8th December 2019 Bourke, here I went.

Goodaye all. Trying to get too much done, not enough time to keep up, so out of Dubbo late last Sunday afternoon, into Brisbane early Monday. Me rained on while looking where to park and where I had to be to then get backed in, to either be able to split and or, get in as a double to unload. Backed under a tree, cost, one branch and me wet more, checking all was OK. Hard to see above and behind you in the dark and the rain.

Wait for customer (thanks to daylight saving for getting in my break and it didn’t even fade the paint on the truck) where I had been told I would have to split to unload, not so and another b-double reversing challenge accepted and done in two goes, no rain thank goodness to unload. Another copy of Owner Driver to a customer, interested in the TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle and its curtains etc.

I had sought a day off if not needed and luckily that worked, so with thanks to Nick and Dave from Rod Pilon Tpt Brisbane, I was able to attend the HVNL Compliance and Enforcement meeting last Monday. Thanks to young mate and driver Nick for also making the effort. His first at of one of these sort of events and he had a go, contributed where he could and is keen to make a difference and see things improve. He admitted to being a little overloaded with detail and much to think and reflect on after the event, but like all these things unfortunately, there were from my point of view, not enough drivers with the only ones being him and I.

True the regulators and others must have a say, but who gets the most “in your face” compliance and enforcement issues? Drivers need to have more and better access to such events. The other side of course is the vast majority of those attending would be being paid whilst attending, or at least not be losing wages etc as drivers would and do.

I networked, offered a trip to a couple of prominent players, had one offer me a camera and am still to follow up on others. This one of four such meetings, aiming to solidify some of the input to the HVNL review papers and to gauge feelings on issues. Workshopping multiple themes, able to float and contribute between groups as needed or stay and watch and learn. Using an app to allow all to then vote on the outcomes from each group, seemed a good use of technology and a fair and open way to gain the feelings of the group attending.

Once back in the yard, load and away and back up the Gap, finally open since Friday and looking forward to the best feed of rissoles and salad on the road at Fisher Park, but they like many others lucky not to get burned out but with the road closed for a lengthy period, business seriously affected so had to have sausages, but still a terrific feed.

A couple of pick ups in Warwick, then a few drops and into Dubbo for the night, still in room K200 and up at 1AM for the Triple M Nightshift spot. Unloaded and reloaded while an axle problem addressed, off to Wagga for the night and catch up on diary and paperwork. Unload Wagga, unload Griffith and pick up Griffith, more reversing practice, more times here to get in and tighter too, letting cars through was my excuse and then into Melbourne, unload reload and off again.

A night at The Rock and planning for home Friday night till I got a phonecall, would I like to do a trip to Bourke tonight? Working out hours and stuff, details suggested a possible problem, but roadtrained out with a snack at Nyngan, Saturday long process unloading and swinglifting, but home in Dubbo at 4.45 so I can go to Melbourne following my regulation 24 hour break.

I did manage to find some green reflector bays, putting the industry needs first, as none out that way. Still a couple more to do one day and plenty of other roads as well.

Sunday and been to the library for some new audiobooks and music, done shopping for the week and cleaned the frig and half packed the truck. Still got lots to do and may defer audiobooks review for this week till next as have to fix a mudflap if I get time. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.
IMG_3705IMG_3707

1st December 2019 older and or crankier?

Goodaye all. So many things to attend and contribute to. I was invited to attend and even speak at the Heavy Vehicle Forum in Wagga Wednesday last, but as I could not guarantee it, deferred hoping to attend if I could. However I ended up getting some suspension repairs done in Dubbo, so missed that one, but was then contacted by ABC radio and did get to hear most of Phil Brooks comments in the interview they did with him after the event while on hold. I then had a chance to respond and covered most of my usual areas of concern.

I may still be able to get to the NTC meeting Brisbane Monday and am currently trying to sort that. I do recognise there is some feedback being put forward by the NTC from submissions and comments thus far and welcome the chance to get those comments out to more people, for further feedback. It must be a consultative process, otherwise we will be told by those who don’t have to do it, how to, yet again.

I must be getting older, or drivers are getting worse. None of us likes being tailgated and many will whinge about a truck being too close behind (and yes, some do, yet often we must be reasonably close, to have any chance of safely overtaking those who wish to travel below the speedlimit) yet more and more, even when there is no traffic behind them and even more ridiculously on dual lanes, cars overtake and then pull in front with less than a car length between us. They whinge when we are too close, yet do the exact thing they whinge about to us. If there is only two lanes and a car coming, I don’t want anyone on the wrong side for longer than necessary, but when there is no one and no need, why must they pull in so close? Please explain?

Those who must also pass the truck before the exit, no matter how close to the exit, then chop across in front of the truck are getting prolific. Some such racing car drivers, will then cross up to three lanes at the very last second and will take offence should I protest with the horn. I know life is short and hectic, but why must we try to make it much shorter and risk others lives, simply to save two seconds, yet often still be in the very same spot on the exit ramp. Most of our highway signage gives some warning, so you can access the correct lane before the exit, yes sometimes we miss such signs, but it is becoming worse and more dangerous that the odd one. It seems they simply must pass the truck at any cost to cut the truck off for the exit. Why???

I am getting a bit frustrated, still trying to get the next and last TIV on the road. To any with a million spare and a love of trucks, happy to put your name on it if you want to help.

Then we have all the other truckies getting older (and probably crankier too and no wonder with the antics above as not even a small part of the issues on the road). And mostly they too want better roads (not happening in many places, some even getting worse), better education of car drivers about sharing the road with trucks (some efforts here including my own with the Truckies Top Ten Tips and now the videos http://www.sharetheroad.net.au getting some extra traction on Facebook, please share if you agree) and not even just more, but better and sufficient rest areas.

How do we manage our fatigue if there is nowhere to park, sleep and go to the loo? We seem to be losing spots here and there in districts and areas across Australia, then getting one parking bay. We need a National Rest Area Strategy, not just for truckies, but for all road users. However, we are the only ones fined substantial amounts if we don’t stop when our inflexible and now camera supported logbooks say we must. Whether we are tired or not, whether there is shade and or a toilet or any food for miles, we must stop when a book tells you to. Does this manage our fatigue? No. Does it make the roads safer? No. Would better education of motorists and more rest areas improve road safety for all? Yes. Then why has it taken so long for the former and still no real effort on the latter?

Can you help? Yes you can, by making comment, being positive, spreading the word and doing your best to be compliant, yet holding the authorities to task to help us achieve compliance, not punishing us for failing to do it their way! I ask you now, do you think truckies are all bad? Do you think we honestly get a fair go?

I want you to watch every truck you see in the next week and keep a tally. How many just do the job well and safely and you in theory, may not notice them at all? But those that do the wrong thing (and this may only be wrong in your eyes as you are not driving the truck) are the ones you will remember and tell others about. I have asked this of radio presenters and each time they have come back with, “I didn’t realise how many trucks are on the road and that before, I only really saw those I thought were doing something I thought wrong”.

I would welcome any replies. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.