26th March 2023

Goodaye all, an interesting week for me with calls back from TMR and a Heavy Vehicle Rest area Committee meeting, finalizing our application guidelines, but a bad week for industry with some sad and serious crashes. My thoughts go to the families of those involved.

So I have a mate who drives in Central Qld and there is the McKenzie River rest area on the Fitzroy Development Road south from the Peak Downs Highway towards Dingo. I have previously spoken with TMR asking who put up some green reflectors (though the border for TMR Mackay finishes at Middlemount) and there were (till I was there some months ago) not only no green reflectors, but only one signed bay for that stretch to Dingo! They are still to get back to me.

But at the meeting called by the Assistant Police Commissioner which I attended in Mackay some months ago,  I raised the issue of new signs at this rest area stopping westbound trucks from entering from that end. Two other drivers had agreed there was now a problem. There was no come back from the TMR chief who attended that meeting, so I have chased again. Finally got a call three months later after I had complained about the new toilets on the road towards Belyando from Clermont having hand written signs saying “toilets out of order” and the fellow apologized for the delay, saying he had been off on leave and thought it was sorted now.

Yes it had been, they were not even technically opened and neither were the ones at the intersection of the Peak Downs and Fitzroy Roads when I rang and complained there was no toilet paper in any of the loos. Then if they are not open, why are they left open with no signage to say otherwise??

So I explained the McKenzie problem, weeks later he came back and said, no, there are no new signs there, so I asked my mate for photos and sent them in, more quiet, then the call. “Yes there are signs there as part of an upgrade”, really well what do you know? “But your new signs now expect a loaded AB triple at over 100 tonnes gross to do a U turn across and block both lanes to get in and then do the same to get out when there is a corner blocking line of site!!!!!!!!! Yes they seem to think that is safer and I and others disagree vehemently. So I asked them to remove the signs, they are wrong and have created a hazard, not removed one, that I want a response and will keep asking and emailing and ringing until they are removed, unless they will build another rest area on the other side. No we don’t have the money and he does not have the power, yes I understand that, hence the request for you to put my comments forward and to respond to them.

This is yet another time that those who think they know what it is like to drive trucks, have no clue. Their intent is genuine, did they consult anyone, let alone a truck driver, many will ignore the signs, but then will the local copper decide this is an easy mark? I will follow up with the TMR boss from the meeting and the Police, but this is why we must have a voice, even if only to know what they are doing and to comment first. We all see what we think is sometimes a stupid waste of money and we do know there is no bottomless pit of same, yet we must get better value, because it is our lives they are playing with. If they won’t even agree the signs are there, how will we get them to listen?

If you have any such issues, let me know. Another mate rang, tearing his hair out over the crashes, saying and rightfully so, you have been trying to fix this shit for years and nothing changes, no one listens, but please tell me who can and will? He wants, like many, a changeover site on the Pacific, during the week it was mayhem at Kempsey. I gave him some steps to take and he has said he will and with a new NSW government, maybe we will get some action, so we will have to push and even scream to get this underway. Again, if you use the Pacific, if you see and live this problem, write me a paragraph, not ten pages, but a fair and reasoned explanation of the problem we can put forward. I don’t do changeovers and certainly not on the Pacific, so I need five who do to give me something to push with. Will any of you do this? Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.  


19th March 2023 A week-end in Dubbo and jobs done.

Goodaye all, a week-end at home, got in Friday and unloaded, checked for a week-end job, but nothing extra so will load Monday afternoon. Fitted a short term water tank to the truck, got a few more things tidied and have plans to see the scales fitted Monday morning and some brackets welded for another piece. Made some calls, some nice reflective tape coming for the trailers, got a call back from Vicroads about a ripple on the Hume they have been unable to find for over 12 months now and note TMR did do some work on the culverts south of Yelarbon.

Sunday night now, lights on side done and a couple fixed and lit as well, fitted the Ecofins to the top of the cab and roof light bar, am getting small extensions for the cab wings and once fitted will complete the Ecofin perimeter. Mowed, pruned, cleaned as well and now to scrub the shower. Then off to bed, will be a long day tomorrow but such is trucking. Been hot, didn’t even have breakfast or lunch, keen to get the lights fitted and on and thanks to Toby for the effort, still a few jobs to do, but getting there.

