20th June 2020

Goodaye all. I have had an interesting week, some nice comments from drivers on the UHF and in person, a good Wednesday morning on Nightshift discussing logbooks and taking calls, an different work week, some mistakes by others,  meaning unloading and then reloading product for fun and enjoyment and off tomorrow for something completely different.

I am getting more and more frustrated with roads and how they are fixed, who really controls the work and allocation and why does it look to many of us, as all arse about. In discussing this with a work colleague, he nominated the coroner as being very influential in certain road changes. Has anyone seen this before and do you agree or disagree and why? Do we then need to get the coroners into trucks?

Years ago a mate sent me a copy of a coroners report on a major truck crash. Some of the questions raised, showed a lack of understanding of trucks by the coroner and yet there was serious disregard of what truck drivers and operators had to say, on how a road and its problems had been highlighted to authorities who had failed to act. At that time, I thought those involved working on the road, the trucks and owners, had acted in good faith to report a problem, the road authority virtually ignored them and then there was a crash involving a death.

The road authority was held partly responsible and then went and changed the law, so they could not be held responsible in the future. How does that work?

Why do we now have AB Triples running the Newell Highway when they can’t run the Hume and lets build a heap of overtaking lanes on long straight sections of road instead of twisting bits and then lets ignore the big hills and terrain in the Pilliga and from Tooraweenah.

Last week travelling from Duaringa to Rockhampton, the same thing, let’s build a major widening of the road just before we come to a curving twisting bottleneck, where most trucks going to the mines are roadtrains and bigger, where the hazards and delays to all traffic in this section will be 10 times worse than the bit of road we are widening. Why not fix the bottleneck first and then widen the road?

It is like the rest areas. Travelled the Golden Highway, Dubbo to Newcastle and much work being done. This was the first road on which I did a highway audit many years ago and I thank Maurice Finemore, my boss at the time, for helping me achieve it. I had six shire engineers travel their section of the road from Singleton outbound to Dubbo and gave each a list of the issues in their section made up over the previous trips.  And within two years, everything from signs too close to the road, culverts too close and bumps etc, was improved and or fixed with the exception of one culvert issue and two major projects, one a major realignment and another a bridge replacement. These were done within five years and there is more work to do now.

Some of the sections are improving and there has been some new rest areas, but I had asked for input and pushed for green reflector bays (and the number of them had grown slowly as and when possible to mark them). Yet we had no request for input, some bays too close and then nothing leaving large gaps and so, I rang and have listed a couple of issues and asked to be contacted for further comments to be considered.

Lastly got informed of a survey on a number of road safety issues. Speeding in school zones and roadworks. I could not in good conscience complete the surveys as they were framed to blame, not to ask why. I would hope no one who has ever had children, would ever speed in a school zone. But I want to be able to explain why I consider some roadworks to be wrongly signed for the safety of all on the road, not just the roadworkers and why I believe that just because some one thinks it is a good idea to leave speedlimits reduced when there is no work on the road at all, some will then ignore what may well be suitable limits at times when workers are working.

We need good roads, we need them fixed and repaired properly and we need those doing the work to be safe, absolutely. But those using the road need to be involved, not just told, slow down. I have written to the authors of the survey, offering comment, completed another survey that they may well say was not for me to contribute to and will hope to see more of us get a chance to contribute to improve road safety, not just answer surveys that to my mind, do not ask the right questions.  Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

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