18th April 2021 Calling for submissions.

Goodaye all. Well week four with my sling and outside of the task of ringing every member of the National Road Freighters Association, up to nearly 100 so far, I have been typing merrily away one handed, but making lots of corrections as I go. We now have a confirmed site at the Brisbane Truckshow, so I and other members of NRFA will be on the stand to say hello and get you to join. We will have a dinner date for members one night, so join up and come along.

The show looks set to have very wide industry support and coverage, with many other activities aligned with it for the duration of the show.

I still need a few more truckies, perhaps a couple from SA or Tassie for the hazard perception study, another tanker driver and a couple of general carters to round it out. If you drive fulltime and can give me 15 or 20 minutes, please give me a call. 0428120560

I will be visiting many of the TIV sponsors and hopefully encouraging a couple more to participate, so am still working on the next one, but lots still to do. I have been given a spot as the NRFA President at the Senate Inquiry in Canberra to wrap up from our point of view. I will thank all of our members who have contributed so far and believe we would be by individual numbers, the largest group to put in submissions.

Speaking of things you can do, submissions to the National Road Safety Strategy has closed and from a truckies view, we are again getting blamed for far more than our share of the problems on the road. But there is a chance for you to still have a say. The NHVR is calling for submissions till the end of the month and I will put mine at the bottom for your comments.

Don’t think I want you to just steal a bit or copy, I do want you to go to the NHVR website and read the document and think and reply. We don’t get the chance to contribute often enough, so don’t miss this one! You may just want to raise one issue or ten, you might want to challenge some thing the NHVR is saying, but don’t whinge about it after it closes and we haven’t been listened to, have a say, it won’t kill you and might even help another truckie in the future.

TRUCKRIGHT ABN 17426245866

TRUCKRIGHT Industry Vehicle (TIV) Ten Years on the road, 2019.

Rod Hannifey, Road Transport and Road Safety Advocate, TIV Driver and Operator.                                           Telephone: 0428 120560 Email: rod@truckright.com.au  Website: www.truckright.com.au

TRUCKRIGHT Awarded Highly Commended, 3M ACRS Diamond Road Safety Awards 2015.                                 Finalist 3M ACRS Diamond Road Safety Awards 2016, Awarded Churchill Fellowship 2016.          Green Reflector Marking Informal Truck Bays, finally completed the Newell Highway 2019.

To the NHVR, I would like to submit the following towards your Heavy Vehicle Safety Strategy.

On page 4 you speak of employees knowing appropriate safety behaviours that lead to rewards. Currently the whole of the enforcement task has been based on punishment, there is no reward, no recognition of previous behaviour, only fines and penalties. I recognise that as you take over individual state road authorities you are standardising training and that the NHVR is speaking of education before enforcement, but that has not been the case for the last 30 years, nor do you have any control whatsoever over how Police “interpret” laws under the HVNL, nor do you have any input or control then, over how individual states review and or further punish, so called offenders. Until this changes, you have one system where you are aiming to improve but the other enforcers will be allowed to continue unabated and will possibly destroy some of your good work.

How the NHVR will change Cultures and behaviour.   You speak of effective fatigue risk management systems, but no current system will overcome the current deficit of truck rest areas. What good is any system, if you have left fit for duty, planned your trip and you become tired and you are told to stop and manage your fatigue with no where to do so. It is my belief that such shortages have led to fatigue crashes and whilst I do recognise the possible driver aids available with some technologies, relying on them alone will not solve the problem.

The inherent lack of flexibility with the current system will continue to fail drivers and either force them to drive tired to be legal and get there, and or to stop and rest when they cannot sleep for any number of reasons. I do hope the current HVNL review will go someway to alleviate these issues, but again, to those pushing for EWDS etc, you must provide both the flexibility and the rest areas first, before going to a system that will count you out and punish you with no feelings or understanding of how hard you tried, to be both compliant and safe.

Delivering visible, targeted, compliance activities. I welcome and applaud this with one caveat, you have no control over how the Police act, so unless you do, some could well undermine your good work and intent.

