Goodaye all, today we have some good news and some bad news. Or do we have news that is bad and then news that is worse and no matter how I string it, I will piss off someone and not just someone, but some seriously big players in our lives on the road.
I got a ticket from a Police officer, a random (or was it?) stop, looked till he found something, would not listen to my explanation, or let me look at what he was charging me for, then I wrote with details and photos which I believe exonerate me from the offence. So from my point of view, I have not committed an offence, I may have made a clerical error, but have backed up my view and so now to court. A $450 fine for exceeding driving hours by up to 15 minutes, which I dispute and my logbook and EWD confirm, but no warning, no consideration of my record and no way is the alleged offence worthy of such a penalty. Even more so when I then had a 7 and a quarter hour break.
Why are the police allowed to fine us for transport law they are not correctly taught to understand? Why can they work a double shift and get paid overtime and then charge us a ridiculous penalty for a minor breach? Why are we cheated out our weeks wages by someone that is not able to be overseen by a stand alone third party? From my view, with the HVNL being overseen by the NHVR, I have no problem being stopped and inspected and if treated fairly, getting a ticket if I am wrong or in breach of something regarding safety, not just my own, but that of other road users as well.
Then I have heard from two other drivers within days of the review, rejecting and saying they cannot withdraw the penalty (a complete lie) of similar abuses of power and surprise, surprise, again both by Police. I will not bore you with the details here, but they will be the start of a list for the current Senate Inquiry into a Safe and Viable Road Transport industry. No wonders drivers are leaving this job and I am sure many of you have seen the release or recent mental health issues and concerns with truckies, no bloody wonder when we are treated like this. More to come.
I did get invited to attend the Newell Highway Taskforce Committee meeting in Parkes (thanks as always to RPT for helping me get there and giving me the time) and was then accepted as a member and proceeded to give a list of Newell issues. Some I have pursued previously, some will now gain some more prominence, as the RMS or whoever they are this week, was not aware of a couple, but is now and I aim to follow up with more. Having come back from the west and roads you do not see here, again I ask why?
Lastly I must welcome back AMPOL, instead of Caltex, but from a truckies view, they are coming in and going backwards at a rate of knots. Why would you take back control of the servo in Longreach and then close the bloody thing down when you now leave us with a 400k gap for any services? Closing the kitchen at Yarroweah, closing Cunnamulla altogether and telling us they have a truck network and are aiming to help us!!!!!!!!!!! Really!!!!!!!!! I have emailed them and will wait for an answer. What do you think? We are going backwards in so many ways and who of you can or will, do something? The lack of submissions to the HVNL review will leave us open to those who don’t have to live by our rules, changing them to punish, penalise and control us even more and once it is done, it will never change back and only continue to get worse, because someone else should have done it.
I am not as friendly this week as you might see. Something else I am working on has hit a couple of snags, it will still happen, but not as I hoped, planned and intended. There are not enough hours in the day and I am off to work after tea, but will keep trying and that is all I ask of any of you who care. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.