Spoke with our workshop manager and asked to get jobs done Friday, saying if we get these few things done, they will be all finished and I said, “I will leave you alone for months, you won’t know what to do with yourself” and he said, “They will never be finished”. True there will be minor repairs, but I had this list when I first put them together and always had intent to see most of it done overtime. We have plenty of other trucks and trailers to work on, yes they are the 50 year RPT set, but they have to work as well and yes, I want them to look good and will do my best to make that happen and then keep them that way. Have had comments from customers and some on the road saying they look good and will be better when completed, just little things I will see and know but few others will appreciate or care about.

Same with the truck, yes I am always looking for ideas, little things and the biggest cost and item will be to have the water tank and toolbox specially made to fill the gap and complete the chassis, but that will be one of those jobs I will work on and sort over time. Some dash lights to sort, some blue lights to set up on a switch for shows and some cupboards to fit and nearly all done, again to the initial plan I had from the start.

Am hoping to do some stories for mags and get to some shows, pity to miss the Oaklands show today, had I a load for Melbourne, could have gone, but we will see for the future. Hope to have some photos for next week. Off to the showers, till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


12th March 2023

Goodaye all, well nearly a stuck in for two plus days week-end like the last, just a different spot, but again a couple of calls and thanks very much Andrew for getting me unloaded Friday night in Mackay, then after a night north of Rocky, got back and went to fit mudflaps I could have breakfast with my sister-in-law Saturday morning (thanks for breakfast Betty) and her husband and say Goodaye, then get into Brisbane last night.

Had a lot of paperwork to catch up on this morning, worksheet and diary, then a clean of the cab, chat with a couple of drivers, make some calls and then measure ready to fit some mudflaps, file the edges off the dropdeck chassis on both trailers, yes slow with a hand file but no grinder here and it only cost some time and sweat, no I did not hit them but marked from before and had to have it tidier as you do.

Breakfast of fruit cookies (Thanks Grandson Cody) with yoghurt and just had the last of my Coles raisin and oat ones from last week for tea with the same yoghurt. Went out for lunch with a man looking to help drivers with stuff, checking into that first and will see where that goes soon.

After borrowing Dutch’s drill, the man from lunch from above, drilled all the holes before we went to lunch (then came back to fit them, glad I had not unbolted them all), then damn, only brought two long and two short bolts, not 4 long ones, did one side, need some minor mods later but plan and outcome is what I wanted, so other side when I can get more bolts.

Took a couple of photos, had planned to wash truck for them, but no room or gear and raining here and there, so decided to get into computer and did so just before it bucketed down, so no kore photos, will try in the morning now. I must say the Bruce Highway down to Gin Gin at least is looking better and has more stopping bays and sites than I have ever seen on it. Still more work to be done and will look forward to the Gympie bypass but need more sites closer to Brissie.

Trouble was the car and caravan drivers. One vanner, doing around 90, I was the fourth vehicle behind him into the long overtaking lane and still had 500 metres to go and he tried to pull across in front of me, then sat there beside me till the end and had to slow to get back in. The signs all say, “ALLOW OVERTAKING VEHICLES TO PASS” NOT “Pull out in front to stop them long before the end of the overtaking lane and then stay at 90 kph!”

Some cars would do 90, then as you had a chance to overtake, speed up to 100, but then back to 95 or 90 and then wonder why you are still behind them k after k? Some more rain, but had it so hard near Springsure on the way up, had to slow to see the road and of course the road to Mt Isa has been closed after the torrential rain up there. Hope all get out of it OK.

Well time for a shower now it is cooler and hope to get a decent sleep, then load in the morning. I did manage to visit home for clothes Wednesday before heading off to load and knowing there was no way I would be home, so the third week away and hoping to get home next week-end to get some more lights fitted to the truck and finish that other mudflap. Cheers and Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


5th March 2023

Goodaye all, here I am in downtown Griffith, can’t unload till tomorrow morn, but it could have been worse. I had to deliver to Bourke loading out of Brisbane Friday and was told they did not open till Monday. As you might imagine, it is bad enough getting here last night and sitting till Monday, let alone sitting in Bourke for nearly two days and then not getting into Melbourne to load tomorrow. So I made some phone calls and explained my request, normally no problem but boss was away for week-end and would see what he could do. He rang back and said the best they could do was 3PM Saturday. I said thank you that would be very much appreciated and it was and I left there are arrived here about 10.30PM.

