volunteers and those who attend, go out of their way to say hello and are the friendliest bunch of people you would hope to meet. Thanks again for the invite, for the participation in the sessions, the survey replies, the entertainment and the comradery.
The response from the truckies Top Tips videos has been excellent, but any of you with group associations, please share them round. They were funded by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator through the National Heavy Vehicle Road Safety Initiative and are available online at no cost, specifically so they can be widely used. You can see and distribute them from http://www.sharehteroad.net.au and we hope they help make the roads safer for all.
I would like to see all trucking associations and groups get behind the videos and help to get them out to as many people as possible. The more we help car drivers understand some of our issues, the safer we will all be on the road. Yes, truckies make mistakes too, but we do not go to work to be involved in crashes, no matter what anyone else wants to try and tell you. The job, the traffic, the delays not only on the road but in loading and unloading on some sites, the restrictions and penalties under which we operate, all of these often make it harder to be able to drive when you are fit and sleep when you are tired. Yes we must have rules and yes, not all people will follow them, but all we ask is for some understanding of the job, suitable and sufficient rest areas, safer roads, better education of car drivers, some recognition of the lifestyle and its problems and the flexibility to get the job done safely for all on the road, without being fined half a weeks wages for being 15 minutes over time. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.