Goodaye all, nearly the same week as last, Dubbo, Melbourne, Dubbo, Newcastle, Emerald, Rockhampton and back to Dubbo, just on 5000k for the week. I rang TMR and reported a culvert that felt like a 6 inch drop, one bridge with both abutments dropped both north of Springsure and rang RMS to ask about lost truck bays in the Singleton to Belford road improvement. We are losing the formal one at the Golden Highway intersection, which was badly designed and not much use and then the informal bit before the camera, which will now be the new road.
The lady who rang me back from RMS told me the ones on the Hunter Bypass where built with these losses in mind and I explained there are still not enough bays and the westbound one had all the trees blown down and left to die after the money had been spent to buy them. She said she would put my views forward and I thanked her.
Now getting roads fixed is a big job and I don’t travel them all, where some of you travel the same roads every night, so you know where the problem bits are, but have you ever reported any of them? I do not expect any driver to ring every time they see a bump, that would be a waste of everyone’s time, but if within NRFA we could have three or four blokes for each highway and they kept in touch and each week reported the worst bump or issue for that road, then the authorities might act. I have had hundreds of bumps, dips and road failures repaired and or at least, improved and the authorities do not travel every road every day, nor do they ever do it in loaded trucks, so they simply may not even know of the issue.
I have asked for drivers to join an association, I don’t even mind which one you join, but with so many drivers and so few in associations, all struggle to get a voice and to have that voice heard. But with enough members, that might change. All also struggle with having a few do all the work, but if we had small groups with one focus, for example a particular highway and they could focus on that but still have the support of an association, then perhaps we could achieve more, have safer roads for all and not expect the few or just me, to fix every bump and pothole in Australia.
So if you want your highway fixed, join the NRFA now, become part of the group for your highway and all you will have to do is work with two or three others once or twice a week, keep a record of what you agree to be the biggest problem and how and when you report it, either separately which would be preferable, the more complaints the more likely they are too act, the more we might get done.
Now I should not have to tell you, if you ring and abuse or are rude to the person taking the complaint (and yes we are all frustrated they don’t build, maintain and fix them all better, this is why we are asking for a NATIONAL HIGHWAY STANDARD) then the time and effort will be wasted, they will think all truckies are idiots and nothing will change. But if you ring and explain you travel this road each night and you believe this to be a road safety hazard and are reporting it to make the roads safer, then who knows, we might get much more done. Be genuine, don’t ring about a divet the size of your thumb, report serious flaws and failures.
There is a “duty of care” for all road authorities, if something is reported and they fail to act, they can be held liable. Yes, they have an out if they don’t know, “How can we know of every bump of failure” will be what they say and fair enough, some of them have very large networks to cover and can’t cover every kilometre each month, let alone each week, hence also the need to keep a record.
Yes you can do this on your own, but how many of you do now, if more did, then we may not need to organise this plan, but if you and a few others can agree on the worst bit that week and all report it, then the authorities will have to act. That is why we must keep some sort of record. Now Vicroads will give you a reference number and so it can’t be simply “lost” or forgotten, I have spoken to them and had them go back months to when it was last reported and then can say, “Why has this not been actioned?” It is our lives and our safety and if you want to do it alone, please do, but I would like to try this way and see what we can do, so come on, join the NRFA.
But if you want to join the QTA, VTA, SARTA Natroad or any of the others because you think they will do more for you, please do and then ask them to support our NRFA 6 point plan. If you haven’t seen it yet, then check our Facebook or web page and let us know what you think? Do you agree with the points, will you help us achieve them? Who else will do it if we don’t and we can’t do it alone, let alone with only a few hundred members?
And now the video. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.