14th July 2018. Churchill Fellowship Trip.

From http://www.churchilltrust.com.au

Travel to investigate.
Return to Innovate!
A Churchill Fellowship provides an opportunity for talented Australian Citizens to travel overseas to investigate inspiring practices that will benefit Australian communities.
The high regard globally for a Churchill Fellowship (the Churchill Trust was established in 1965 to honour the memory of Sir Winston Churchill the great world leader) provides a pathway for Fellows to access industry and community leaders from across the world, enabling the exchange of knowledge, technology and experience for the benefit of Australian Society.
It is important to realise that Churchill Fellows themselves are ordinary Australians with extraordinary abilities and aspirations. This could be you!

This is my itinerary thus far. I am still working on a few things and hope to add in more, as time and people either reply or seek meetings.

Leave Australia July 20th fly Dubbo/Sydney then to Heathrow UK.
Arrive 21st July , pick up SUV from airport and travel to Convoy in the Park Donnington 21/22 July staying on site in SUV. ( I have email confirmation that I will be given free entry, parking for the car and a stand at the show.)
Visit Eddie Stobart Transport, Warrington 24th July
Visit Road Haulage Association The Old Forge, South Road, Weybridge, KT13 9DZ
25th July
Spare day 26th July
Return SUV to Heathrow and Fly out from London 27th July direct to Seattle.
Visit Kenworth plant Seattle and Kenworth Technical Center.
Visit 3m Ramsey Minnesota (East Coast)
Visit Iowa 80 truckstop 395 W Iowa 80 Rd, Walcott IA 52773 Iowa just off route 80
4581 Highway 43, Joplin MO 64804 Phone: +1 (417) 627-0004

Visit WAUPUN TRUCK-N-SHOW August 10th – 11th, 2018 Waupun, WI
Visit EAU CLAIRE BIG RIG SHOW August 13th – 15th, 2018 Chippeawa Falls, WI
Visit TRUCKERS HELPING HANDS CHROME & LIGHT SHOW August 17th – 18th, 2018 Henderson, KY
Visit Chrome Shop Mafia Joplin 4581 Highway 43, Joplin MO 64804 Phone: +1 (417) 627-0004
Visit Cummins Indiana, 251 N Illinois St, Indianapolis, IN 46204 south of Indianapolis just off route 65
Visit Canadian Trucking Alliance Toronto
Visit FMCSA Washington DC (far East Coast)
Visit American Trucking Association Arlington Washington.
Visit Pilot/ Flying J truckstops along route
Visit Loves Truckstops along route
Visit Overdrive Magazine Tuscaloosa Alabama route 59

Great American Trucking Show Dallas Texas 23/25th August.
Fly out 26th September. Home 28th.

At this stage, I will be on the road till Thursday noon maybe, clean out truck and home that night, before flying out Friday. I plan to do a blog each day if possible, finding wi-fi to keep data costs down may have some bearing on this, but would welcome your comments, though may likely reply when home.

The TIV and trailers will be having some TLC applied by Rod Pilon Transport during my absence.

I will be asking begging and pleading for help towards the next TIV when I return and will be back on the road in September and working on getting it up and running. The TIV initiative will be ten years old with the trailers being ten in October and I will be doing some press to recognise this then.

Thank you all who read and comment and I hope I provide both some information and interest in this trucking life. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

8th July 2018 This Trucking Life

Goodaye all. I wrote the following in 2010 and did take my two youngest sons to see John Williamson in concert in Dubbo some years later. I spoke with John quickly after the show and gave him a card and suggested he might do another truckie song one day. I am still waiting for him to call.

This Trucking Life and this truckies wife.

Years ago, interstate trucking was over romanticised, you were your own boss and king of the road. It was never that good. You might have got to see a lot of Australia’s roads, but you did it alone and spent a lot of time away from family and this is still the same. You live in a mobile house, office, kitchen and bedroom all rolled into one and that bedroom is often one metre by two or less. At least you don’t have to travel far to go to work.

I’ve been doing interstate in b-doubles, 25 metres long and grossing about 62 tonne for the last 13 years, travelling around two and a half million kilometres in an area from Melbourne to Mackay with three trips to Perth, one to Townsville and one to Darwin, the last pulling triples, three trailers, 53 metres long and over 110 tonne gross weight.

