11th October 2020 A week off

Goodaye all, I am having a week off, the truck needs a clutch and so I have made up a list with a few other jobs for truck and trailers and plan to work on family, a couple of books and the next TIV. Thank you to those who have commented on the “phone a mate” idea. If you will have a go and ring a mate to offer a Goodaye and perhaps empower one person either to seek help, or simply to think of, contact and even possibly help another driver, then I am glad that my mate rang me with the idea. Some of you may see a video which mentions me and this idea, but he did go a bit hard, I did not save anyone’s life, I simply found out after the event, but hope by putting the idea out there, that one of you may truly save someone doing it tough.

There are many drivers who over the years have tried to do their bit to see things change, there are many more who have either complained and done nothing, or simply thought it all too hard. Nothing will change unless someone makes the effort, sometime it will still not change, but you must either support someone who makes the effort, make it yourself, or shut up and don’t whinge about it, if you are not prepared to actually do anything constructive.

It is hard to do it on your own, the associations and other groups cannot solve all our problems overnight and the government, unfortunately doesn’t even know nor care, what the problems are, let alone know what the solutions may be. So you can have a go, you can join an association, but even then, joining alone and paying a fee, does not fix it all. If you don’t like what an association, union, group or bunch of blokes do and think you can do it better, then join and make it happen, or at least try. No group can get things done without member participation and support.

Just joining and then doing nothing may give the group numbers, but unless you participate, provide input, give your views, etc, how will anyone know what you want to see done. Our biggest problem as an industry, is that we are all individuals, like every other group, but then we have owner drivers and company drivers, local and intra and then interstate and then we have all the industry sectors that each want possibly different things or even similar things but in different ways or for other reasons.

We have overnight express, general freight, tippers and tankers, livestock, oversize and all the others as well, which are all part of the transport industry, yet have differing needs, representation and issues. Then of course if we were all local drivers, we could have a meeting and maybe be heard, but we are spread from one end of the country to the other and trying to deal with day to day issues, let alone industry wide ones that need more effort than one bloke or one association can change.

What has been your experience with the union, with the associations that represent us, have they listened, have they acted or do they not truly represent you, whether you are a local tanker driver or an oversize driver or pilot, or any other group. If you have the answer to all our problems, then please let me know how to solve them for you and I will do my best. If not, join one group or the other and try and help them achieve the impossible, to solve all our problems. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

5th October 2020 A new TIV and Call a Mate.

Goodaye all. The TIV will live on. I have a commitment for a new truck in the new year and am now working on new trailers as well. I am hoping for a big launch, for something a bit unique and something that will stand out and continue the aims I have had from the start.

  1. Improving roads, yes our trucks are better and so are some roads, but many are not and it is our lives that are at risk. Yes we must be road friendly and comply, but the roads should then be truck and driver friendly. I should not have to ring road authorities to complain about serious failures and then still wait months for them to be fixed. Yes we are a large country with a small population, but we must get better value and safety for all by building, fixing and maintaining our roads to a standard, something we do not have now. We need a National Road Standard and it must be maintained for our safety as well as for all others.
  2. Improving Road Safety for all, through better education about sharing the road with trucks. I have been promoting the Truckies Top Ten Tips for over 20 years now, yes we have the videos finally, but not one road authority will include them in driver licensing, so until we get people to understand us, they will continue to risk our lives and theirs every day.
  3. Raising Industry Awareness through attending industry and other events, having riders in the TIV and participating in media and other efforts.
  4. More and better rest areas, we need a National Rest Area Strategy, we are losing more sites than we are gaining, we still do not have enough and I am still asking for green reflector bays to be national after only 20 years. If we can’t get a bit of dirt marked, what hope do we have of having enough suitable truck rest areas to safely manage our fatigue?

 I will commit for a minimum of four years, hope for maybe another one or two on top of that if health and family will allow and intend to continue the work I have done for over 20 years now. I would welcome any support, the majority of those sponsors who have supported the TIV from the start, have committed to extend that support into the new unit and I thank all for that help in achieving a dream.

When I first came up with the idea of a vehicle to promote the industry and road safety, even I thought it might not happen. But a few said they would contribute, then others did, but with the curtains, I was told, “It will never happen, no one will pay for that” but I kept asking till I found someone who would help with the application, though the design of both sets so far were mostly, all mine. Attards accepted my design, helped with the production of both sets and the original curtains are now on another set of RPT trailers and I am planning for a BAB Quad trip and photo shoot.

The current curtains are 9 years old and will live on for a bit with the current truck. I am hoping to find a protégé to take on the current truck when the new one arrives, any takers? I do not expect anyone to put in the time I do (and few of you would even have any real idea of that) nor do I expect them to do shows, but they must respect the effort I have put in, and do the right thing as best they can, that is all I ask.

There will be new curtains and I will again cover most industry sectors, the Australian Heavy Vehicle Combinations panel will be updated and slightly bigger, as it has had so many comments and photos, it was the best addition to the original curtains that I made and thanks to Kenworth for helping with it then and again for the new one. I will aim to cover all who have helped over the next few months, but thank them all here as well.

Ken Wilkie holds a special place both in my heart for his simply unheard of help, by supplying his Kenworth to get me going, and then his outstanding contribution to the road transport industry over many years, then Rod Pilon bought me the current trailers and then the K200 and Rod and Ben and all the staff generally, continue to support my efforts to this day. I will not say it has been easy, my family have all suffered, mostly in silence for the time and effort I put in, but I love what I do. I am often told I have two jobs and only get paid for one.

In these times and with many good projects and road safety efforts in place, we must all work together to keep us all safe and in good spirits. We live on the road in general isolation much of the time, have rarely been recognised for the work we do and the lives we so often save, anticipating and or dealing with the actions of those who have never driven a truck, let alone lived in one on the road. A mate rang me the other day and has committed to ring a different mate each night when at work, to simply ask how they are going. I think this is a terrific idea and started it that night as well.

A couple of years ago, during my Christmas ring around to mates, two of a dozen blokes I spoke with in a couple of days, had suffered marital breakdown and had been in varying degrees, close to suicide. This industry is very unforgiving of the toll it takes on our families and many marriages do not survive and the effects of those marriage failures can be severe, have a long period of self -punishment for the failures, perceived or otherwise of the driver, let alone the impacts on the children and others involved.

There are many programs underway, yet we are all very cynical of the proposed, proffered, promised and perceived changes that others offer. Mostly we all hope they have good intentions, but if we want things to change, if we want to help others who may be struggling for whatever reason, we must participate and make sure that no one wastes the time and money to re-invent the wheel, but listens to those involved, who have been there or who will at least listen and offer valuable and specific help or at least, direct us to those who can provide help.

Do you know someone who has struggled, have you taken the time, even if only to ask, are you OK or can I help in any way? Most blokes will not simply open up and tell you their woes, many will not want to burden you with their problems, but sometimes, simply asking or offering, can start a recovery and what has it cost you, a little bit of your time and surely we can all at the least, offer that. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.