30th July 2021 Covid, trucking and safety.

Goodaye all. To those drivers suffering under covid permits, forms and frustration, I say surely by now, you would think we would have a national plan. We have been told we are essential, (until we need a toilet, then we are a pest to be ignored or told, go somewhere else) we have been then forgotten again, till the next lockdown and people emptied the shelves.

They did not need to of course, but it is a new world we all live in and those people who have been locked at home and or don’t have a job, are and will be suffering for some time to come. We however have been asked to fill in multitudes of forms, permits, carry letters, get tested, then get tested more, then get tested even more again.

I am no disease expert, I am not a health expert, but I do understand trucks and this is where, my mate “The Interstater” and I do agree whole heartedly. Too many who use our services and the majority of those who control them from afar and even worse, every person who simply thinks milk (for example but this applies to every thing and commodity) just falls out of the sky by magic every morning and appears in the shop, do not understand this trucking life.

They have no idea what we give up to see them have their milk etc, etc. Yes it is a job many have chosen, some have fallen into by default, through family business etc, others thought it must be a good job, until they tried it. I have just read another article about the driver shortage in the USA and England seems to be even worse off currently. How many jobs or industries have a turnover rate (so the percentage of employees who they have to replace each year, not new ones, just the existing workforce) of 90% or higher as in the USA?

Now we all know the grass is greener on the other side, they earn more, get better conditions, get extra benefits until of course, you leave your current job and go to work there and it is not as you were told, or thought you had spent all that time checking into. Once you get there, you find it is no better and sometimes even worse, than where you were before. You might have found after awhile, you did not like the boss, or the mechanic or the truck or the location, so you look around for a change or something better.

People are funny aren’t they? But to have every single employee leave in a year is not so critical perhaps if you have two, but what if you employ 1000, or more? This driver shortage has been discussed, disputed, argued over as a beat up and talked about in the USA for years and here too, but not to the same extent. We know the average age of a b-double driver here is nearing 60 and it has only just been confirmed that according to the CEO of the NHVR in his latest industry post, the freight task in Australia is growing faster than the population, perhaps twice as fast and the task here is the 5th largest in the world.

So we might need some more truckies soon, unless of course they can perfect driverless trucks? Till then all we are really asking is a fair go, decent facilities to manage our fatigue and a decent income for the life we live on the road and what we and or families give up, so others can have those things they wish to buy.

In the USA, they had a campaign, “If you don’t want trucks on the road, stop buying stuff” and in the UK when I was there, they had a t-shirt, “If it wasn’t for trucks, you would be cold, naked and hungry” so not only here in Australia, do we struggle to get our message across to those who make the decisions. How do we change that? Many have tried, but it hasn’t changed things enough.

We are not perfect, we make mistakes, but for all my contacts and mates in the industry, we go to work to feed our families and to get home safe each trip. Is that enough reason to ignore our needs, which are the same as most peoples’? I wish I had the answers, or someone did. But I am still keen enough to set up another TIV and commit to that for the next five years. Many are contributing and supplying product and or support etc and I thank them all and will do my bets to not only give them a return on that investment, I hope to save a life or two. When I started all this, I said, “The worst that can happen, is that no one listens, nothing changes and I simply put in a lot of effort and time and money, but if one motorists sees the Truckies Top Ten Tips, one rest area gets built or improved or a truckie uses the green reflector bay when tired, or I get a bit of road fixed and that prevents a crash or a death, then all my efforts, will have been worthwhile.”

I may save one life, I will most likely never know of that or any others, but you must have a purpose and a goal, for you have far too much time on the road thinking and driving for others who will risk your life, thinking of the family you are away from and hoping to get home safely for yet another trip. Please think the same each time you go out on the road and maybe, we will all get home safe. Till next time, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

By truckright

An Australian truckie aiming to improve both how the road transport industry is seen and understood by the public and to improve road safety for all.

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