I don’t think people are taught to properly respect the size and weight of these vehicles and certainly believe they are not taught to “share the road” with them. Not all truckies are perfect and often the tales of bad behaviour, or bad press following a crash where the truckie is often purported to be at fault do not help. With statistics showing more than 80% of fatalities between cars and trucks are
the car driver’s fault, some education of car drivers about sharing the road with these larger vehicles, that can now be said carry Australia on their back, could go a long way to making our roads safer for all, motorists and truckies alike.

Imagine being a truckies wife with your husband often away and possibly far away, not the same as him coming home each night, let alone to be able to come home on short notice in an emergency, real or imagined. This can be a lonely life for them as well, hoping their partner is safe on the road and with them looking after the family damn near all on their own. Even truckies who ring home regularly find it hard to have a normal marriage or relationship and too often when the truckie does get to visit home, he is dead tired and needs to recover to be ready to go and do it all again, to be able to pay the bills and feed the family he so rarely has time with.

Every second truckie I talk to has lost one or more families or partners, because of the pressures of the job and the lifestyle. You are entrusted with a truck and trailer combination worth three quarters of a million dollars or more and could have a load on worth as much or more again and then travel from one end of this
large country to the other with our less than perfect roads, insufficient and under developed rest areas with little or no shade, few toilets and motorists who
risk their lives and ours, because they cannot wait five minutes to overtake where it is safe and they can actually see enough roadspace. And yet we’re deemed by much of society and other car drivers, as out there with nothing better to do than try and have crashes with cars.

John Williamson’s song, “The Truckies Wife” has a couple of lines in it that ring all too true. He sings the truckie is often “like an uncle who comes home with ice creams and toys” rather than a father, and he asks “is there anything more for a truckies wife?”

My wife has put up with my lifestyle doing interstate for thirteen years, sometimes with me going to work saying I should be home tomorrow and then later getting a phone call to say I won’t be home for a week or more, I’m going to Perth, or each consecutive call saying I’m going to Sydney or Melbourne, or somewhere other than home. My children often ask will you be home next Thursday for a school event or birthday and all I can say is “You know better than to ask where I will be tomorrow, let alone in three or four days” and it kicks you every time you miss
one of those events. Rarely, you are there when other Dads are at work and you can be a lone Dad at a school item, but it isn’t the same.

I’m not proud that my wife does not really want me in “her” bed, the irregular early morning starts and or finishes mean you often disrupt the families sleep, let alone that when I come home I am “trying to change all her schedules and how she looks after the kids” if I try to help or get involved and if I don’t help, I am not doing my part with the children. Saying I’ll be home for school or something else and then being redirected, you break down, or are delayed for a myriad other reasons and then come home two days later, sees me being told don’t ring to say you are coming until you are here and then I’ll believe you.

No job is perfect, though my wife thinks I have a good time chatting on the UHF radio and going to different places. The reality is of course that I have to comply with laws made by people who mostly sleep in their own bed and who fly or have someone drive them about and mostly on the good roads. Airline pilots deserve all the credit and pay they get, but the conditions and perks are much better. A co-pilot, stewies to make you coffee, perfect runways and those you share the sky with trained and watched. We share the road with many who drive, and less
who are drivers. My wife and family are special and so are yours, please drive safely, respect the size and weight of large trucks and give us a wave occasionally, truckies are human too. Rod Hannifey, an Aussie Truckie. http://www.truckright.com.au

Much has changed for the better, some things have changed for the worse. I wish I could do more to make the roads safer and this a better job, but you can only do so much as an individual. I would welcome your comments. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey

30th June 2018

Goodaye all. TRUCK That Australia June edition put up last week. Please comment and share to see it grow and reach those who we need to make the effort. There are three things we would like to see addressed as a start for the TRUCK That Australia Drivers Club. The issue of fines under Safe-T-Cam, which will now be the National Camera Network run by NHVR, where you are charged with trying to avoid the camera by going over the fogline, yet can be clearly seen in the photo and re the distance between trucks, I have asked for a line to be on the road to help us achieve the gap required and not get caught by two metres, because the car driver in front propped in front of the truck at the last minute.

Second is the request to allow split rest, only twice a week and not on consecutive nights and to a total of 8 hours instead of 7. I have already asked this of NHVR and believe it will help many drivers, both to comply and to better manage their rest. It must not be scheduled or pushed by others, but available to use rather than only as a defense.

