22nd May 2023 Brissie Truckshow.

oodaye all, sorry for the day late entry, but last week did two Dubbo/Brissie runs with the intent of getting to the truckshow. On the way down after the first had a semi-plan, but it crashed and ended up with another that seemed ok and was till I went to load Friday. Nearly 6 hours to load empty things for Sydney, sat at the gate for two hours, then in the bay for another couple, heard later they were three forkies down on the morning shift, though the bloke I spoke to as he left, said plenty of forkies, not enough forklifts, so who knows? Then the load was not picked, was not due till the following week and had stuff in front. All worthy causes of a delay, but that long?

But I got loaded, back to the yard to drop the trailers and off to the show which had now closed two hours before, so other than check out the trucks outside, no truckshow today. Two other NRFA board members had arranged lodgings at East Brisbane for the three of us for the event and I parked up there, changed clothes and into a cab for an NRFA get together and dinner for those who had been at the show.

In Saturday morning and walked and talked all day. All those I spoke to from a wide range of fields all said the show had drawn huge crowds Thursday and Friday, more public and kids etc Saturday, but still busy right through till near close Saturday and Sunday. The organisers should be both happy and satisfied with the outcome. There were many stands and the only thing I did not find displayed was load restraint and that was something I was chasing, but will follow up directly elsewhere.

The two other specific items/products I wanted to chase weren’t there, so I will have to follow them up with suppliers, but spoke with many who have supported the TIV and it is really the one time many of them are in the one place to meet and greet, say thanks and or be able to chat with.

There was a stand out rig, but for the most part other than the obvious electric and hydrogen trucks being technologically outstanding in their own way, the only other real showpaint truck was a Volvo in different colours as it was to run on biofuel. Benz had many “SOLD” signs on trucks by Friday, the new 660 horsepower DAF looked good and I do wonder why it was not out in the K220, which by the way, won the Australian Truck of the Year from a field of four.

Whilst checking out the new IVECO, I asked the man on the stand about the tyres, it was on 315/80 on the drive on 9inch rims and he said I was the only person to notice or comment to them. Seems thee first couple were rushed out here for the show and still had the normal Euro spec tyres and rims.

From one of the smallest things, GME have a new push to talk button coming out for their UHF radios which I hope to trial soon, discussions on tyres, sizes, pressures and CTI fittings, suspensions for the new trailers, some stickers from supporters to go on the truck wings, upgrades to do and a few more little things to fit, I tried to catch up with most I have dealt with and then some new ones too.

Some Blue Boys, silicone covers for the airline fittings that look to vastly extend the life of the fittings, to grabbing Kenworth kids toolbag (and then finding a kid and Dad to give the plastic tools to) as the bag is the right size for so many other jobs and storage things, it was too good to miss.

NRFA had a joint drinks evening Saturday, where TBI Insurance and On the Road Radio had arranged it and invited us to participate and they then announced the return of “Truckin’ Life” magazine in the next few months. This follows on the return of “Kenworth Downunder” magazine in which I have a story about the TIV idea amongst other terrific Kenworth customer stories and it is available from Amazon direct and has no adds, just top trucks and stories.

I had a long discussion with one of the NHVR gents outside the show before I left Sunday evening to head to Sydney and have asked him to pursue some things and have just spoken with him again now to add another to the list, something I asked of RMS, but now NHVR have control of those sites in NSW, worth another try. We will see.

We had a very serious discussion about compliance, speeds and where the industry is going, during the show with some, then also amongst NRFA members at the drinks and as I was walking down one of the aisles, heard a lady say to another, “Yes he is over it, it is all getting too hard and he is looking to sell up and get out” so there goes another operator who has done it and got to the point of simply can’t take it anymore.

I had a gent ring me for a chat if I had time while there and again, he is a relative newcomer and small player in the scheme of things, is keen and involved with industry stuff, but the issues of bullshit fines and whether they actually improve road safety, the justice or lack of it when you try to fight them, the lack of drivers and or the increasing number of those who have a license as opposed to real skill and knowledge, the rising costs, not just the direct ones but the damage from the roads they want us to pay more for when they are doing more damage to trucks and drivers now than ever, the lack and quality of on road facilities etc, all make it too hard for many.

In the past, if you needed a loo or a coffee to get you through the night, the roadhouses where there. Yes the kitchens have nearly all gone, but with all the new ones having the toilets inside and many of them now closing early, we are going backwards. Would you let your wife go out and drive on the highways when there are not enough facilities for blokes and yes, we can and have made do for many years, but if we want women to drive trucks long distance, there is little chance of it with the facilities we have now!

Amongst many true and telling remarks, one fellow who we thought should try stand up comedy, said he was uncomfortable with the current level of industry risk. This in itself means little to those outside the industry, we are all just whinging truckies aren’t we? This level of risk varies of course. But for those who try and do the right thing to have it come back and bite them hard, then to those who do mostly the right thing and hope nothing goes wrong, to those who are simply in the wrong time and or place and have some idiot run into them and not only does the shit hit the fan, it explodes and takes away their lives efforts.