Influencing other road users’ behaviour around heavy vehicles. I have been involved with this specific aim for over 20 years and notwithstanding the fact I have received funding both directly and indirectly from some of your programs, I will say you have done more than any before you to change this problem.  You have come to it late, but I am happy to promote and support current and further efforts to reduce crashes from those not taught to share the road with trucks.

Safer vehicles and increased uptake of safety technology. The next TIV will have most of this technology and some others. The just retired one had much of it, but to be truthful, I was never asked to expound on it and perhaps that was a missed opportunity? But happy to work with you and get that knowledge and information to other drivers and truck buyers.

Vehicle Maintenance. I agree absolutely with your intent, with again one caveat. In the past some without real sufficient knowledge have used this as punishment, eg sending a driver with a crack in a windscreen that was not dangerous, a small single bald patch on one tyre or a single light out for costly and ridiculous major full vehicle inspections. If you can remove such over-zealous stupidity from current enforcement, along with over the top Police grandstanding about infringements found and fined for, with absolutely no requirement to tell the truth or be held accountable for their behaviour. In these such “blitzes”, the more they ramp it up and lie, the worse we look and the more they can self-perpetuate such abuses.

Influence road network design to support safe heavy vehicles. We need a NATIONAL ROAD STANDARD, to which not only road authorities can be held, but also road builders and repairers. Even when some roads and or repairs are new, they are not built properly and or to the proper standard for safe road use. When they either fail and or as you suggest increase the risk of a crash, then it is too little too late and the maintenance costs and the possibility of causing or contributing to a crash, will only continue to increase. Wire rope from end to end on the Hume, Tycannah Creek Bridge south of Moree opened as a roller coaster and overtaking lanes south of Peak Hill failing within weeks of completion and no one is held to account.

Number and quality of rest stops. As mentioned above, we are not only behind in providing safe and sufficient truck rest areas, we are going backwards. We need a NATIONAL REST AREA STRATEGY

We now have national guidelines for truck rest area design, but no national policy to enforce it, let alone see one single truck rest area built. Yes we have some state programs, but they do not consider trucks, the current freight task, growing traffic, issues of truck parking in cities, let alone the growing problems of more restrictions, but also local trucks taking up spaces as free parking in truck stops or the added pressure of the annual caravan invasions. Then we have new roads and or alignments that take away current safe shoulders, by pass towns and then we lose 50 spots and get one parking bay with 10 spaces at ridiculous cost.

The Pacific Highway has never had enough truck bays and whilst it is now a much better road and may well take some traffic off the Newell, we have lost more parking bays than we have gained. Even worse than that, there was never any thought given to a proper change over facility, even when RMS knew of the hazards and congestion that occurred at Clybucca. I told them 15 years ago that such a site must be included in the Pacific Highway upgrades, we had only waited for 30 years to get one on the Hume and even it was badly designed and now the Pacific is completed, there is still nothing and insufficient truck bays for the increasing number of trucks which will only continue to grow.

I could go on and I recognise you are not currently responsible for such sites and I truly welcome your participation in this most critical of issues and do hope you can achieve something in the future.

Safe heavy vehicle road use. As a b-double driver, I understand the need for some restrictions, but there have been times, when by mistake, or by diversion due to a crash or roadworks, I have been sent on a road that was not a b-double route. Yet there has never been a road I could not safely travel along or exit safely from. In my view the penalty far exceeds the damage you suggest could happen. I will then go the other way and say I have seen drivers who can’t negotiate on a safe and permitted road, but that is all about proper driver training and while not under your direct control, I think needs much focus and hopefully resolution, that will provide safer truck drivers on the road. But too often the enforcement I have seen and heard of, was mostly overzealous and had nothing to do with road safety. Once you get into type 1 and then type 2 roadtrains, that is completely another matter.

Thank you for this opportunity to contribute and I look forward to your continuing efforts to improve road safety for all. Rod Hannifey, Road Transport and Road Safety Advocate and President NRFA.