Lastly, a National Rest Area Strategy. In the last few weeks I have dealt with the loss of a green reflector site and a truck parking area. Each time one is closed and I complain, I am told “It is only one spot”, but if we lose ten a month, then we are going very quickly backward and we do not have enough sites now. Many times I have seen a road improved, only to remove the wide shoulders on crests that we have traditionally used to check/change tyres, inspect for animal damage, check straps etc or God forbid, for a leak.

Yes we welcome improved roads, but why do they then have to dig the shoulder down past the road level so we can’t stop safely. The crest is the highest point, so water will flow away, you don’t need to dig it down, it costs more and takes away those sites we can use when the next bay is maybe 100 k or more away and we do not know every road in Australia. Yes we know many well, but if tired, you can quickly forget where that next spot is and do you want us driving tired, or able to stop, walk round the truck and kick the tyres and then get safely to the next formal bay. We may need to have 15 minutes over the wheel to get to the next site and again, surely that is better than struggling on.

We need a national rest area strategy, finding gaps and showing deemed fatigue crashes and if there is a big gap, a cheap green reflector bay can be put in and the worst thing that will happen, it won’t get much use. But if it is in a needed spot and gets a lot of use, then perhaps it can become a formal rest area in the future when funds are available. Should we save just one life with a green reflector bay at a cost of $2 million or what ever figure is used for a life, then we will be able to do the whole of Australia and how many lives could we save then?

We need to recognise and include motorists and RVers as users of such sites as well and we need their support to get this up and more sites provided for all road users. We do need dedicated truck sites and or sufficient room to allow truckies the rest they need and are mandated to have (and punished severely if they don’t) unless we can educate other users on our needs and ask them to better utilise the space available.

I passed a site on the Olympic Way the other night which has a signed and separate Caravan area. The caravan in there could not be bothered to use this and parked right in the middle of two b-double spaces, so we could not get in in front or behind and leave room for anyone else. Am I to bang on his door and wake him and tell him to move?

I do not have the right or authority to do so, but you must understand the frustration when in such a situation where you are tired and planning for bed, only to find someone using that space possibly as free camping and not even thinking of anyone else.

We too as truckies mostly try and use the space available, as we know what it means to have to drive on tired. We also recognise the value of good clean toilets and I doubt truckies would vandalise something so rare and needed on the road, yet someone does and the authorities then complain that being a truckstop, it must have been a truckie.

How do we solve any of these problems? Not by complaining to your mate, but by joining a group, join the union, your state trucking association, NRFA or NATROAD or the TRUCK That Australia Drivers Club. Doing it on your own is hard work, time consuming and frequently unrecognised or worse, you get abused by some who will do nothing but whinge themselves. But do something to help your self, as too often, no one else will. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

24th June 2018 Churchill Trip Pending.

Goodaye all. I am madly trying to pull together my itinerary for my upcoming Churchill Fellowship trip. I deferred last year as I wanted to start off at an event in the UK and the timing was just too tight to arrange. Even now 12 months on, it has still taken me far too long to get a reply from some, but I am ever hopeful it will all come together soon.

I plan to visit the CONVOY in the Park at Donington in the UK and have now made contact and been offered a small stand, then visit a big company there, the Road Haulage Assoc, then go on to Canada and the US.

I have been following the road transport industry in the USA for many years, as they are the closest to us in many ways that I have seen. The aim of going to the UK, is to see a different side with the far more congested roads etc.

Any of you that read this who have a suggestion or contact in the UK, Canada or the USA who might be of value regarding trucks and road safety, I would certainly welcome an introduction. I will also look at the issue of parking and whether they have an issue with caravaners etc, as it has been getting a lot of press here of late.

I had hoped to get someone who would lend or hire me a prime mover for the USA, but have not had any success yet and so will likely rent a campervan, rather than a car and get a hotel every night. I will probably have more room and facilities than I have in the truck here anyway. I aim to do a blog each day of the trip and this will be my log as well, will do some filming for Truck That Australia and even a story for Owner Driver.

Work has been flat out and I owe my mate Anthony in Melbourne a big Thank you for doing a late timeslot Friday and allowing me to not only get a brake problem mostly sorted, but to get away Friday afternoon (instead of Saturday morning) and do my delivery at Trundle on Saturday, so I can get a service and airbag fixed tomorrow before loading and heading off. Thanks also to John and the mechanic at BPW in Melbourne for waiting for me. I had to load before they went home and still get there, but traffic and even getting a sweat up with two forks loading me in the cool Melbourne afternoon, did not get me there on time.

