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.