Then there are those who simply should not be driving or running trucks. No matter what I do, the associations do, the NHVR does, whilst ever we are treated like criminals and guilty until proven innocent as opposed to the rest of the community, that risk is real and if you don’t even know it exists, or you do nothing to try and prevent it, God help you when it goes wrong and I doubt even he could fix it. If you have nothing in pace to show you try, then you may as well have nothing. Yet you can do all that and still be treated badly.

This is not defeatist, it is genuine and of course, does follow from listening to the compliance podcast on “Copy Southbound” which I do recommend you all listen to. Big Brother is not only watching, he is coming and you don’t need a crystal ball to know that following yet another tragic crash involving a truck, that no one will even recognise the countless lives we save everyday, but will be out for our blood again.

I don’t want to be negative, otherwise why would I spend over 30 years trying to be positive, but there is so much to do, fix and improve and so few doing it. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.


14th May 2023 Road Safety week.

Goodaye all, well my Tik Tok (under “Safe Travelling”) on the way home from Darwin has got a few views and comments, a couple complained about me parking near double lines, but I had just turned the corner and anyone who has ever pulled a train will know you have to find a spot where you can at times.

Road Safety week starts today, have you pledged to be safe, signed up or are you taking part in any way? As truckies we too often see the hazards in cars, see their failings and mistakes, none of us wants to be involved, but when you watch some of the dashcam footage, you really wonder do people simply not look, not think or not know any better? Make the effort to watch out for others and yourself and I hope you all get home safe every day.

Monday off and had I not got home yesterday evening, would still have been less than 3 days home on five weeks. Started Tuesday, got a couple of jobs done on the trailers Monday then and hope to do the same tomorrow, as now have Monday off again. Week looked like being short, but ended up, Dubbo to Brissie, back to Wee Waa, then load Moree back into Brissie, unload reload some bulk DG for Sydney Friday and looked like I was stuck there for the week-end, but they found me a load home, so with a bit of time before I had the load home, got the truck and trailers washed in Brissie.

I checked the forecast, thought yes, maybe, but took three hours to get washed with the que, then traffic on Beaudesert Road, much more and worse into the Gold Coast, then had one shower south of Tweed Heads, but still nearly clean, into Sydney, had some dramas loading a wide piece of gear without the slippers and lost another hour, took off thinking it would be Ok once I got out of the tunnel, but rain there and later and it is nearly as dirty now as it was.

I was not impressed as I had done my good deed, there was a horsefloat with a trailer and all loose stuff laying on the trailer and once past I tried to call them , but no reply, so in the end I slowed down till they caught up as the bits of steel frame could well have gone through someone’s windscreen on the bumps on the freeway from Newcastle in to Sydney. It can be frustrating putting in the time and of course the cost to wash a b-double and then it rains and worse, I had clear sunny skies and without the initial delay waiting to get it washed, could have missed the rain, but who knows.

My podcast on ERMHA, LISTEN HERE (or wherever you get your podcasts)…/12689369-life-on-the-road… was released last week, I did my spot on “Nighshift” in Dubbo for a change, but still from the truck for an early start, then made it back into Brissie for a live spot on the Paul Murray show late Thursday evening re the budget, then had a call from “The Age” re the Inland rail, so managed radio, tv and newspaper and a podcast for the week.

Now working on a list of bridge and road problems for Transport for NSW, am still waiting for their reply to my 5 pages plus an extra bit re truck rest areas and of course, a trip home on the Golden Highway made the Newell look good, but it is not of course! Hope to chase a few odd ends tomorrow and then load Tuesday with a plan to be in Brissie for the truckshow Friday or at least Saturday. Till then, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey,


8th May 2023. Roadtrains to Caravans.

Goodaye all, so even after four calls on the way up, still got messed around unloading in central Queensland and having started loading three trailers in Darwin Friday, that meant not enough hours to get back to Brissie, so needed a 24 hour break in Maryborough. Got in, had tea and made more plans. Up in the morning and had by then arranged for a one hour zoom session with a group looking into doing mental and physical truckie health training for supervisors and the like, went over time a bit but they said it was worthwhile.

Then after chasing TMR re them doing a Warrego Highway rest area strategy, set up another zoom meeting with them, so it was time well spent at least in that regard. Wide ranging, critical but genuine concerns raised including seeking support for the green reflectors and listing lack of shoulders where roads are “improved” and again, still a long way before it will see actual change or improvement on the road, but if they do this one right, others may follow. Glad to have had the chance to have a say, but did say we are coming from a low base and have a lot of work to catch up to where we need to be.

But without getting to Brisbane that night, would not then be in time to load Friday, had to ring and get work to pick up my southbound load, not happy as I had thought I would make it, but the 144 and 84 hour rules meant, no.

So leaving Maryborough after 6PM, into Brissie, one of the local fellows loaded me while a had a shower and tea, as then had to get to Coonamble and unload and try to be in Narromine within my 17 hour window. This last two weeks, have had to squeeze and push a bit, to make all happy and yes, I had been asked to do the talk at Narromine months before and it would normally have been easier to accommodate, but nothing is easy at times.