Phone calls to VICROADS and RMS during the week will see some things hopefully move along, but I was unable to attend the Parkes Heavy Vehicle forum. It is not always possible to get to where you would like to be, when you are an employed driver and the truck needs to earn an income.

I had hoped to win the Lotto, but no call yet, so I am still looking for someone who loves trucks more than money and who will fund or substantially support the next TIV so I can do that much more. Never give up is the plan and if I don’t ask, I will not likely get such offers in the mail, except from scammers. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

 

18th June 2018 Short and sweet at it has been an even bigger k week.

Goodaye all, much to do and too little time to do it. A near 6,000 kilometre week ranging from Dubbo to Brisbane to Maryborough in Western Victoria, then to Melbourne back through Dubbo to Jandowae, then Brisbane and Wee Waa on the way home.

Nearly at my delivery point in Maryborough and the road was closed. In a b-double simply going ahead can lead to much pain and financial loss, so whilst contemplating where to go, I saw a car stop and there was a UHF aerial visible. I had been on the phone to eldest daughter and turned the radio back on to be asked, “Are you right there in the Pilons’?” Not really, was my reply. “Where do you want to go?” Johnson Street, “All good just follow me, I live in here as well and the roadworks can be a bugger”.

The gentleman got me round the block and in and I then asked the best way out to Melbourne and he pulled up, we shook hands and he gave me further directions and said he was with the Highway Patrol. Help that was recognised and much appreciated, but I was still thinking on the directions and cannot remember the fellows name, but he went out of his way and “Thanks mate”

Coming back from Jandowae, Dalby has most of the main street currently torn up for improvements. This was one of two wide loads that were due through early, but told to wait by traffic control according to one of the Police escort vehicles. It was bedlam and there was some comment on the UHF, but getting angry and abusing others from a point of anonymity is not all that brave nor of much value. We all have to try and work together more and I hope you will agree.

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I did spend time on the phone with RMS during the week and hope that will bear fruit and did get to send a list of culverts and issues for the Newell from Moree north and there are a couple of doozies there.

Next biggest issue is my Churchill Fellowship trip and much to do to get that sorted. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

11th June 2018 A big week.

Goodaye all. A quick recount of this week.
Saturday evening off to Emerald with a sleep in the Pilliga. Stopped at Miles to complete new headlight set up, Ding another RPT driver, stopped in to check on me as I had the bullbar down, all good and Thanks Mate, then tea and off. Many green reflector bays marked Miles to Roma, with some further north as well, well done. Arrive Emerald 11.30 PM Sunday, 15 plus hous driving time from Dubbo.
Monday morning, in for on site mine delivery and do induction, blow in the tube, clear, pick a blue marble so no drug test required, escorted down into the pit. Some photos while unloading, then in front of the dragline and a cup of tea on the way out.

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Down the road to load some cotton, back into Emerald to load some more, then off to Brisbane. Nearly made it all the way, sleep at Logan Motorway Heathwood, then down to the port to unload Tuesday morning. Back to Lytton to load IBCs (international bulk containers holding up to 1000 litres of product) for Goondiwindi. Visit Cummins to reset DPF problem to get me home, then to Fisher Park Roadhouse just over the top of the Gap for a lovely meal of rissoles, tomato and onion gravy, salad and chips, bread and butter and coffee, beautiful. To bed at Gundi early.
Up for a quick unload at 7.30AM, an even quicker cuppa and on the road to Dubbo. Had my load picked up for me, but still too late to have new DPF fitted, so off from Dubbo at 5.15PM for Melbourne and hope it will last another trip. Listening to State of Origin, ring ahead for a quick tea at the Tiger Moth Cafe Temora, then hear the end of the game and on to Benton’s Hill rest area south of Wodonga and to bed. Since parking bay “improved” camber is now the other way and head lower than feet. Tried that way, as head to drivers side is the norm, but woke early Wednesday and had to change ends. Another issue with parking bays and surely you will agree, you need to be comfortable and familiar to get good sleep. So far, already done a weeks work for many on a 38 hour week.
Up at 9AM and into Melbourne for paperwork and fuel, not far to unload, but have to split the trailers to get in and then fight for my spot in the que. A good blow on the air horns sees the pusher in change his mind. Round the corner to wait, then load more IBCs for Wellcamp for Monday, then patiently crawl out of Melbourne with thousands of others. By the time the current roadworks is completed and with two new towns being built on the northern outskirts now, the traffic will be clogged even further back, what terrific planning!

