26th May 2019 HVNL Review Paper 1.

Goodaye all. I have just spent another two hours (total now over 7 hours) completing my submission to the first of 8 papers for the HVNL review and then reading the 9 current submissions. It is amazing to me that of those 9 submissions, 4 are similarly worded and more about bicycles and their problems, yet not one of them suggests anything about teaching cycle riders to share the road with the trucks.

There is one truck driver submission, (now two when mine is accepted), two councils with Dubbos withheld from publication, one based on insurance and one industry association, with submissions due to close on the 31st May. Who is affected most by these laws? The drivers. Why are they not submitting in large numbers, how to improve this law for their own good and safety?

How many have looked at the first document, seen 70 pages and gone, “I haven’t got the time for this”? Many have contributed comments to the microsite and this is a good idea and a chance to make a comment, yet how many have made a comment, but not contributed a submission and why? Such comments may be valuable, but need the info to back them up. Saying “It is no good” of the logbook or that anything else is no good, will not in itself, see anything change. You must explain what you want and at least try to show how to fix it.

I have asked other drivers to look, spoken on radio and mentioned the review here and if this is the first of 8 papers for review and submissions, I can only hope the others are more driver friendly and that specific issues may get more input. If not, what will change and how many will complain after that “they” did not fix anything?

Even if you don’t read the 70 pages, but contribute a submission that shows and explains an example of what you see as the biggest problem with the current law, that would help. The people doing the review don’t live on the road and don’t know the problems, let alone the solutions. They need real examples to show what the problems are, to be able to find and or consider a solution that will work. In the USA when I was there for my Churchill Fellowship trip, the FMCSA called for submissions about the driving hours there and received 5,500 responses, including one from me. That review is due to be announced next month and there are good indications there will be change that is wanted by most.
They contributed and got heard and will get an improvement.

We cannot expect any improvement if we don’t offer input and we will not get any if only two drivers make the effort. Ask your drivers, ask a mate who drives do they even know of the current review and will they contribute. I doubt we will ever get another chance to be able to see real change in my life on the road. My submission alone, will do bugger all, but if 100 drivers made the effort to explain just one thing that they see as the biggest problem and offered and example of why, then we may just get something worthwhile from all this. Please consider doing something, even if only about one issue and please, ask your mates to do the same. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

20th May 2019 Brissie Truckshow.

Goodaye all. Had a connection problem and now in Brissie on Monday, so back to the story. Sunday evening and I have just got back to Toowoomba from the Brissie Truckshow. I had planned to go if it was possible, then was given a new plan B, maybe still a chance, plan C, more doubtful and then plan D, buckleys chance, heading to Melbourne Thursday with 4 pick ups and four drops. However thanks to Nick, a driver keen to do some more and his mate Nathan, who lives in Toowoomba and was keen to go back for another look at the show, I managed to stay and have tea for my eldest grandsons’ tea in Dubbo Saturday, get through to Toowoomba (where I will unload in the morning), early on Sunday and get a couple of hours sleep before heading into the Truckshow.

I visited many of the sponsors of the current TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle and who will all support the next one, so all I need now is a truck and set of trailers to fit all the ancillary equipment on and we are under way. I will find a way to make it happen.

I did not see a true “show” truck, as in years past with the RM Williams truck and others. There were some beautiful trucks and trailers, but no show stopper. The new b-double Mack Superliner looks tall and may well be a new contender for serious b-doubles and the Anthem recently released in the USA is a step forward for Mack. I must recommend the “Roadlife” series of videos they did in the states as part of the release of the biggest change in Mack trucks, since being taken on by Volvo and the XXL big cab Volvo is a long awaited improvement to an already good truck.

The new Cascadia is still to be released here and will see the end of the Argosy and the Actros is going well, with sales and getting into many fleets.
Kenworth, all in red had a Euro 6 K 200and the 610 is a good looking bit of gear and the 909 bigger cab in the future, may see an improvement in the in cab living conditions of those who love a big bonnet.

All those I spoke with told of big crowds and interest over the first three days of the show and today was a bit quieter, but many were still happy with those visiting. I got round most stands, watched a part of the apprentice challenge, but did not get to see the trucks on display outside the venue. Worth the effort to get there, a terrific event for the industry and thanks to RPT, to Nick and Nathan for your help to attend.

I have made a big effort to respond to the first of the papers for the HVNL review, but have also spoken to the NTC about the length of the first document. Seventy pages to read with 12 questions to answer, is a lot even for those with time and being paid to reply and this is the first of 8 such documents. For those of us who are time poor, can we justify the effort? Please do not be discouraged by the length, nor let it make you shy away. Our current law is far too long and over prescriptive and if we do not put in the effort to offer suggestions and comments, then we will not see any serious change.

Yes our associations have the staff and time to reply, but they do not drive the trucks, cop the fines, get treated the way we do, nor live on the road. We can rely on them to look at the big picture, but can we rely on them to put forward the issues and solutions that will make our job fairer and safer? You can certainly put comments on the microsite, which takes short grabs, but will that alone get the changes we need, recognised and actioned?

Submissions close for this document at the end of the month and I will ask you to seriously consider putting in the time and effort to reply and to keep watching the NTC website for the other documents. Even if you consider this one too much, there may be others that are shorter and which impact on you more and which your contributions, even if short and sweet, can see the HVNL is improved for all. You can make a difference, but if you don’t, who will? Please make that effort. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

12th May/19 Road Safety Awareness week.

Goodaye all. Well what did you do for road safety awareness week? Did you have a yellow ribbon on your vehicle? Did you organise or take part in an activity? I did some radio interviews, pieces in the local papers and both local television stations did stories covering the Truckies Top Tips videos and promoting the website. http://www.sharetheroad.net.au Is that good or is it not enough to save a life?