Had given a time window for unloading in Coonamble the day before, but sent a message, then rang another, no answer, more texts and calls “coming into town early and need to unload asap if possible”, all opened and undone before they even arrived, sorry, no phone service at home there, but unload then out and running and made it to Narromine only 3 minutes late. By then needed a kip, so check out where and when for my talk, grab a cuppa and a kip.

I was then invited to attend the dinner they were having, a garden theme and some went to great lengths with garden gnomes, bees, butterflys and moths, a bug exterminator and a bloke dressed as a bush who won with the butterfly for the best costumes. Even shouted a beer with tea by one of the vanners, then rang into On The Road Radio to talk about sharing the road with trucks and vans and my visit. Ended up chatting for a good while, got a lift back to the truck at the showgrounds and to bed.

Up this morning for my one hour session which went over a bit, then more questions and comments while many came out and looked into and over the truck. I had many say thanks and or shake my hand, most saying they have learned and now understood trucks more and even a couple who said they will have more respect for truckies. We aren’t all perfect, neither are all vanners and like truckies, I can’t get to them all. Those who came wanting to learn, are far more likely to get something from it and use it on the road.

There was close to 100 vans on site and I had maybe 70 attend and we discussed rest areas, UHF use, overtaking and much more. Some did say they recognise we are working and they are holidaying and try to give truckies a fair go. One said it was good to see the industry making the effort to speak with them and I said yes, I am. I had a few copies of Owner Driver to give away, many were going to follow up for the RV Survey and Truckies Top Tips etc on my website as I didn’t have any copies with me to give out. There are and will be, more and more vans on the road and we can try and help them understand us, we can offer advice or explain an issue on the radio, but the few who will call them up and abuse them will only ever make it harder for all. If you get abused, are you likely to listen, NO.

So will you do your bit and talk to a vanner, on the road or on the radio and will you do it in a way that makes it better or worse? Few others offers advice about sharing the road with trucks and caravans and whilst I have been involved since starting Channel 18 as the caravan channel many years ago, I simply can’t get to every caravan club meeting or rally, but will it I can fit it in with work. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod.


3rd May 2023 A triple to Darwin

Goodaye all, last post may have left you guessing, we were told we could not discuss trip till after arrival in Katherine and all was in place. We loaded out of Sydney Friday, back to Dubbo for a 24 hour break, early Sunday morning jump in roadtrain and off to Bourke to hook up third trailer with another triple in front of me, so 6 trailers in total to Katherine for the NSW Rural Fire Service. There was some politics involved, which I can’t and won’t comment on, other than to say we did our bit and got there on time, for them to tranship and then set up a tent city for those who had been moved out after their town was flooded and were moving back, still without much repair done.

Unload my three trailers Wednesday morning, off to Darwin for another 24 hour, actually over 38 but who is counting, so I could make it back home in one trip. Load the three trailers singly Friday morning and off. Into Bourke late Sunday night and then into Dubbo Monday, pick up my A trailer and off to Newcastle, unload and reload and now in Moranbah. Have been pushing and squeezing hours, as have committed to do a talk on sharing the road with trucks at Narromine on Sunday and trying to get there and be legal and keep all happy, work and customers alike. It might still work, but getting close for another 24!

During the trip to Darwin, had the good vanner (and this couple of stories will work well on Sunday) who when I called up did answer, though had no sign on the van and was happy to back off and help me past. Then there was the other vanner, no radio, at least did not answer on 18 0r 40, who sat on his 84 while I overtook him for over a kilometre with a triple roadtrain. Yes I could see for 3 or more k, yes I had waited till I had such sight distance and yes, I was trying to meet that deadline for Katherine. Good vanner even commented “I was waiting for him to at least back off a bit” and I said, “Yes, me too”. The other vanner I met on the way home from Bourke now with only two trailers on, had his car on the whiteline, but his van well over the centreline, so he got a good flash and point to move over!!

Outside of a flat at Threeways going up, (thanks Jason for the hand with this one) and another at Cloncurry on the way home, the only other real issue, was the idiot who tried to overtake a triple with little to no sight distance and had I not been empty and swerved to the left and braked to let him in, he may well have hit the oncoming car headon beside the lead trailer.

Good some good photos etc and enjoyed the trip, but now have yet another list of things to follow up. Yes a few more green reflectors in the Territory and I did ring and speak with Dept of Transport whilst there, road failures long overdue for fixing and not just the 200 potholes, but the craters and complete road failures still there months after the floods will be part of next call.

Then the roadworks to improve??????? The road north of Augathella, nice but narrow surface with NO Shoulder, but 45 degree slope that go a long way down and this on a road for triples!! I thought they were to make the roads better and safer, not pretty but unsafe, so yet another thing to follow up. Getting time for bed, so will add a photo and hope to talk to many interested vanners Sunday if all goes well. Safe Travelling, Rod.