15th September 2021

Goodaye all. The new TIV (prime mover at least) is real, I have even seen a photo. It has been a long time coming and I am itching to get it on the road. However, there is much more to add once it is painted, which will hopefully be completed this week. Then it has to travel and get more stuff fitted, so maybe a month from now.

I hope to be on the road next month in a fill in truck, will have a refurbed set of trailers till the new ones come next year, but so much still to do. Last week I was the only truckie (let alone the only industry person) in a phone hook-up for NSW Regional Telecommunications. I imagine many of you will agree mobile service has gone backwards recently, from no drop-outs from Brisbane to Melbourne, to now I can’t even go ten k north of Dubbo without losing signal. But I put our issues forward.

Then in a meeting with Healthy Heads in Trucks and Sheds. They are looking to be involved with the design and implementation of a Gold Standard truck rest area. We do have guidelines, but no government requirement to implement one spot, let alone anywhere near the number we need. The intent is worthwhile, but even if they could get some support, for example from a major fuel company to build such a site, not only is it going to be hard, it could be 18 months or more before such a site would be built. In that time, we could have a thousand green reflector bays, or some of them and some current bays expanded and or improved and maybe a few good bays under construction. We could save a life or at the least, prevent a fatigue crash.

I suggested this and have offered to give a week to audit and put up some green reflectors on the Pacific highway,  but there are of course, some minor issues with that idea. The most urgent need I see and am told, (and did put forward as well) is a changeover facility at Clybucca. The old servo is sitting there and whilst I asked, wrote, emailed and nearly begged RMS to do something as they rebuilt the road, you can see they gave that the same importance as any truck bays, none.

I have been involved in weekly meetings with DOT Victoria, again trying to get them to understand the problems, but they too are hamstrung by those above them who do make the rules etc, but who do not live on the road. We can but try.

The NRFA 6 point plan as put up last blog, has been refined slightly and sent to all pollies and others. We do hope it will gain some support and of course, I have sent it to each of the groups involved above.

In responce to my letter to the Police Commissioners of Australia, I have had a direct reply from the NT Police Commissioner. He virtually said, “We don’t have those problems here”, short and succinct and probably right.

I spoke with both the NSW Police Taskforce last week and the Qld Police Taskforce this week, each contacting me in response to the letter. In summary, both I spoke with as leaders of those groups said, they do have some empathy for us, (the Qld fellow having come from a transport family), but overall, you can’t ask them to allow tolerances against a law. That would be like saying, there is a law but don’t police it too hard. Both agree there is discretion, it should be used where the offence is minor and or non-road safety related, but they too, do not have control of even all their own officers once on the road, let alone all the other Police in their state.

Both again spoke of truckies who have made their own noose, by behaving like a pork chop to start with. The Qld gent quoted an instance where an employer had put in a complaint after a truckie was pinged. With it all video-taped and available, he did review it and found the truckie had been let off other offences and virtually, given the least damaging. More than a fair dealing for both, truckie and officer, yet the truckie did not tell the employer the truth.

I am sure many of you know of the bloke who has been pinged, in theory unfairly, yet were you there and did you get the full story? We too as truckies, have to do the right thing, the same as the Police, but neither group can guarantee, let alone confirm all others do that. So where to from here?

Both Police I spoke with say if we want change, it must be the laws that change. I did explain I am certainly following that path as well with contributions to the HVNL review and Senate inquiry, but the review is still months away from release and we all know such change will take years if it happens at all. I took part and had some specific recommendations put forward for the National Road Safety Inquiry in 2003 and even now, not one of them was actioned, so you will I hope, excuse both my cynicism and lack of patience.

I will now again, target the NHVR, seeking their support for change, their efforts in making that happen and as an interim, I again request, with the information and replies I have had from those closely involved from both sides, the only way for immediate fairness, is for any fines issued by Police under the HVNL, be reviewed by NHVR before being actioned. If any of you have a better solution, I am happy to hear it, If not I welcome your comments and support to see it happen. Till next blog, 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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