My youngest son was involved in a crash Friday night, he and the others involved are OK but the cars are not, except for the person at fault who seems to have got off with little damage. My daughter had a car touch hers on the roundabout, no damage, just backed up and drove off. From both their accounts, they were not at fault. We all see the videos from dash cams and we think, what idiot would do that, but every day we and they, do do that!

How do we stop this? When young we all think we are ten foot tall and bulletproof. Perhaps some have a minor scare when they are young, survive it and go on being wary. Some may simply not get another chance. In many of the interviews I have done, I have said that I believe truckies do not get recognition for the crashes we prevent by the way we drive.

We get blamed for most we are involved in, at least initially and we are obviously at fault in some, but we drive for others because we know they do not understand trucks. I know of drivers who have died to save the life of a motorist who has made one of those stupid mistakes. Should anyone be put in that position? There are programs that visit schools and show the horror behind such events and the kids say it is powerful and makes them think. But does it last long enough or do they forget until they later make that mistake and then it may be too late.

They may die, their family will be affected, but what about the truckie who simply went to work to feed his family. Should he and his family be possibly destroyed by the untrained or unthought through actions of another driver. Should they have to make a decision in a split second, as to whether they kill someone who made that mistake, or risk their own life to save that person?

I do not have the answers. I hope the videos will help. When I started being involved over 20 years ago, I said at the time, the worst thing that can happen is that I waste my time and effort and nothing changes. If I save one life, then everything after that is a bonus. What have you done to help?

I will detail last Friday in a couple of weeks. It involves court. But from that I am currently going through the first of 8 documents from the National Transport Commission website http://www.ntc.gov.au regarding the Heavy Vehicle National Law review. Sixty plus pages and 12 questions to answer may well mean not enough reply. I think it is important, otherwise I have many other things I could be doing. Some of my family appreciate my efforts and I have discussed with them all, that you must do more than just live your life. But with my job and my second unpaid one, there is often little time, let alone quality time, to be with them. I am not alone, there are others who do terrific work in their jobs, in their hobbies and in their spare time.

I just wish I could win the Lotto and do more and have some family time as well, but we can only try and only you know what you can and can’t do. I hope to find a major sponsor to set up the next TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle and maybe then I can do both. Maybe one of you would be interested or know of someone who can help? I can only ask.

I have just found this reported on social media, check out ABC News, “Forty hours on the road with an outback truckie”
ABC PILBARA KAREN MICHELMORE . Heather is on her way to the Brisbane Truckshow and took a journalist for a little ride. Well done Heather and I hope to see you at the Truckshow if all goes to plan. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

5th May 2019 Road Safety week start.

Goodaye all. Next week is National Road Safety Week and I will straight up ask any who can, to share our videos from http://www.sharetheroad.net.au I have a number of radio interviews planned and have sent emails to many other press contacts from over the last few years. I will pursue other local and national media as well. Thank you to those in our media press and industry associations who have helped share them. We do appreciate it. To those who haven’t, I must ask why not?

Stephen McCarthy cameraman and editor, Jessica Ferrari producer and Nicole Rutledge and myself, all worked together to produce the videos and they all want the same as I do. To have people see them and gain some knowledge not normally available to those who only drive cars or bikes. As a truckie, I drive cars as well and some young learners will have been in a truck if in a trucking family, but many will never have the chance.

These videos aim to offer a truckies view to help other drivers understand the actions of truck drivers. Learning after making a mistake, could cost you your life and will also then affect any others involved, be they passengers or the truckie who simply could not avoid hitting you, after you have made a mistake.
We all know young drivers think they are ten foot tall and bulletproof, (like we all were) and it will never happen to them. Those who do suffer such an event, may get away with a scare, or they may never get another chance to learn.

We would like to see these videos widely distributed, used by clubs and groups and we will pursue the road authorities to include them in driver license testing, all with one aim, to try and do our bit to make the roads safer for all. The videos are available and free to all and we thank the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) for the funding to produce them and make them available at no cost to any who can use them.

There will be many other events and parts of road safety week. If you do nothing else to be a part of it, please consider how you drive on the road. Do you see it as a privilege that you have earned by learning the rules and passing the test? Or do you see it as a right? If so, why? None of us “owns” the road. The road is provided by governments to allow us the mobility we all crave today. Yet the road is the workplace of truckies and other drivers who live and work on the road. It may not be recognised as such under the law as yet, but please consider what it is like to “live” on the road.

Away from home most of the time, away from family and friends, those you love. Not a normal lifestyle where you can plan to be at a family event, under the watchful eye of not just every other road user, but the authorities too. And unfortunately, most of those who make the rules we operate under, do not have to live under those rules themselves and are more than happy to tell us how and when to do it, without any clue what it is like to live in a truck.

Too few rest areas, little shade, even fewer toilets and even less for women truckies, and no parking when the holiday season is on. As has just happened over Easter with many truck spots at service centres, often the only place we can access toilets and meals and showers, and even in designated truck parking areas or truckstops, taken by the holidaying public with little thought to all the food and fuel they use, being delivered by the same trucks they are denying basic facilities to.

Not all truckies are perfect, I certainly am not, but I do try hard to do my best, be compliant with the law, share the road with others and to get home safely each trip. It is true, trucks are bigger and if you are smaller as in any physical encounter, the bigger thing will do more damage to the smaller thing, you in your car. Might is not right, whether you are a car ignoring a motorbike, a bigger 4wd ignoring a car or a truck doing it. Yet if you recognise and respect the size and weight of trucks (remember we carry everything you use in your life), then you will improve road safety for all. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.