I will attach the last video from the TIV. Again the light was dying, so the quality is not that good, but the sentiment and I hope, the passion will ring through. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

10th April 2021. Goodbye TIV video 3 and a bit of history of the blue/green reflector marking of informal truck bays.

Goodaye all. Three weeks of 6 in my sling, dressings off and wounds healing nicely, but sleeping still the biggest problem, though keeping busy typing with left hand and on the phone. I am currently working my way through ringing all financial members of the National Road Freighters Association to say Goodaye and to do a hazard perception survey for trucks.

We have had a few new members join and I ask any of you who want to see change and are not involved elsewhere, give a thought to joining. The more members we have, the better we will be recognised and then hopefully more able to achieve change. We aim to have a stand at the upcoming Brisbane Truckshow next month.

Next week is chase all the bits and pieces for the new TIV week. There are a few pretty bits I am keen on and I need a sponsor for some stainless work etc. There is a lot of effort goes into tying it all together when you are dealing with many of the suppliers individually, but without each of them, the whole would never be as good as it could.

There is one more video to follow this one. Both were done in a green reflector bay on the Newell Highway in the Pilliga section, between Narrabri and Coonabarabran. For many years this was not only seen to be, but was marked by large signs, as a fatigue black spot and I did it one night in the fog and vowed never to do it again and thankfully, have been able to stick to that.

The original blue reflectors started just north of Parkes in December 1999 and only covered a short section, then made it to the northbound bay just past the Shell at Gilgandra in February 2000. A fine and genuine friend of the road transport industry, Mr Stuart Peden of RTA Parkes took a bit of a risk and put the first ones up as a trial without much support. I had approached him following a trip home from Sydney in a single tanker, loaded with petrol over the Blue Mountains and as I normally drove b-doubles, did not use this road much at all.

It was late and I was tired, having been held up in Sydney for some reason and I was looking for somewhere to pull up and go to bed. I had hours to spare, but was getting to the point I needed to stop, but not knowing the road and or where any rest areas were, I was looking, but not finding any. Now those who run any road regularly know of some informal unmarked spots where they can park and get good sleep and or they know where the signed truck bays are. With a full load of petrol, I could not just park anywhere, I couldn’t simply pull up on the shoulder and go to sleep, which I really was getting to the point of, as that may not have been beneficial to my life, let alone, that of others and in the end, I had to travel on to Molong and park near the silo.

I had passed a couple of possible spots, but even having slowed down to just under 90, going too slow could be a hazard for following traffic, it was simply both unsafe to try and pull up at the last second to get in and again, with any traffic behind you, making such a move unannounced at the very last second is not the safest thing to do.

Having survived the trip, I thought there must be a way to mark such informal stops. With the guideposts already in place and considering the best way to make it work would be to keep it simple and cheap, I approached Stuart with the idea of using additional reflectors on the guideposts in a 3,2,1 pattern and as all the parking bays signs, for cars and trucks were blue, we thought that would both be different, they would stand out enough, but still be linked in a way to be effective and workable.

For many years after the initial ones went up, I kept asking him to extend them, but he could not get approval. At one stage, Stuart told me I had more chance of getting the idea up from outside the RTA than he did from the inside and so the long, arduous and continuing saga of emailing, asking, pushing and begging began and still continues to this day. You would have to agree, pursuing something for over 22 years now and still at it, either confirms me as dogged, tenacious or just plain bloody minded, your choice.

A fellow at TMR Warwick became a fan of the idea and in 2005 he moved to TMR Roma, did a trip with me where he marked some sites, then we ended up in Brisbane at the Road Safety Awards and I won the Industry Category and thought, this might see it kick on now. With the help of a few at TMR, guidelines were formulated, confirmed and written up and even posters were done, but then it stalled again and here I am still pushing it.

Years on and I am still asking RTA to extend the now green reflector marking of informal truck bays at least to Narrabri, as the Pilliga was a known black spot with few parking bays. For years I wrote lists of suggested sites and then I hit a point where I said, if they won’t, I will and some green reflector bays then appeared in the Pilliga.  This is that spot and these two sites, one either side, which were much later paved when I badgered some more RTA staff and are still helping truckies find a safe place to stop for whatever reason.