There is of course a backstory to this, and it started loading Monday for delivery to Shepparton Tuesday morning, two drops there then into Melbourne. Got to Shep just in time to do my spot on “Nightshift”, then later in the morning up and in to unload, got to gate and lady walked out and said, “You have to go in the other gate”, the sign I had passed said TRUCK ENTRY then in smaller letters 6 PM to 6 AM. We discussed this and she said ”Will you be able to back out?” I suppose we will find out as I backed the b-double back out onto the street, lucky it was not a busy spot. Seems she has not and does not want to see the sign as it is.

Then into the next gate and walk around for a bit till I find another small sign, ring this number for deliveries, so I did and they turned up. A compliment on the rig, unload, a copy of Owner Driver and off to the next place. In, have to take two pallets off and test product, yes I can sit in the lunchroom and have coffee after I sign in, OK thanks. An hour or so later I wander out and they have nearly unloaded me, all good, but the driveway out is an angular downhill and turn nightmare, but by running over a bit of the garden, no damage, just use the mulched bit, got out no damage.

Noticed a tyre doughy, stopped to put some air in to get into Melbourne as no weight on it and enough air to get me there. I had only driven 4 meters in the yard in Dubbo before I went to load and picked up a wall screw from some new work. I had picked up 40 for that reason, but this one I missed and it too could have been worse.

Off to Melbourne, go to last place I delivered with the address on our paperwork, no one home, ring the place, no we haven’t used that for months, Oh thanks, back to other site just down the road so all good there and new warehouse all done and even has a cover so we can unload in the rain now without getting wet, bonus. So then round to tyre place and got it repaired and to yard, but can’t load till tomorrow, so tea and an early night.

Wednesday morning, Plan, A, then B, then C and we are off to load, then to top up and made an effort to get into Dubbo to get trailers serviced and few jobs done. Had been told I would be adding a third trailer for the leg to Toowoomba/Brisbane or Gatton pads as such, but after getting my trailers done and some extras, asked about the other trailer. You have to go and load it, OH!!! No one mentioned that.

Find it, check it over, put some gear in it, rush off to load, broken gate nearly took out two fingers and then the pole fell out of the curtain, I doubt my steel caps would have saved my toes if it had hit on the end. Ring and inform workshop, back soon with work for you, how long 45 mins? Back to yard, organize repairs,  put some more straps on as I had to double stack some pallets, hook up and no clearance to the second trailer. The dropdecks just don’t like others in front, talk of transhipping, but in the end by now getting late, leave it for now and go as is. But then have to clean turntable from the trailer I loaded and then skidplate from my A after greasing the loaded trailer turntable, having greaseless is good most of the time.

So out late, a quick shower at Moree and into Toowoomba. Up to unload in the morning there, in to Brisbane depot to unload as won’t make timeslot and then get to load. Off to load and after about 15 minutes discussion about the weight of the product, I was wording up my next column for Owner Driver. You know how you try to help people and they will not listen.

Paperwork lists product as being 1100kg, but three times previously I have explained, complained and weighed product before. Paperwork is correct I am told, no it’s not, so we will go and look, yes please. We check the container, no weight listed, we weigh the container, 1400plus KG! The clerk goes back to the office and I detail again to the forkie. He goers off to explain but finds a manager who then comes and asks me to detail issue and I do, for which he thanks me and says will be fixed.

I raised the issue for two reasons, the first is what if a driver comes in and loads a full load of this product, based on their paperwork, then goes out very overweight and has a crash and kills someone. The supplier will be in the shit, and very deep. The second is they are being ripped off for cartage and so is everyone else. It should not take three times to get it fixed and I should not have to virtually hassle people to be listened to, particularly when the info I supply is confirmed.

My column would have been, why must it be so hard to help people, now it will detail what we go through to be heard. I may save a driver from a fine or a crash and this company from a major and very serious COR breach, yes I got a thank you, but it was the third time I had raised it and was the problem the last two times, that I am “just a truck driver?”

So an interesting week, trailer airbags stay up now, save lots of time building up air, got a couple of shockies done and have even asked workshop manager to write me something, the roads are killing them. In our submission for the shock, hidden request for comment on rego rises, I commented that they are asking us to pay more for less, the roads are not being built or repaired properly, we must get better value before we pay more, then the roads wreck the trucks, let alone the driver and then we get pinged for worn out trucks. What a vicious circle and it is our lives on the road!

I got most of the tar off the truck while sitting, another bloody problem with their lousy repairs, so now back to the truck for tea. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.