Met Stephen from Whiteline TV at BP Lavington for a coffee and photo, unusual to have us both in our trucks to meet on the road with our different schedules. Then chatted with him to West Wyalong and to bed just before 1AM. Up and 8, scoff some breakfast and off to Dubbo to drop trailers, fix a gate and wait for a lift home. DPF will be replaced and a seat issue addressed, is the plan.

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Lift home and into the shower, fuel and check the car (Thanks Adam for the loan of the car) to drive to Canberra for tea with eldest daughter (who we hope will take part in “TRUCK That” in the future with stories etc) and Stephen from Whiteline. We had planned to do filming for the June “TRUCK That Australia” episode in Stephen’s studio, using green screen to show even more of his talents and skills. Talk till late sorting plans etc, up Saturday and filmed and played and discussed till 6PM, then into car and back to Dubbo. Thanks to Stephen and Sarah and the boys for your hospitality and efforts.

Home 11PM, up the next morning and off to work to have a new seat problem, more frustration than sense from me, but sorted after some verbal discussion with self and off with youngest son in tow moving north. Lunch together at Bellata and pulled up at Wellcamp to try and have some of this written and catch up on paperwork till 11PM.

Made and received many calls, loaded and unloaded as needed and others will have worked longer and or harder or both, but I still have a lot of catching up to do. The biggest is to sort my upcoming Churchill Fellowship trip. Till next week and sorry for being late. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

2nd June 2018 Join the club!

Goodaye all. There are so many issues to address, it can sometimes be daunting, but if you or I don’t do anything, will it change or improve? The aims of the TRUCK That Australia Drivers Club is to get a sufficient number of drivers involved so that we can say we in some small way, represent those who live and work on the roads of Australia. If we can get at least ten or twenty blokes that run most of the major highways, I do believe we can get more done, than I can alone.

I see a driver made a comment in Owner Driver about coming back to driving fulltime and the changes and even further erosion of rest areas and roadhouses he has encountered. Others I have spoken to during the week ask, “Why would you do this job now?” And it is a very good question. Where boys from drivers families used to spend time with Dad in the truck and learn to love the job, most truckies tell their kids to get a “better” job, knowing the impact it has on a families life.

There is a push to get more women drivers, but we can’t get a toilet for men, let alone one for women in many places and what do they do at a site where they say, sorry you can’t use our toilets? Some roles and places do have such facilities and I mentioned when talking to Luke Bona on “Nightshift” the Vicroads rest areas on the Hume were the best I had seen for size and facilities. Another driver followed up though, saying they do not extend to other Victorian highways.

Luke’s co-host, Jess is getting ready to take her license test and said since being part of the show and listening and talking to many truckies, she has a better understanding of some of our issues, but had not been taught anything in her training for her license, about sharing the road with trucks. She is going to monitor it and let us know if that changes.

I am working on my Churchill Fellowship trip to leave at the end of July and any with road safety contacts in the UK, Canada or the USA, who might be interested in trucking in Australia and who might be interested in helping me to get the most from the trip and offer a contact, would be welcome. Off to work early this week to get part way to Emerald for Monday morning, so short and sweet for now. Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

 

27th May 2018 This life we lead.

Goodaye all, I am off to work now having had a different week last week from my usual. Out to the farm to unload, friendly people and nice trucks. Back into Moree and then loaded cotton with no facilities, not even allowed to make a cup of tea and in que for four hours before loading, then to Sydney and treated pretty much the same there.

Made it to Newcastle for the next morning, now a day late, but had to get the roadworks crew to shift witches hats, as I refused to try and drive under a 3m tree and branches when they wanted traffic off the side of the road for resurfacing work. Didn’t sleep all that well, up early to be told, yes you can turn around down the street, not on your life, back to wait to load to be told yours won’t be ready for maybe two hours or more, so back to bed.