To all those who tell me I have helped them find a safe spot to stop when they really needed it, or even told me I have saved their life, none of you will ever know how much time and effort I have and am still putting into this, something so cheap and effective, yet I am still trying to get it not only state wide, but national. Till next week, enjoy the video, sorry for the quality, but that site had a bit of meaning and I could not hold the sun up any longer. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

4th April 2021 Happy Easter, Video 2

Goodaye all. Well shoulder surgery didn’t hurt that much, the anaesthetic worked well and whilst it does ache a bit, sometimes the reattached tendon is worse, but trying to sleep in a hi-tech sling with large spacer pad is to say the least, bloody difficult. I have four minimal exercises to do twice a day, can remove the sling if sitting watching TV, but otherwise have to keep it on for 6 weeks and then start physio.

They did give me some pain killers and I have tried them a couple of times but am not keen on going too hard and tried Panadol, but it is the fact I cannot sleep on my back and the sling doesn’t make it easy to sleep at all, that is seeing me somewhat sleep deprived. Good for that not to be on the road and then of course I missed all the floods and associated issues, bugger.

So I have had a sort of quiet week, though did participate in a Zoom meeting with the NHVR and Healthy Heads in trucks and sheds, and agreed to accept the Presidents’ position with the Stop the River Street Bridge and Newell Highway Alliance group. Whilst we still want a better outcome for Dubbo and those who visit and or travel through for the next 20 plus years, the half-baked River St Bridge which will not solve a single traffic or flood problem for Dubbo, but will then see Dubbo left without further major road improvement till 2045 according to RMS documents.

With the bridge petition presented at the NSW Parliament whilst I was in hospital awaiting surgery, I couldn’t be there to support it, but the group of locals involved want to keep fighting for better outcomes for all of Dubbo and for the future. Moree and other towns are getting bypasses to improve the amenity of locals and they have a truckstop, Gilgandra has two, but Dubbo as the virtual crossroads of NSW does not have anywhere suitable for a meal, a shower and somewhere to have a break in a truck. You can do each individually, but not together.

A ring road will provide at least the opportunity for such facilities, improve traffic within Dubbo and the money for the River St bridge would be far better spent starting such a project. So that is my take on that.

Last Saturday I attended the AGM of the National Road Freighters Assoc (NRFA) via Zoom and was elected President. I have been involved with NRFA for many years, on their board as often the only employed driver amongst a passionate group of owner drivers and am thankful to the outgoing President Gordon McKinlay who has not only agreed to stay on the board, but to possibly step in with meetings if I am away and that alone will help me to do my best while continuing on with my other activities.

I thank all who have put their faith in me, all who have commented positively and will do all I can to see NRFA grow and represent both drivers and Owner drivers in on the road issues. It is without doubt the only group of grass roots fulltime on road drivers and I will not be backward in asking any of you who want things improved and or changed to consider joining NFRA and helping us try to achieve some of those things.

Just to round out the activities, I am also one of 6 ambassadors for Health in Gear and I thank them, the organisation and the ambassadors for their efforts to have something simple, but hopefully effective in providing information to drivers through their new website http://www.healthingear.com.au  and I again ask you to have a look and consider what you might do to improve your own health, for and on the road. They do have a support line 1800464327 available normal work hours and it is aimed to expand this into our normal work hours in the future.

No one can make you do anything to improve your own health and life, you have to want to. Do you think that if you lost weight, gave up smoking and or did some more exercise, it would kill you, or would it more likely make you healthier, happier, more able to survive the stresses of life on and off the road and quite likely extend your life? I can’t make you do it, but I can ask you to give it some thought, so please do and if you check out Health in Gear, there will be at least one tip and possibly many more that just might help you. Please give it a thought. So my arm is getting sore and typing left handed is taking me more than three times as long as normal, so now to video 2 in the Goodbye TIV series. Till next week Safe Traveling, Rod Hannifey.