This is the life of many drivers. Hurry up and wait. There are now some companies in the USA about to start paying by the hour and some do here. What do you think? How many people go to work expecting to do up to 70 hours a week, but only be paid for 50? Would you? Yes there are issues, but do we want to have drivers in trucks in the future or robots? So many drivers cop a fine for something completely unrelated to actual road safety and then say, bugger this, I can earn more driving a forklift with less stress and no fines and be much safer.

It is good to see rest areas getting a run in the press, but as with all things, it can be good or bad. Those promoting the “fight” between truckies and RVers want to sell press time. Those of us on the road want a fair go for all, somewhere to be able to get good sleep and rest and to be safe on the road and education will get us much further and faster than fighting.

I would welcome your views on how to solve the problem. Please check my website for the RVers Survey, the Truckies on Road Code etc. Channel 18 for RVers is to me, one of the best tools for those with a UHF, and or at least being confident and happy to use it. To those truckies who abuse RVers on the UHF, all that will do is show them what gooses we are. Yes I understand frustration on both sides, but abuse will not get you anywhere.

We need more and suitable rest areas and I have been asking for this for years. As an interim measure, I started the green (previously blue, but Vicroads and WA would not recognise them saying the fireies would get confused) reflector marking of informal truck bays now on 19 years ago. If it has taken me that long to get one major highway done plus parts of four or five others, no wonder it has been such a fight to get good rest areas. I welcome the support of the ATA, NATROAD, CMCA and Caravan Club of Australia and many others, but we have waited too long.

The idea of a summit where we can all work towards the same goals seems worth a try and TRUCK That did seek funding to do the Truckies Top Ten Tips for motorists and the Top Ten Tips for RVers and are still awaiting the answer as we simply can’t do it alone.

Let us hope we can get the government to provide for us at the very least, suitable and safe places to sleep and rest. We will not get what they have, nor have we ever asked for 5 Star facilities, but we need someone to be fair dinkum and get something started now. What do you suggest? Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

 

20th May 2018 Phone calls and messages.

Goodaye all. This weeks calls have been a mixed bunch, but all with a theme of drivers in crisis in one way or another. One driver wanted to chat for 15 minutes and two hours later, after discussing all the industries woes, he explained he is alone and living in the truck after thirty plus years of marriage.

The next was again, concerned about the industry and rates and spoke of being so angry with where his life and business was going, that he made a mistake, but thankfully no damage, only wounded pride. Then there was a call about a driver involved with a suicide and did I know of others, yes, but few want to talk about it and we will as always, get the blame first and the impact will not be recognised nor treated the same, as for others.

Then a message about the “fight” between truckies and caravaners in the west, but no recognition of the issue anywhere else in Australia or any real positives. I have replied offering another view and info and will see if I get a reply.

I spoke of the drivers club to the drivers, one wanting a new union, one wanting us all to stop, others in other discussions simply wanting things to improve, but how do we do it? Did we really get any real improvement from the original blockades? Yes genuine blokes trying to make a difference, but no real change to the life we lead on the road. Others have tried since and my view overall, is that until we all agree (and yes, more chance of me walking to the moon) and put forward a maximum of 6 issues with 6 solutions, we will never get any real change.

For over thirty years we have asked for better roads, more and better rest areas and education of drivers about sharing the road with trucks. Yes there are more things, rates and how they do affect not only our lifestyle, but the ability of owner drivers to compete and make a living and maintain their trucks, but how do you fix that? When I started in road safety over 20 years ago, I knew as an individual driver, I would not have any chance to influence this.

So what do we do and what do I do? We cannot get any real change and I have tried to do so for many years. Do we give up? No of course not. Will the drivers club be a better way or a good start, or simply not get any traction and just be another good idea that fails to achieve any real change? That my friends is up to you.

I will not give in and will keep trying and I would hope at least some of you recognise 20 plus years of effort and whilst some do have some idea of that cost and effort, there are still those who have a problem with what I do and want to, mostly behind my back of course, say I am doing it for me. To them my question has always been, what have you done to get anything improved and more that happy for you to step in and step up. How many of you will join the TRUCK That Australia Drivers Club and help, instead of whinging in truckstops? Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

13th May 2018. A Megaweek.

Goodaye all. By early AM tomorrow, “TRUCK That” May will be on the air at http://www.truckingnation.com.au for your viewing pleasure. It covers Ben Maguire’s trip with me in the TIV and his interview and my attendance at Megatrans and four interviews done there. I would welcome your comments and your sharing it with your friends if you see fit.

As always, without the help of Rod Pilon Transport, I would not be able to attend such events. Thanks also to the Megatrans show organisers for their support. I had initially hoped to take Ben to Brisbane, but with the Public Holiday up there, it meant there was only one way to go, south, if I was going to get three trips in and be at Megatrans, so thanks to all at Pilons for the help with the loads and their ongoing support.

Thanks also to Kenworth for their support and for the posters showing the current range, an excellent promotional piece and give away. The TIV was the only Kenworth on site and I was proud to fly the flag for them. The fellow guiding me out at the end was very impressed, saying this was a real truck and he wanted to drive one like it one day.

After arriving in Melbourne with Ben, I unloaded, reloaded and was back on the road to Dubbo Monday night, unloaded and reloaded in Dubbo Tuesday and back in Melbourne with just enough time to get the truck washed and be the last truck in to Megatrans ontime at 4PM Wednesday. Getting in and onsite proved fairly easy, getting out was a bit tighter and more fun.

Whilst the TIV was washed and clean, any of you involved with trucks will know and recognise, that just getting it washed does not make it ready for a show. To be honest, I could have spent another full day on it, but once on site started on the little bits and the detailing that can take hours and would have loved more time to do a better job, but am happy with how it presented.

A bit of touch up paint, tyre black, tidying all the little bits (sorry no time for polishing anything) and worked till 7PM that night and back onto it again the next morning before the show opened. A couple of people asked was this just a show truck and when I explained it was a fulltime working truck and the truck was 7 years old in July at 1.4 million k and the trailers nearing 10 years old and 2 million k, many commented on how well it looked for what it has done.

The first visitor to the truck when the show opened came up saying he knew I was attending and wanted to shake my hand for the green reflectors, saying he was tired and they had helped him, even though the first three were missing. Everything after that was just a bonus.

I spoke with many exhibitors, including some who are supporters of the TIV, like Tramanco, ANCRA, NHVR and TCA and did interviews for “TRUCK That” with Paul Retter AM, CEO of the NTC and Peter Anderson from the VTA and others. I had a fellow from Boston in the USA compliment me on the truck and its aims and efforts and held discussions with many visitors and exhibitors.

Megatrans was more a coming together of many in the supply chain rather than a truck show, with many exhibitors at one end focusing on cargo handling, forklifts and storage, then into freight movement and control with robotic display in a number of stands. Then there was the data and freight management section flowing into the road transport suppliers section, which included the newly launched in Australia, Diamond Reo brand.

A gentleman near me with a prototype of straps for load binders across the roof of trailers, said he had terrific inquiries and could have sold the truck he was using three times and it would be sold after the show to one of those for sure. Congratulations to the organisers for the aims and intents of Megatrans. There was a Ministerial Breakfast and other major meetings which I was not able to attend to comment on, so cannot say how they were attended, but I am sure we will hear from other press who did.

As I do not go to such events to sell, my aims are different from most and I was happy both with those who visited me and the TIV and those I managed to visit. With “TRUCK That” it also allowed us a terrific platform for the interviews and access to those we would not normally meet on the road. Thanks to those we interviewed for their time and the rest of the attendees we filmed.

I would now like to ask all readers to answer one question for me. What do you see as the biggest problem in road transport. I would like a wide view snapshot, please give me a list if you wish, but for this exercise, pick what you see as the biggest problem from your personal perspective, but make sure to tell me which perspective you are responding from.

If you are a driver, is it the fines, the scrutiny, the lack of rest areas or complete lack of respect for the job we do? Is it pay, the roads or the rules?

If you are a regulator or deal with road transport from a policy or policing aspect, what do you see as the biggest issue?

If you are a motorist, what do you see as the biggest problem, but then I will need to know if you have ever been in a truck. One of the reasons for the TIV to take passengers, is to allow those who may not have the chance, but who may well be in a position to influence our lives on the road to see and feel the issues, not just read about them. All who have done a trip have said, it was very worthwhile to help them better understand some of our issues.

If you have another perspective, please feel free to contribute. I aim to start a short list of target issues and then to tackle them with the best effort I can. Rest areas, split rest and ridiculous fines with no relevance to road safety, are currently at the top of the list, but I would welcome your feedback. Cheers and Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.